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Fleet Network Pty Ltd D/L No. 20462
April 1, 2010
By Michael Brooke
SMNGX Rabel Yalson had good rea-
son to celebrate on March 21.
He celebrated his 19th birthday and
his 'coming of age' with Navy as a
crew member of Attack 5 in HMAS
Armidale conducting Op Resolute
"The Gap Year scheme has provid-
ed me with so many opportunities to
travel abroad, participate in an actu-
al ADF operation and experience so
many different Navy careers," he said.
SMNGX Yalson, who is fresh out
of Year 12 at Warilla High School
in Wollongong, NSW, said his time
deployed on Op Resolute had been an
amazing education about the impor-
tance of Australia's homeland security
"It is incredible what I'm doing
here with the Navy," he said.
"Just 12 months ago when I was
in Year 12 I would never have imag-
ined myself here on the front line of
Australia's homeland security opera-
SMNGX Yalson said he had been
involved in two boarding operations
since he joined Attack 5 on January 25.
While he wasn't in the boarding
team, SMNGX Yalson played a small
but important role helping the board-
ing party to prepare their sea boats and
"I must admit I got pretty excited
the first time I heard 'hands to board-
ing stations'," he said.
"I had never been in such a tense
situation before, so it was really excit-
ing helping the boarding party get
SMNGX Yalson said his recent
experiences had given him a deeper
understanding and appreciation of the
Navy's important role in Op Resolute.
"A lot of work Navy does to protect
our borders and natural resources goes
on far out at sea, which is unseen by
the media and the public," he said.
"They don't see the long hard days,
which often mean not too much sleep.
"It's a huge contribution you don't
appreciate until you are here seeing it
and doing it for yourself."
SMNGX Yalson said as a member
of Attack 5 he had worked in all the
departments in Armidale, including
work with the boatswains mates, com-
municators, in the galley, and with the
"It has been an awesome experi-
ence and I'm so happy that Defence
Force Recruiting recommended doing
it," he said.
SMNGX Yalson told Navy News
his family was especially proud of him
for exploring his options with the work
he has done so far.
"My family is very proud of what
I'm doing here and support me 100 per
cent," he said.
Gap Year's 'resolute' sailor
SMNGX Yalson said that, in addi-
tion to Op Resolute, his other mile-
stone was participating in Exercise
Paradise, which saw him join HMAS
We w a k for a training exercise in PNG.
"Ex Paradise saw us train with the
PNG Defence Force while we were
observed by Sea Training Group," he
"It was really good to work with
people from another culture to dis-
cover how different we are.
"That was my first overseas trip
with the Navy and I will always
remember it as an awesome experi-
In addition to the AUSPBGRP,
SMNGX Yalson has spent time at
HMAS Albatross exploring his career
options with the Fleet Air Arm, where
he came to grips with the helicop-
ter flight simulator (flying under the
SMNGX Yalson said he definitely
wanted to join the Navy but hadn't yet
made up his mind as to which branch.
He said he would strongly recom-
mend the Gap Year program to other
Year 12 students.
"It will be the best thing you ever
do, because you get to try everything
which will help you make an informed
decision about your future career path
in the ADF," he said.
FULL OF CHOICES: Gap Year
participant, SMNGX Rabel Yalson,
on board HMAS Armidale with
Attack 5 during an Op Resolute
Photo: Michael Brooke
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