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May 24, 2012
AFTER losing his right lower leg
three years ago in a motorcycle acci-
dent that threatened to end his Navy
career, LSMT Iain Swinton has
returned to sea on promotion with
LSMT Swinton joined HMAS
H uon on April 17 after more
than two years of operations and
"When the car first knocked me
future in the Navy and would ever
get back to sea," he said.
"But about 12 months ago after
I recompleted my basic training and
passed a range of vigorous physi-
cal fitness tests, I began to believe I
would get signed off."
The accident occurred the day
after Anzac Day in 2009, which also
marked LSMT Swinton's return to
work after an Operation Resolute
"It has been an arduous journey,
but I was determined to succeed
because I got such great support
from my mates and first-class hos-
pitalisation and rehabilitation from
Navy," he said.
His immediate goal is to prove
himself an asset to Huon's ship's
company, which he believes will
help pay back Navy for all the time
and money invested in his rehabilita-
tion and recovery.
"There are no passengers on a
MHC and everyone is expected to
pull their weight, which has me very
focused and motivated because I am
determined not to be a liability to
my mates," he said.
As Huon's qualified Maritime
Systems Controller, LSMT
Swinton's duties include running a
watch at sea, being responsible for
the shore-to-ship power and helping
to manage the ship's engineering
But being a one-legged sailor on
an MHC has its challenges.
"Trying to take a shower on one
leg in rough seas can be challenge,
but I always sleep with my prosthet-
ic limb on so I'm ready to respond
immediately to any emergency," he
said.Earlier this year, LSMT Swinton
participated in the ADF Paralympic
Sports Program, Exercise Wounded
Warrior in the US, which he said
helped him prepare for the challeng-
es of promotion and returning to sea.
"My rehabilitation and recov-
ery is as much about getting back
to a normal life as it is being able
to hang out with my mates again,"
LONG-AWAITED RETURN: LSMT Iain Swinton and AB Emily Smith share a joke on HMAS Huon.
Photo: Michael Brooke
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