Able Seaman (AB) Nicholas Reedy may be away from home for the holidays, but while others wake up on Christmas morning to unwrap their presents, the former Toowoomba Harristown State High School student will be at sea manning the helm of a Navy Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB).
“At high speed you get a real adrenalin rush, and so much concentration is required,” Nicholas said. “That’s my kind of Christmas present.”
Approximately 500 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are deployed this Christmas to Operation Resolute, the ADF’s contribution to Australia’s whole of government border security effort.
“I’m actually doing something that isn’t just pretending for training, it’s the real thing out there. During rough sea states I push the envelope, it can be a real challenge,” Nicholas said.
AB Reedy’s family is very understanding of the distance from their son this holiday season, with his brother Leading Seaman Matthew Reedy and sister Leading Seaman Katie Kinwill both serving members in the Royal Australian Navy.
“Even in school I’ve always wanted to be on Patrol Boats,” Nicholas said, “while most of my mates were studying at university I was out on the water doing Boarding Party operations.”
Operation Resolute is the first deployment for the 22-year-old since joining the Navy in 2009.
“Normally people my age don’t get the keys to drive a sea boat with these advanced capabilities,” Nicholas said with a smile “I haven’t thrown anyone out yet, but most people learn to hold on when I’m driving.”
Although his joy for the opportunity to master a Navy RHIB is evident, it’s not all fun and games for the Queenslander who loves the chance to use his skills in an operational capacity.
The patrol boats and their crew of 21 provide surveillance and response to counter eight distinct maritime threats including; terrorism, people smuggling, illegal fishing, prohibited imports and exports, quarantine risks, pollution, piracy and other illegal activity.
Nicholas is a valued member of the Attack Five crew currently embarked on Armidale Class Patrol Boat HMAS Glenelg.
“The Navy is great because you get to see different places, experience new opportunities and all of it is with your mates.”
Nicholas is hoping to return to Queensland one day as an instructor on patrol boats in Cairns.