Cindy Bernical of Glenning Valley is getting a rare taste of life on a warship as one of 25 Australian Army soldiers currently living aboard HMAS Choules.
Having just completed her initial employment training as a cargo specialist four weeks earlier, 19-year-old Cindy was unsure what to expect when told she would be attached to the ship.
“I had just finished my Cargo Specialist course and was posted to 10th Force Support Battalion in Townsville when I was told I’d be joining the ship,” Cindy said.
“I’ve found there are pros and cons to living on the ship but the crew is amazing, that’s probably one of the best things I’ve found since coming on to Choules,.” she added.
Whilst on HMAS Choules, The former Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College student is required to perform a number of tasks to support the ship’s Army Department, particularly if amphibious operations are occurring.
“We do all the craning on the ship when equipment needs to be put on or taken off the Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel boats,” Cindy said.
“We also help guide vehicles on and off the vehicle deck and conduct non-technical vehicle inspections regularly.”
When asked what her favourite part of her job was Cindy felt that getting to travel and expecting the unexpected was up there on the list.
“Not knowing where you’re going to be next is exciting,” she said.
“The Army as a career is a challenge, it’s a different mindset and you’ve got to be flexible and embrace that.”
HMAS Choules is the Royal Australian Navy’s Landing Ship Dock and includes a Ship’s Army Department (SAD) to aid in providing the Defence Force with a number of capabilities to support amphibious operations and Humanitarian Assistance missions.