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Patrick Mandall - Dalby local takes on the ultimate sea change

Dalby Navy midshipman, Patrick Mandall, has swapped life in Queensland’s South East for a career in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as a Maritime Warfare Officer.

Currently undertaking the New Entry Officers Course (NEOC), 22-year-old Patrick has embarked the Navy’s amphibious ship HMAS Choules for his first sea deployment to Auckland, New Zealand.

A graduate of Dalby State High School, Patrick says Navy life has lived up to everything he expected.

"I wanted to find a job where I could make lifelong friends, travel the world and be physically and mentally challenged," Patrick said.

"The Navy has been all of those things for me, especially now we are headed overseas to New Zealand on our first ever sea deployment."

As a part of their training, all New Entry Officers undertake a sea training deployment to experience life at sea as a sailor.

"As an Officer it is important for me to understand what a sailor’s job is and what they go through on a day to day basis at sea," Patrick said.

"Most of our training takes place on land at HMAS Creswell, so it is good to be joining a ship and experiencing life onboard a major fleet vessel."

Although he admits he misses the warmth of Queensland, Patrick said the Royal Australian Navy College at Creswell is still a spectacular place to live.

"Having the stunning beaches of Jervis Bay right on our door step is one of the best things, especially for someone who has grown up over 250km from the ocean it is a real treat," he said.

"The course at Creswell teaches us a lot about Navy life and about becoming a leader in the Navy.

It has also taught us all the basics we need at sea such as weapons training, combat survivor ability, survival at sea and basic navigation," he said.

Choules visited Auckland, New Zealand as part of training program for over 100 embarked Junior Officers currently undertaking their NEOC.

Choules is a Royal Australian Navy Landing Ship Dock class capable of amphibious and humanitarian & disaster relief operations.

Patrick and the other members of NEOC 50 will graduate on 28 June 2014.