Martin Gillet’s passion for the sea has taken the Jurien Bay local from the Western Australia coast to spending this Christmas at Christmas Island on border protection operations.
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.
Midshipman Gillet joined the Royal Australian Navy in 2012 as a Maritime Warfare Officer, a career path he hopes will provide various adventure and travel opportunities.
Martin got his first taste for Defence when he participated in the Navy gap year program in 2009.
“During my gap year I took part in the largest maritime exercise the Navy participates in, Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) off the coast of Hawaii,” Martin said.
After his gap year, Martin returned to Perth and worked with the merchant Navy, volunteering as a youth development leader onboard tall ship Leeuwin II.
“I really enjoyed my time volunteering onboard Leeuwin, knowing that the Navy would pay me to do something I enjoy it wasn’t a hard decision to sign up as a career,” Martin said.
He was also fortunate to be in Sydney for the International Fleet Review, where he witnessed the tall ship entry and worked at Garden Island during the international warship entry.
“The IFR was an amazing event, I was like a kid in a toy shop.
“The city was alive with the buzz of visiting warships and tall ships, I was surrounded by a true passion of mine.”
Martin found his passion for the sea at the age of 14 during a stint working on various charter boats in Jurien Bay, Western Australia.
He has come a long way from Jurien Bay to now serve as a junior officer within the Ardent THREE crew currently embarked in HMAS Launceston.
This year will be his first Christmas away from home while deployed at sea.
“Normally at Christmas my family would get together in Perth for a big Christmas lunch. This year it will be a little quieter for me without my four sisters around.”
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.