Former M'boro High student, 17, is now fighting pirates
TEENAGER Aaron Clancy spends his days at sea, fighting piracy.
The 17-year-old former Maryborough State High School student, who once collected shopping trolleys, is the youngest crew member of HMAS Newcastle, working the ship's operations room as an electronic warfare sailor.
Seaman Clancy is also training to qualify as a ship's diver.
"That qualification will mean that I can be part of the small team of people who dive to inspect the ship's hull and propulsion, and remove any debris which may diminish our capabilities at sea," he said.
The HMAS Newcastle is deployed, on counter piracy, counter narcotics and counter terrorism duties in the Middle East, as part of Operation Slipper.
It's Aaron's first posting since joining the navy in 2012.
"The stand-out thing about this deployment has been the areas we are operating in - and really making a difference in," he said.
"It's amazing how much our mission out here at sea has to do with the mission of Australian troops on the ground in Afghanistan."
The dedicated Maroons fan is looking forward to returning home in October but, for now, he's focused on the mission.
"When I get home, I want to spend time with family and friends and have a home-cooked meal," he said.
"I'm also looking forward to buying a house."