Brad is sea-ing new sights
HERVEY Bay couple Derek and Jane Rugg both work in the insurance industry, but when their son Brad, now 18, reached school-leaving age he decided to try an insurance industry of a different kind.
He has just spent his gap year with the rank of Seaman in the Royal Australian Navy.
“We’ve had a few family members in the army before, and Dad was a cop,” the Fraser Coast Anglican College graduate said.
“But I think I’m the first in Navy uniform.
“As soon as I heard about the Gap Year program I decided to sign up.
“I’ve no regrets - it’s been great.
“Recruit school at HMAS Cerberus was hard but good - now I think more people should do it.
“Then came sea-time aboard HMAS Manoora and I was involved in Operation Sea Lion off Cairns, down to Sydney, and then off to New Caledonia for an exercise with French forces. It’s been a year of amazing experiences.”
Brad’s latest stop has been HMAS Albatross at Nowra, just south of Wollongong. The giant base is the headquarters of the Navy’s own air force, the Fleet Air Arm.
“I’ve been on plenty of flights with Sea Hawks - they extend the reconnaissance range of our warships and are also used for submarine-hunting. I’ve also spent lots of time on the flight simulators.
“Now I want to be a pilot.
“Socially it’s been awesome. I’ve made friends for life. The teamwork helps us bond very quickly.
“Now the Gap Year is over, I’m planning to travel around Europe for 18 months, see a bit more of the world and grow up some more.
“But when I’m back I’ll definitely be signing up as a trainee Navy pilot.”