Able Seaman Brenton Knight, Seaman Paige Willoby – Royal Australian Navy

One serviceman and one servicewoman, in Royal Australian Navy uniform, posing in front of a naval war ship.

Able Seaman Brenton Knight

Able Seaman Brenton Knight [pictured left] has been in the Navy for two years and is a combat systems operator on board HMAS Adelaide – an Amphibious Assault Ship.

He enlisted straight out of high school and says he was always interested in joining the Navy.

‘I played the Last Post for the Coffs Harbour RSL for four years prior to joining and that gave me a very good opportunity to speak to veterans to get to know them, get to know their stories and it really kept motivating me [to] follow in their footsteps.’

Able Seaman Knight says the highlight of his service so far has been travelling overseas for the first time to Fiji and Tonga on Operation Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2018.

‘That was amazing being able to go to the schools and play touch football with the young kids over there. It was really good fun. And rebuild women’s shelters and all those humanitarian aid events that we undertook. It was a really rewarding experience and made you realise why you joined up.’

He says it means a lot to be able to serve his country.

‘Just knowing that you’re making a difference out there and helping others in times of need. Especially on this platform, HMAS Adelaide, being a humanitarian aid and disaster relief vessel. It really gives you that same sense of pride that they would have felt 100 years ago in Gallipoli.’

Able Seaman Knight says he appreciates people saying “thank you for your service.”

‘It does give you those warm and fuzzies to know that people respect what we do. But then again we’re doing what we do because we want to do it and we want to serve the country and make the people back home safe.’
Seaman Paige Willoby [pictured right] joined the Navy two years ago because she wanted to experience ‘something different, and to travel the world.’

Seaman Paige Willoby

Seaman Paige Willoby [pictured right] joined the Navy two years ago because she wanted to experience ‘something different, and to travel the world.’

She is posted to HMAS Adelaide and is serving in Communication Information Systems.

‘So we do a lot of bridge stuff, so flags, flashing light. And then work in communications, like radios and then IT on the ship as well,’ she explains.

Seaman Willoby’s brother is in the Navy as well and he encouraged her to join.

According to Seaman Willoby, she was looking for something that was going to put her out of her comfort zone and the past two years have been ‘pretty good.’

Seaman Willoby is heading out to sea this year for her fourth trip.

‘We went up to Papua New Guinea last year to do [Operation] APEC ASSIST and then I went to Townsville at the start of the year as well,’ she says.

For Seaman Willoby, her career highlights so far are being out of category school where she trained, and being on a ship.

‘This is my first ship posting – I came straight from IT training to here,’ she says.

For Seaman Willoby being part of the Australian Defence Force is about ‘knowing that I’m serving my country.’

Public recognition is also important. She says people have come up to her and said ‘thank you for your service.’

‘We were at [Navy base HMAS] Cerberus at cat school and were doing Legacy Day Shake Tin. It felt good to know that people acknowledge what you do,’ she says.