Able Seaman Joel Ryder, Warrant Officer Sean Ellerton, Petty Officer Jessica Buley – Royal Australian Navy

Two men and one woman, from the Royal Australian Navy, standing in front of a naval war ship.

Able Seaman Joel Ryder

Able Seaman Joel Ryder [pictured below] is an electronics technician and joined the Navy straight out of school.

‘I was just looking for a solid career where I got paid well and got a trade out of it and where I’d also get to travel,’ he says. ‘I’ve seen quite a few places in Australia and overseas.’

He is currently the Underwater Sensors Technician on board HMAS Hobart – a guided-missile destroyer.

‘I do all the planned maintenance and corrective maintenance for the underwater sensors onboard, so mainly sonar but there’s a few other systems,’ he says.

Able Seaman Ryder says his grandfather served in the Army in the Second World War. The highlight of his military career so far was being aboard the Hobart when she went to the United States last year.

‘We were doing some exercises with the US Navy and we were testing our combat system.’

He says he doesn’t normally wear his uniform in public but on Anzac Day some people thanked him for his service.

‘It makes me feel really proud and makes me feel like I’m appreciated for serving,’ he says.

He says he’d like to see more people say “thank you for your service.”

‘It would make you feel really good about yourself going to work every day if people were like that.’

A young, bearded man from the Royal Australian Navy, standing next to trees, with a waterfront behind him.

Warrant Officer Sean Ellerton

Sean Ellerton [pictured centre] is the Command Warrant Officer (the most senior non-commissioned officer) on HMAS Hobart.

His duties are varied.

‘I represent the views, concerns and opinions of all personnel to the Commanding Officer (CO), and provide the CO with advice, feedback and guidance to the state of welfare and morale. I am the senior equity adviser on-board and coordinate all honours and awards ensuring our people are recognised,’ he says.

He began his Navy career more than 30 years ago as a cook, enlisting because his father and two uncles were in the Royal Navy. ‘I saw what my father was doing and [listened to his] stories and liked every minute of it.’

Like many people in the Navy, the main low has been the long absences from his family. But there have been many highs. He’s enjoyed working at the Navy’s various training schools and most recently taking the Hobart to the United States for missile tests.

Warrant Officer Ellerton is proud of his service and appreciates people thanking him.

‘Last Anzac Day, I was walking back from the parade and quite a few people on the street came up and thanked me. And while we were in the US, we had US civilians coming up and thanking us. Not that we’re after the acknowledgement. But it does give you a little bit more of a buzz.’

Petty Officer Jessica Buley

Petty Officer Jessica Buley [pictured right] has served in the Navy for 13 years and is the Communication and Information Systems (CIS) Manager on board HMAS Hobart.

‘I manage the operation, maintenance and planning for all communications on board,’ she says.

She joined the Navy in her 20s and has a family history of service in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

‘My grandfather was [in the] Army. I’ve got a warrant officer uncle who’s [in the] Navy and my sister’s [in the] Navy as well,’ she says.

Petty Officer Buley has spent the majority of her career in Cairns on board hydrographic survey ships and patrol boats.

‘But my highlight would be commissioning Hobart. Coming back to Major Fleet Units and introducing Navy’s newest capability.

‘The hardest part for me is to manage my work-life balance and being able to spend time with my seven-year-old who lives in Brisbane.’

Petty Officer Buley says she is very proud to serve in the RAN and tries to be a role model for women.

‘A lot of females will get married and once they start having children, they’ll leave. And I think I’m just trying to show them that we can do both.’

On people saying “thank you for your service” she says she always thought that kind of attitude was bigger in the United States.

‘But I’ve noticed it a lot more recently in Australia. Obviously, you only get noticed when you’re in uniform but it’s quite a nice and proud moment to be thanked like that.’

She says it doesn’t only happen on Anzac Day.

‘Even just going to the post office. If you’re wearing a uniform, people will stop and say “thanks”.’

She says childcares and schools often recognise the role of the ADF too.

‘They’ll generally ask me to come in in uniform and talk to the kids. That’s pretty cool.’