Family follows in Navy-dad’s footsteps

Department of Defence

Lieutenant Commander Paul Newton is first over the gangway at Betio Port, Kiribati, to greet his Navy colleagues who have come to liaise with the local in-country shipping agent and relay information back to the captain on the bridge.

Lieutenant Commander Newton took up the role of Australian Defence Vessel Reliant Navy Liaison Officer in September last year, and said it had been a busy period getting up to speed with the ship’s routine.

“I’m really enjoying the challenges coming my way. There’s lots of good problems to be solved each day and I’m loving being back at sea among a diverse group of people,” he said.

Reliant’s crew includes five full-time ADF positions, 18 Teekay Shipping crew and a contracted OPSTAR paramedic.

“I’m engaging with a mix of people each day, young and older, relatively inexperienced to people with decades of knowledge about life at sea,” Lieutenant Commander Newton said.

On his second six-week swing with the ship, the deployment includes port visits and cargo deliveries to Kiribati, Pohnpei and Nauru before ending in Sydney.

“We offloaded two fire trucks and tonnes of other supplies for Kiribati and welcomed aboard the Kiribati Police Service’s newest recruits to their Police Maritime Police,” Lieutenant Commander Newton said.

“Reliant’s crew took them on a tour of the ship and delivered some first-aid and line-handling training.

“It was a great opportunity for the ADF and Teekay crew on board to get to know and learn from the local people.”

Lieutenant Commander Newton joined the RAN Reserve in 2011 after attending the Joint Staff Command Course at Weston with Australian Border Force and reconnecting with military life.

He started his career in the Royal Navy as an artificer apprentice in 1984, becoming a fitter and turner. He left the Royal Navy after eight years as a petty officer marine engineering artificer.

Lieutenant Commander Newton married Australian primary school teacher, Tonia, in 1998, and all three of their sons are in the ADF.

“We certainly didn’t plan it that way. It’s a little bit surprising but we are very proud and supportive of their chosen careers,” Lieutenant Commander Newton said.

Lieutenant Jaime Newton, 24, is at HMAS Albatross, Nowra, training to be an aviation warfare officer.

Sub-Lieutenant Nick Newton, 22, a maritime warfare officer at HMAS Watson, is studying for his bridge watchkeeping certificate.

Air Force Officer Cadet Liam Newton, 20, is at the Australian Defence Force Academy and is looking to specialise in cyber warfare.

Reliant is conducting a patrol through the Pacific, visiting Pacific island countries, delivering stores and equipment, and supporting maritime surveillance.

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