Friends become family at sea

Department of Defence

She might have grown up in the bush, but these days Leading Seaman Chloe Hearne is more at home on the water, whether that’s on ship or shore.

It’s been five years since she left the town of Gatton in Queensland’s agricultural heartland to join Navy, and she is content to spend the next five years near water as well.

Leading Seaman Hearne has just joined HMAS Yarra, one of four minehunter coastal (MHC) vessels, after stints on the guided missile destroyers HMA Ships Hobart and Sydney.

She said she was now looking forward to the challenge and extra responsibility that working on a smaller vessel brings.

“On the bigger ships you get used to having a lot more people working alongside you, but on the minehunter you’ve got to take on more responsibility,” she said.

“As a communications specialist we’re tactical, we’re radio, we’re computers, so in this new role I will definitely get opportunities to test myself.”

After leaving Lockyer District State High School, Leading Seaman Hearne was working as an assistant nurse while undertaking a Bachelor of Nursing degree when she decided she needed a new direction.

“I really didn’t like the university life so I decided to try something completely different and join the Navy,” she said.

Leading Seaman Hearne said she has never looked back since making the move.

“I’ve had experiences that my friends back home haven’t had the chance to do and, after my first five years in Navy, I feel there is still a lot more to come,” she said.

While Leading Seaman Hearne has had some amazing work experiences, such as working with Air Force during Exercise Talisman Sabre and visiting various ports in Australia and abroad, she said the most satisfying thing about Navy life was the friendships.

“I’m still a small-town girl at heart so I like a good chat and making friends with everyone, but in Navy your friends turn into your family – I love it,” she said.

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