PAKENHAM teen Able Seaman Lydia Maratai’s passion for the navy spans generations.
The 15-year-old’s great-great-grandfather served in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in World Wars I and II.
Her great-grandfather served in Vietnam, and her grandfather was also in the navy.
“My uncle now works for the Chief of the Navy,” she said.
The student at Berwick’s Kambrya College is keen to continue the family tradition – despite getting sea sick.
She has joined the Training Ship (TS) Bataan Australian Navy Cadets (ANC) unit based at the Monash Barracks in Dandenong.
“I usually went down to the Anzac Day at Dandenong RSL and then I started seeing some of my friends do army cadets, but I didn’t really want to do that because my family’s very navy-based,” she said.
“So I decided to do navy cadets.”
Lydia’s dream navy role is in communications and information systems.
“It involves communicating with other ships using signals, keeping an eye on the radars,” she said.
The idea of war-time service “freaks me out”.
“But I think it’s an experience you need to try sometimes,” she said.
TS Bataan has about 20 cadets, and last year moved from Hampton Park Secondary College to the Army Reservists site on Princes Highway.
TS Bataan Commanding Officer and ANC Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Hine is looking for new recruits.
“At the end of the day, it’s youth development so that they are better prepared for their careers,” he said.
“We give them those skills to go out and be socially engaging and active. Personally, I would love them all to go into the RAN.
“In September we do a seven-day camp at recruit school where they get woken up at 4.30am with all of them doing physical training, so they get that experience.”
Cadets can enrol from the year they turn 13 and are discharged at age 20.
“Not everyone in this community wants to do sport, but they want to have an extra-curricular activity that’s engaging and exciting,” Sub-Lt Hine said.
“More than anything, they get a lot of friendship out of here.”
Visit www.navycadets.gov.au or call Sub-Lt Hine on 0401 809 315 for more information.
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