April 3, 2020
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My name’s Able Seaman ETSN
Michael Dunsmore. I’m posted to HMAS Collins. I’m part of the team that works
out where contacts are around us because when we’re
dived, we can’t exactly see where anything is around
us unless we’re at periscope depths. When we’re deep, though, we rely
on sonar to be listening for contacts around us. And with the information they
pass over to us, we then work where contacts are around us,
how far away they are, how fast they’re going, whether or
not they might run us over. If we’re ever needed too fire a
weapon out of the submarine, it’s the solutions that we work
out on our contacts that are programmed into
the torpedoes. My personal job is to maintain
all of the navigational aids. So, yeah, we have
things like GPS. We’ve got the periscopes here. For when we’re at periscope
depth, they need to be functioning correctly so that we
can see what is around us. As a junior ET, when you’re on
the surface, you’ll be sitting there as well, driving the
submarine on the surface. You’ll be sitting at the MCC. And you’ve got a joystick in
your left hand, and if you move the joystick left, the
submarine will turn left. Move it right, the submarine
will turn right. One of our roles, when the
submarine does surface, is to come up here and rig the bridge
because when we do dive, we clear most of the stuff
out of here because it’s not really made to
go under water. I wouldn’t really call myself
a computer nerd or anything like that, but before I joined
the Navy, I had sort of toyed around with computers a little
bit, built remote control cars, just little things
like that. And that sort of thing
appealed to me. The course itself for becoming
an ET goes for roughly about 40 weeks. It’s done at HMAS Cerebus. That course, you go through
all the basic electronics fundamentals, all sorts of other
things that are specific to the Navy. Even as a trainee, you’re paid
quite well, more than what you would be getting on a
ship anyways, by a considerable amount. There’s quite a few bonuses that
you can be entitled to, depending on your circumstances
as well. One of the things I like is just
being at sea where you can’t spend your money. And you come home, and, a
sudden, there’s a nice big bit of cash sitting in the bank. The lifestyle at sea is how
it was described to me. You make some lifelong mates. Even some of the officers,
you’ll become pretty good friends with. There’s a lot of great
characters on these boats. You run out of things to really
talk about, so it always ends up in talking about
random stories that you’ve done throughout
your life. And that’s just how
we pass the time. It’s good fun. You’ll find that even some
people who come and join submarines that are fairly
reserved when they get here, they’ll change a lot by the time
they become a qualified submariner. We’re all very, very
open people. We all like to have
a good life. It’s probably one of the hardest
things I’ve ever had to do in my life, but definitely
a big achievement that I’m proud of.

Tony wyaad