The Shoalhaven is the breeding ground for many Royal Australian Navy personnel due to two navy bases being prominent fixtures.
One of the latest recruits is St George’s Basin local, now, Midshipman Justin Csucsy.
The former Nowra Anglican College student recently graduated from New Entry Officers’ Course held over 19 weeks at HMAS Creswell on the shores of Jervis Bay, and hopes to one day specialise as navigator.
It wasn’t only an affinity to the water that led him to pursue a naval career.
“My dad John was in the navy for 20 years and my mum’s brothers Mick and Gerard also served,” he said.
“They followed their dad Harold into service, so as I grew up I’d hear amazing stories about the adventures they had.
“Growing up on the coast you spend a lot of time fishing, boating and playing sport with mates, which has a lot of parallels with navy life.”
His first stop post initial training is HMAS Watson, in Sydney for the Junior Warfare Application Course during which he’ll get his first real taste of sea-time.
“I’d love to get aboard HMAS Melbourne before she is decommissioned as there’s a bit of family history there,” he said.
“Dad served on the aircraft carrier Melbourne and my uncle Gerard served on Adelaide class frigates.
“It would be great to learn the ‘old school’ vessels to get a real appreciation of how they operate before getting onto one of the newer ships, like the amphibious assault ships or new destroyers.”
So far, he said that the stories he was told about navy were living up to expectations.
“I’ve not been in the navy for long, but already it seems like a tight-knit community,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to getting out into the fleet and really discovering what it is like to go to sea, go on deployments and travel with people who are going to be with you through everything.
“My dad used to always tell me, ‘It’s not a job, it’s an adventure.’
“It’s a bit of a corny line and was probably what the recruiters told him, but I don’t doubt it’s true.”
Midshipman Csucsy was one of 115 new officers graduating from the course.
Each year the base trains thousands of personnel, including reserve and fulltime officers and provides professional development for officers and senior sailors.
During training, the graduates were taught the knowledge, skills and ethos to be an effective RAN officer, including leadership, seamanship, communications, naval history, physical fitness and weapons handling.