Brianna Amy Katie Naparula Briscoe
Anmatyerr and Warlpiri woman
Leading Seaman
Royal Australian Navy

Australian Defence Medal


I joined the Navy seven years ago, changing my path from what seemed like a desperate future. My story begins in the rural communities around Laramba, north-west of Alice Springs. As an Anmatyerr and Warlpiri woman, I was exposed to substance abuse and violence from a young age. At 19, I found myself battered and in an abusive relationship, and I started to question my life choices. Looking back now, I think, “holy crap, what were you thinking?” and I feel incredibly grateful for the people who pushed me to do better. One of those people was my mum.
Reluctantly, I attended a recruitment session after my mum nudged me towards joining the ADF. My reluctance turned into quiet aspiration when my aptitude test revealed that becoming an aircraft technician was a career option. I had always thought I was not smart enough and felt incapable, especially with everything I was going through at the time. My mum encouraged me to give it a try, and I was excited to see what I could achieve.
It was like a switch flipped in my head, giving me the proper motivation to stop drinking, leave my relationship, and make things better. I applied myself to recruit school and trade training, and after being posted to 808 and 725 squadron, I am now posted to HMAS Canberra within the Air Engineering Department as a flight support maintenance supervisor.
It was such a long and hard process joining the Navy and becoming an aircraft technician, being so far away from family, studying every day for exams and being put out of my comfort zone constantly, but being raised by such strong and resilient women encouraged me to strive for greatness. Although it was great finding myself a successful career and getting myself a good education in the western world. I lost some of my connection to country and my ability to speak my language fluently without getting embarrassed. Because of this, it’s so important for me to go back to my home country so I can connect back with my roots and rejuvenate my soul.
Being an Aboriginal woman in the Navy makes me so proud and I just want to encourage not only other Aboriginal people but ALL people to be a part of something great. I credit this journey to the two strong women in my life – my mum and my sister. They have inspired me to give back and foster confidence in other women so they can step out of their shells too.