Chris Proud
Kaytej, Utopia, NT
Leading Seaman Boatswain’s Mate
Royal Australian Navy

Australian Active Service Medal – Iraq 2003, ICAT, East Timor
Iraq Medal
Australian Operational Service Medal – Border Protection
Defence Force Service Medal with 2 clasps
Australian Defence Service Medal
United Nations East Timor Medal
Returned from Active Service Badge
Operational Service Badge – Military

“I joined the Royal Australian Navy at the age of 15 straight from year 11 in Adelaide, I commenced training at HMAS LEEUWIN in Fremantle as a Junior recruit where we were uniformed school kids doing both Naval subjects and finishing school, after graduating from there I posted to HMAS CERBERUS in Victoria where I completed my elected category of Weapons Mechanic as a member of the Navy’s Gunnery branch.  I first went to sea on HMAS TORRENS (River Class Destroyer Escort) as a 16 year old becoming the youngest onboard at the time, this was a 2 year posting during which time I also completed a Ship’s Divers course. I posted to HMAS JERVIS BAY (Training Ship) for a further year until my sea/shore ratio roster was due.

As part of my due shore time, I posted to HMAS WATERHEN in Sydney, where I was seconded to TRV’S (Torpedo Recovery Vessels) where in my position as Ship’s Diver I became the recovery swimmer for all practice torpedo firings conducted 30-40 kms offshore…this was conducted with the Oberon Class submarines, after 8 months I transferred to DTV’s (Diver Training Vessels) where we carried trainee Clearance Divers to all places as part of their diving course. As my sea time was due again I posted to HMAS SWAN (River Class Destroyer Escort) in dry dock at Williamstown in Victoria, where my career stalled after a serious car accident which landed me in the Alfred and HMAS CERBERUS Naval Hospital for 7 months with approximately 4 years of reconstructive surgeries. After finally being passed for sea service again, part of my rehabilitation plan was to spend time on HMAS WARRNAMBOOL (Fremantle Class patrol boat) as a fitness sea readiness check.

In 1990 after passing all medical clearances I posted to HMAS HOBART (Adams Class Guided Missile Destroyer) for 3 years which included a 3 month deployment to Pearl Harbor then San Diego USA for RIMPAC 92 (Rim of the Pacific Naval exercise) I was then posted to HMAS SUCCESS (Durance Class Replenishment Oiler) for a further year, this posting also included RIMPAC 94. I posted ashore and was seconded to the Army Movement Cell (PMCC) at Victoria barracks in Paddington NSW for a year before posting back onboard HMAS HOBART for another 3 years.

My next shore posting was to HMAS CAIRNS (FNQ) as buffer on the newly re-commissioned HMAS WEWAK (Balikpapan Class Landing Craft Heavy) which was in preparation to join her 7 sisters during the East Timor crisis, we joined them under the United Nations effort after INTERFET.  A year later I posted back to HMAS CAIRNS. I was seconded to HMAS IPSWICH ( Fremantle Class patrol boat) for a time and then posted to HMAS KANIMBLA (Kanimbla Class landing platform amphibious) to be part of Border Patrol operations off Christmas Island. From here I posted to HMAS STUART (Anzac Class frigate) where we were deployed to the Persian Gulf for 6 months as part of the International Coalition Against Terrorism taskforce for the 2nd Gulf War in 2004. I spent a lot of my time as Boat coxswain delivering Boarding parties to the multiple ships in the Gulf waiting to proceed to the oil terminals and Iraqi ports. We worked alongside, US, British, Canadian, Kuwaiti, Saudi and Bahraini Navies, and during this time we were part of a major catastrophic incident that involved the US navy and our ship,  I once also had the job of delivering a SEAL team to a ship that had suspected (and proven correct) car bomb components onboard, we also had the task of keeping the US Marine detachments on the oil terminals supplied with whatever was required by them.

It was on the way back to Australia I decided after 26 years’ service that my time had come to an end and I was posted ashore to HMAS KUTTABUL in Sydney and my long career came to an end.”

– Chris Proud 2024