Dean was raised on a property in western NSW. Originally he was a brick layer and plumber’s labourer; Dean didn’t consider his job steady, due to the reliance on weather conditions and work availability. A newspaper advertisement inviting people to join the Navy was found by his mum, and looked to be great way to start a career. So off to Brisbane Dean went for recruitment and never looked back since.
Dean met Yvonne, his wife in 1989, and then had to leave her behind with their three children for 7-9 months at a time, which was very hard. He loved being part of the Sea Training Group for the Patrol Boats. His family loved the lifestyle in Cairns and Darwin, as the weather was great and they were away from the big cities.
Dean favoured his service on the Destroyers as it was hard work but rewarding. He was deployed with Coalition Training Force (CTF) 158. It was a very challenging posting and it definitely put him in harm’s way, which pushed some of his boundaries but not to their limit.
The Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel (SIEV) 36 incident will always haunt Dean. It was the incident that changed his life forever. Having a near death experience on a few occasions gave him a different appreciation of the value of life itself.
Dean was medically discharged this month, after 32 years of service with the Royal Australian Navy. He spent 22 of these years or just under 70 percent of his time in service out at sea, experiencing many countries and cultures. Dean’s promotion to Chief Petty Officer was a career mile stone, a pinnacle in his branch and a rank to be proud of.
Mateship was second to none for Dean, this was the hardest thing for him discharging not having the Defence family blanket around him. He previously experienced being a civilian for 16 months when he discharged in 1992. He didn’t like the change back then but is now ready to live his life full time with his beautiful wife, kids and grandkids.
Dean’s son has also joined the Navy. He joins HMAS Melbourne shortly and has been with the Navy since 2008. Dean and his wife are so proud of him, for what he has achieved and that he is going to carry on the family name in defence.
“RSL DefenceCare as a whole have been outstanding with my case, my advocate has been so helpful and knows my case so well. Without RSL DefenceCare I would have struggled to get my claims sorted as the past 12 months has been very taxing on my mental and physical health.
"I would like to say thank you to everyone that has had a hand in processing, the decision making and support for my case I recommend you guys to every one of my fellow servicemen if they have issues or need guidance.”
Please give what you can so veterans like Dean, and their family members are looked after like they deserve to be.
Share this story with your network:Tweet