Ryan Thomas Hugh Carmichael | 36 | Royal Australian Navy

Ryan Thomas Hugh Carmichael | 36 | Royal Australian Navy

Served 15.5 years.

Lieutenant Commander, Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Officer.

Medals and citations: Not awarded to me personally, but whilst I was in Command of Australian Mine Warfare Team 16, my team was awarded a US Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation for their actions supporting the recovery of crashed aircraft at sea.

  • I always had a desire to serve my country. I had a close connection with my grandfather who served in the RAAF through WW2, and when searching for a meaningful career goal through high school this was something I felt drawn to. The sense of adventure, mateship and seeing the world also resonated with me.
  • As a junior officer (Lieutenant) I was fortunate to have experienced a wide range of high tempo operationally focussed roles, working with exceptional teams in the RAN, Australian Special Forces and on an exchange with the Royal Navy. It was throughout this period I felt I had the opportunity to really make an impact globally through our deployments, for which I’m extremely proud.

Best advice/skill received: Be humble.

What do you want people to remember about your service? I loved what I did. I always put my sailors first. I gave it everything I had. And I’d do it all again.

What was the best and worst 'military' food you were served, and why? When I was on exchange with the Royal Navy, I had an old school chef-o who loved cooking herrings for breakfast when seas were pounding, it stunk out the whole ship. Anyone who wasn’t already seasick, would be after he flashed them up!

That same chef-o used to whip up some seriously impressive king scallops when we were running around the north west coast of Scotland, we just had to dive for them first!

What effect did your military experience have on your life? My military service shaped my whole life and has given me a different lens to see the world by. It ingrained in me my core values with which I live by, and now raise my children by.

Now in my business, it is this experience that drives our purpose – our products deliver optimal performance and protection for those who continue to serve.

Funny recollection during time of service:

As a young Sub-Lieutenant, I remember sneaking into the Victoria Barracks Military Officers Spring Ball with a few of my dive course mates. I might have even been wearing a borrowed cocktail uniform that was far too small, but it was a Vegas theme night and one not to be missed.

Early in the evening I was approached by the most beautiful woman in the room, who asked me if I wanted to join her for a hot air balloon ride. Thinking it was a pretty lame pickup line, I passed her up on the offer and kicked on with the boys, only to find out later the RAAF did have a hot air balloon there offering rides!

Needless to say, I tracked her down later that night, and we got married in that same spot a few years later, and the rest is history!

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