Thai-born Leading Seaman Phairat Boonrod is back in South-East Asia on deployment in HMAS Sirius.
Migrating to Brisbane at 12, he quickly forged a reputation as a handy Australian rules football player with the Coorparoo club and attended Coorparoo Secondary School.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, there are no planned port visits for Thailand, but he said he was glad to have visited his home country during a regional deployment in 2015.
“That was a great experience because I got to see some of my family and spend time with them. It was the first time I'd been back to Thailand for many years, so I was very happy to get that opportunity,” Leading Seaman Boonrod said.
He joined the Navy at 19 in 2013 and has never looked back.
“When I finished school I made the choice to join Defence because of the career development opportunities and I am very happy I did. I've got to see more of Australia and more of the world than I would have in most other careers,” he said.
After his initial training Leading Seaman Boonrod was posted to Western Australia, where he has helped support the Submarine Force as a supply chain specialist, among other roles.
In 2017 he was awarded a Commander Submarine Force Commendation for his excellence in his maritime logistics role. That excellence has continued in his sea postings, leading him to the role of Maritime Logistics-Supply Chain Supervisor on board Sirius.
Although he loves being in the Navy, Leading Seaman Boonrod said he would have loved to be a professional Thai chef.
Whether he is at sea or ashore, he will always find a way to cook up his favourite dishes.
His shipmates on the auxiliary oiler said they were glad he chose Navy, however, particularly when he indulged his passion for Thai cooking in the ship's galley.