From high school to serving her country, Caloundra girl Carla Humphries has had a fast start to her career in the Navy.

After graduating from Meridan State College in 2018, Seaman Boatswain’s Mate Humphries joined the Navy in April 2019 and just six months later she had her first posting on a ship.

“I joined HMAS Choules in October 2019,” Seaman Humphries said.

“It was nerve-racking but exciting to be posted to sea so quickly.

“I thought it would take much longer to get where I am but to be here so early in my career and be a part of this ship’s company is pretty amazing.”

Choules is a highly operational ship, capable of carrying over 300 troops and operating landing craft and helicopters.

“As a Boatswain’s Mate, I often work in the dock and also as the bowman on the landing craft,” Seaman Humphries said.

“We are also responsible for looking after the weapons on board and conducting the normal seamanship routines like weighing anchor.

“It was so rewarding to be a part of the evacuation.”

“I also work as a lookout on the bridge, keeping watch for fishing or merchant vessels and other things that may be a hazard to our ship.”

Choules is currently deployed on Operation Bushfire Assist and sailed from Sydney at short notice on New Year’s Day.

The ship began operations off the north-east Victorian and was instrumental in evacuating 1400 civilians from Mallacoota.

“It was so rewarding to be a part of the evacuation,” Seaman Humphries said.

“It was crazy and sad to hear some of the stories from the evacuees, but it was so good to see our team come together and get the job done.

“I helped an elderly couple get on board the ship and looked after their dog for them, they were so grateful and said they had no words for how thankful they were that Choules had evacuated them.”

The ship is providing ongoing support at Mallacoota with aviation ground support, logistics and engineering help to the small community.

When the operation ends and Choules returns to her home port of Sydney, Seaman Humphries is looking forward to some time off.

“I’m hoping to get back home to the Sunshine Coast and see my family and friends,” she said.