Advocating for Defence families

Defence family navigates unfamiliar waters together

In her 14 years as a Defence partner, Alyssa has seen her shares of ups and downs with her sailor, Ben.

But like the tides which take him in from and out to sea, the Nowra-based family of five know the uncomfortable moments are part of the ebb and flow.

One of those moments was in 2019 when Ben was away at sea for six months, and returned to a very special welcome from his newborn daughter Skyla.

“We’d been in touch with a radio station, and the presenters made a big ‘welcome home’ sign for Ben and filmed him meeting Skyla for the first time,” recounted Alyssa.

“It was a very emotional time, but really special that we get to watch it over again.”

Over Ben’s several sea and shore postings, Alyssa has held down the fort, caring for their three children Abi, Lucas and Skyla.

“Defence family life has its moments,” she said. 

“You have to take the good with the bad.”

“I couldn’t ask for a better partner,” said Ben.

“Defence partners are the backbone of the military.

“Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do our job.”

Although military life was not new to them, with Ben being a third generation serving Navy member and Alyssa having former serving family members, Ben said it was different when it came to his own children.

“Abi was around six years old when I was about to be posted out again,” said Ben. 

“She said to me, ‘why can’t you just get a regular job and stay home?’ It was like a kick in the guts.”

Despite the challenges, Ben and Alyssa are looking forward to their next adventure.

In 2023, the family are navigating new territory together, living apart as Member With Dependents (Unaccompanied) (MWDU).

“It’s going to be different, but we’ll get through it,” said Alyssa. “It’s what we do.”

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