Krystal Sims has been a Naval Reservist since 2016. Known as an Ordinary Maritime Trade Operator, or OMTO, Krystal was born in Tauranga and raised in the Coromandel.
She juggles post-graduate nursing study and her commitment to the Naval Reserves alongside her role as a nurse for the Waikato DHB.
After starting postgraduate studies, OMTO Sims was keen to take a more active role within HMNZS Ngapona, the Northern region Reserve Division.
Joining in on an exercise with the Royal New Zealand Navy Reservists from units around the country who gathered in Auckland recently, Krystal was provided with the opportunity to understand how their role supports the Navy’s operational capability. This was the first major exercise she has been involved with.
“There’s a lot to the exercise, but I really enjoyed all the different aspects,” says the 24-year-old nurse.
As part of the exercise the Reservists visited Devonport Naval Base, where they toured the Navy’s newest vessel, HMNZS Aotearoa, experienced the Seamanship Simulator and visited the Navy Museum and Marae.
They also lent a helping hand to the Auckland community, planting trees at Shakespear Regional Park and carrying out a beach clean at Army Bay.
Assistant Chief of Navy (Reserves), Captain Phillip O’Connell, says that Naval Reservists provide a valued, flexible workforce of skilled professionals.
“They support Navy delivery from the front line at sea and ashore to senior management,” he says.
“Modern Reservists are a blended mix of personnel. Some are people who have signed up for part-time service as an adjunct to their civilian careers.
“Others are ex-Regular Force personnel who have transitioned to civilian careers or are taking time out from full-time service for reasons such as whānau needs and further education.”
OMTO Sims said that now she’s attached to the Tauranga unit, she has begun learning the tradecraft of Maritime Trade Operations which is solely performed by Naval Reserve personnel and is the link with the civilian maritime community.
“I have also given a couple of medical briefs - refreshers on basic first aid and CPR,” she says.
“Everyone is so supportive of my role within the unit but also in my civilian life. Everyone wants to see everyone else achieve.
“Joining the Naval Reserves is a good way to get a taste of military life and get involved with things that are totally different to the things we do in everyday life.
“For example, I really enjoy the weapons training weekends that qualify us and update our skills. And as we are fitness-tested, it is also a good way to keep your fitness up.”
The Royal New Zealand Navy would like to hear from anyone interested in serving while maintaining their civilian career, or thinking of leaving the NZDF to start a civilian career and wanting to maintain their service links.