"The air at sea is the most beautiful air you'll ever breathe.
"It makes you feel alive."
Those were the words of Goulburn resident Wendell Howe who spent a lot of time on the HMAS Sydney between 1965 and 1972.
Tomorrow marks the 55th anniversary of the modified Leander-class light cruiser, and to celebrate, Goulburn resident Wendell Howe bought a commemorative plate marking the milestone.
"I bought it because I'm a part of history," he brimmed with pride.
The former Goulburn High School student joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1962 and was dismissed in 1974.
During that time, he served four trips to Vietnam on the ship.
He also went to Hong Kong, the Philippines and New Zealand and spent two years in Papua New Guinea.
A funny memory Mr Howe recalled was when he was made to take a crash course in driving a forklift.
"Even though I worked in catering, one person had to do it, so I was voted in," he said.
You don't normally need good marks in school to cater in the navy, but in the curious case of Wendell Howe, he did.
"I told my parents I wanted to join the navy because I found it an attractive option," he said.
"That was also when I came 28th in my half yearly exam at school.
"They said they would sign me up if I improved.
"I finished fourth."
After his time in the Navy, Mr Howe became a taxi driving in Sydney before moving back to Goulburn.
The 55th anniversary of the HMAS Sydney is tomorrow, Tuesday, June 8.
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