Largest officer cohort to graduate

Commanding Officer of the Royal Australian Naval College, Commander David Shirvington, addresses the graduates assembled on the parade ground at HMAS Creswell. Photo: Chief Petty Officer Kelvin Hockey

Largest officer cohort to graduate

The Royal Australian Naval College at HMAS Creswell has graduated the largest officer cohort in its 107-year history, with 168 members of New Entry Officer’s Course (NEOC) 62 completing their initial training.

Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mike Noonan reviewed the graduation parade on May 14, the first for 2020, and welcomed the latest group of officers to the fleet.

Graduation was preceded by the Sunset Ceremony at Creswell, with both events modified to ensure the graduates complied with physical distancing restrictions. 

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, families and friends were not able to attend the milestone.

The college’s Commanding Officer, Commander David Shirvington, commended the NEOC 62 graduates for facing the challenges presented by the COVID-19 environment with determination and fortitude.

“For the graduating officers, circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have replicated many of the same challenges they will face at sea, such as isolation from family and friends, personal privileges being removed because of an operational need and restrictions on leave and movements,” Commander Shirvington said.

“Most importantly, these officers have been taught the need to value and respect their people first and foremost, and as long as they continue to achieve success with and through their people during their career, our Navy’s culture will continue to evolve in a positive direction.”.

Graduating Midshipman Darcy Steinbacher said it had been an honour to be chosen as part of the colour party for the ceremonial sunset and to graduate with her cohort.

“I believe we have been given a solid foundation to move into the fleet as naval officers, and we have built professional relationships with each other that will last well throughout our careers,” Midshipman Steinbacher  said.  

Fellow graduate Midshipman Harrison MacNeill said the course was challenging and engaging.

“Learning the principles of leadership and working with so many other talented trainees has allowed us all to grow professionally and personally and to take our next Navy steps with confidence,” he said.

The course introduces students to a range of skills and attitudes needed to become a junior officer, including leadership principles, communications, seamanship and small boat handling, sailing, logistics and naval systems, as well as the history, traditions and ethos of the Navy.

The course also includes weapons instruction, firefighting and ship damage repair and all graduates are qualified in first aid.

Graduates will now progress to specialised training in aviation, engineering, maritime warfare, maritime logistics, intelligence, law, training systems, medical and nursing.

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