Providing a high level of medical care to her comrades at sea and in the field was a childhood dream for Lieutenant Laura McRae – and it is about to come true.
The 30-year-old from Perth, Western Australia, on June 17 graduated from the Royal Australian Navy’s New Entry Officers Course (NEOC) 64 alongside 172 peers.
It followed an intensive five-month program at HMAS Creswell, Jervis Bay, New South Wales, that taught trainees the skills and attitude necessary to be an effective naval officer and leader.
Lieutenant McRae is among four nursing officers to graduate the course and although her military career did not begin in the maritime domain, she feels right at home.
“It has always been a dream of mine to be a nurse within the Australian Defence Force,” she said.
“I enjoyed a gap year in Army in 2021 and completed my nursing degree as an active reservist.
“But I saw an advert for Navy nursing when I was looking for a career change to expand my current skillset and eagerly applied.
“I commissioned four months later.
“The role of a Navy nurse presents such unique opportunities and I am excited for the challenge.”
Trainees stood proudly in their ceremonial winter uniforms at the graduation ceremony on Creswell’s quarterdeck.
The Governor-General General (retd) David Hurley was the reviewing officer for the parade, accompanied by acting Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Chris Smith.
The parade marked the end of five months of training that included practical leadership exercises, communication classes, lessons on basic mariner skills and sea survivability, weapons handling and physical training.
Lieutenant McRae will now post to the clinical development cell at HMAS Penguin in Sydney where she will complete further training ahead of future deployments at sea.
She said her experiences at the college would not be easily forgotten.
“The most memorable aspect for me has been the bonds formed within the cohort and especially within my division,” Lieutenant McRae said.
“I am very grateful to have been surrounded by such great people and think the memories created with them will last a long time.”