General Entry Class 385 Emms Division recruits graduated from their 11-weeks initial training at HMAS Cerberus under a strict COVID-19 cohort-distanced training environment. 

The Royal Australian Navy Recruit School has been an integral part of Cerberus for 95 years and has trained sailors during two World Wars, in times of peace, other conflicts, for peace-keeping and now during a global pandemic. 

Among the 123 graduates was Seaman* Aviation Technician Aircraft Michelle Grabianski, who was inspired after watching Navy aircraft during Operation Bushfire Assist.   

“We were in South Nowra and had to evacuate after the fire came within two kilometres. It was a lot to deal with,” Seaman* Grabianski said.

“I hope one day soon to be working on the aircraft they used to assist with Operation Bushfire Assist.”

Seaman* Grabianski said she was of her achievements.

“I came to learn new skills and build on the ones I already had. The hardest challenge was trying to take in all the information in a short time,” she said. 

“I also didn’t think I would make so many friends and it now feels like everyone will be friends for life.” 

Emms Division is named in honour of Leading Seaman Francis Bassett ‘Dick’ Emms, who was posthumously mentioned in dispatches ‘For courage and devotion to duty in HMAS Kara Kara during an enemy air raid on Darwin on February 19, 1942’.

Commanding Officer Recruit Training School Commander Cindy Jenkins welcomed family and friends watching via live steam.

“To the families and friends of the graduating recruits, we are delighted to share this important milestone with you, wherever you may be watching from,” Commander Jenkins said. 

“A graduation parade is a significant moment in every sailor’s career and one I know these recruits will never forget.

“The class of General Entry 385 joined the Navy on July 27, 2020. The journey they commenced on that day has had its ups and downs. But they have met our expectations for fitness, learning, discipline, teamwork and attitude and they have done so in the most challenging of circumstances, as evidenced by their masked faces on parade today.

“They arrived as civilians and today they become sailors in the Royal Australian Navy.”

The next step in the Navy journey for the graduating sailors will be career-specific category training at Cerberus or another defence establishment in Australia.