One hundred and seventy three proud graduates of the Royal Australian Naval College (RANC), dressed sharply in winter ceremonial uniforms, have marked the end of five months of training with the graduation of New Entry Officers Course (NEOC) 64.

Hosted on the Quarterdeck of HMAS Creswell on the shores of Jervis Bay, the graduation marked the culmination of intensive preparation to join the wider Navy environment.

This included developing the skills and attitudes necessary to become effective leaders, including communication techniques, basic mariner skills, sea survivability, combat survivability such as firefighting and flood safety, weapons handling and physical training.

Governor-General General (retd) David Hurley was the reviewing officer of Navy’s newest leaders, accompanied by Acting Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Chris Smith.

RANC Commanding Officer Commander David Shirvington said watching the trainees grow both professionally and personally had been rewarding for him and his staff.

“It has been a tremendous pleasure to have observed their growth from unrefined diamonds to the impressive sparkling capability we see on graduation today,” Commander Shirvington said.

“In particular, watching them develop their skills in leadership and having the ability to lead high functioning teams to conduct a mission set, anytime and anywhere with the resources allocated, has been truly inspiring.”

Among the graduates were 62 maritime warfare officers – 13 of which were submariners, 19 maritime engineering officers, 15 weapons electrical engineering officers and 12 maritime logistics officers. There were also 10 sailor changeovers.

For Lieutenant Commander Gabrielle Dobson, the graduation was a special moment – her first as Executive Officer of RANC. 

She said the trainees’ growth had been significant.

“The trainees have really grown in their self-confidence and are starting to understand the different ways you can be a leader,” Lieutenant Commander Dobson said.

“The practical leadership exercises have allowed them to test different leadership styles, and leverage their personal strengths to get the best out of their teams.

“They have also displayed excellent followership, working together to support their fellow trainees through commitment and effort to contribute to achieving shared tasks.”

Some graduates will now start specialist training in their respective fields and begin their transition into the fleet while others will go on to their first sea postings and will soon represent Australia on operations and exercises at sea.