Reaching the milestone of half a century in the ADF is a rare occurrence. Even rarer, two HQJOC Navy members reached their 50-year anniversary in March.
With a combined 100 years of service made more special with the centenary of Anzac this year, Lieutenant Commander Graeme Wong and Chief Petty Officer Peter Stone were awarded their seventh clasp to the Long Service Medal, and third Federation Star by Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston.
Vice Admiral Johnston said he was impressed by Lieutenant Commander Wong’s and Chief Stone’s service in the RAN.
“Their operational service is like taking a walk around the war memorial. They have seen and done so much throughout their 50-year careers,” Vice Admiral Johnston said.
“I am pleased that I can present both of them with their seventh clasp to the Long Service Medal and third Federation Star. To have two members reach this milestone together is a rare thing.”
Lieutenant Commander Wong joined the Navy in February 1967 and qualified as a helicopter observer on the Wessex 31B. He had a number of postings including 817 Squadron in HMAS Melbourne in 1970, Australian Seaking Flight UK and subsequent Sea King delivery to Australia in 1975, HQ InterFet in East Timor in 1999, and Operations QUICKSTEP and ASTUTE in HMAS Kanimbla in 2006.
“My major highlights were postings to the UK, SAVO in Kanimbla and at HQJOC. I had a number of front line postings in my career one of which included ditching in a Wessex helicopter in 1970,” Lieutenant Commander Wong said.
“I encourage all members to look for the good things in every posting and know that the ADF will look after you if you work hard and do the right thing.”
Chief Petty Officer Peter Stone also began his career in 1967 with a posting to HMAS Leeuwin, followed by HMA Ships Sydney ('Vung Tau Ferry', 1968), Brisbane (1970, 80-82), Stalwart (1973), Tarangau II (1974), Kimbla (1975-76), Westralia (1993-95), and Swan (1995-96), as well as serving on Operation SLIPPER in 2009-10.
“I didn’t always plan a long Navy career. When I joined as a junior recruit, we signed on for 12 years. After that was up, I signed on for another 15, then 20, then 32 years permanent Navy. I have been an active reservist on CFTS and days since then,” Chief Stone said.
“I am proud to have served in the Navy. My advice for those coming through is to enjoy yourself and listen to subordinates, peers and superiors.”