Diamond jubilee for Father and Son

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Kelli Lunt (author), CPOIS Ollie Garside (photographer)

Location(s): Russell Offices, ACT

Topic(s): Federation Star, Long Service Medal

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, presents Captain Darren Grogan, CSM, RAN, with a third clasp to his Defence Long Service Medal, as Warrant Officer Martin Grogan, OAM, holds his second Federation Star for his Defence Long Service Medal that was presented earlier. (photo: CPOIS Ollie Garside)
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, presents Captain Darren Grogan, CSM, RAN, with a third clasp to his Defence Long Service Medal, as Warrant Officer Martin Grogan, OAM, holds his second Federation Star for his Defence Long Service Medal that was presented earlier.

A milestone of combined seventy five years of Service was recognised in a presentation of awards for a serving father and son by Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, last week.

Warrant Officer Martin Grogan, OAM, who currently manages the HMAS Cerberus museum, was awarded his second Federation Star for 45 years of Service. His son, Captain Sea Training, Captain Darren Grogan, CSM, RAN, received his third clasp for the Defence Long Service Medal during the same presentation.

WO Grogan said he has had an amazing career in the Navy and felt very privileged to receive the award from CN – who coincidently also presented WO Grogan with his first Federation Star.

“I followed the lead of my older brother who had joined at the age of 17. I couldn't wait until I turned 17 to also go in. I was looking for an adventure and I got more than I bargained for. I am now 71 and still having an adventure,” WO Grogan said. 

“To still be serving five years later and have my second Federation Star presented to me in Navy Office by the Chief of the Navy, in the presence of all family members was an honour one could not even dream about. It was my first visit to Navy Office in nearly 55 years.” 

WO Grogan’s career includes serving in every rank at sea, including going to sea at the age of 26 as a Chief Petty Officer Writer as Captain's Secretary on a destroyer. He also served on the Staff of the Australian Naval Attaché in Washington.

Although they have never served together, WO Grogan said that leading the Anzac Day march together in Melbourne this year was a particularly special memory.

“We never served together and because of his sea time commitments we never actually had all that much family time together. However, we were given the rare honour of jointly leading the entire Anzac Day Parade in Melbourne this year, which is our home town,” he said. 

“We had never actually marched together in an Anzac Day Parade before so it was very special, particularly for my daughters and their children.”

CAPT Grogan, whose career included Commanding and Decommissioning the Fremantle Class Patrol Boat HMAS Ipswich and Commanding HMAS Sirius, is equally proud of the milestones that he and his father were able to share.

“It was a great honour to be able to receive the award surrounded by family at the same time as my father, especially as he is approaching retirement in November,” CAPT Grogan said.

“It was made even more special by having it presented to us by CN and DCN. VADM Noonan has been a very strong supporter of my father and the tireless work he has been doing at the HMAS Cerberus museum as well as his work for Veterans.

“Coincidentally the then Commander Noonan also presented me with my 15 year medal when I was his Navigating Officer in HMAS Parramatta.”

WO Grogan is incredibly proud of his son’s achievement and could not have been happier to receive his award at the same time as CAPT Grogan’s.

“What a great honour to have it presented at the same time as my son, who has achieved so much and sacrificed so much along the way in following his dream,” WO Grogan said.

“I used to be the Topgun in the family, but his achievements and dedication have been so great that I am now quite happy being the Popgun.”