New officers swap university for uniform

Published on LCDR Chloe Wootten (author and photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Creswell, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Creswell, Naval College

Lieutenant Commander Tracey Elliott and Lieutenant Ashley Cox discuss the benefits available under the Undergraduate Entry Scheme to the 2014 Undergraduate Entry Officers’ Course at HMAS Creswell. (photo: LCDR Chloe Wootten)
Lieutenant Commander Tracey Elliott and Lieutenant Ashley Cox discuss the benefits available under the Undergraduate Entry Scheme to the 2014 Undergraduate Entry Officers’ Course at HMAS Creswell.

Twenty five of the Royal Australian Navy’s newest officers ‘dipped their toes in the water’ at HMAS Creswell recently on the week-long Undergraduate Officers’ Entry Course.

Undergraduate officers join the Navy during their civilian university studies and, on completion, return to Creswell for the five month New Entry Officers’ Course.

Undergraduates are appointed to become Medical Officers, Dental Officers, Nursing Officers, Legal Officers and Engineers and for some it can be a long wait to return to life in uniform.

Lieutenant Commander Tracey Elliott, RAN, course officer for the recent intake, stressed the importance of close liaison with local commands when the officers return to their studies.

“In some cases it can be five or even six years before these officers return to Creswell again, so it’s essential that we have a strong network across the country to keep them informed and motivated,” she said.

On hand to provide some personal insight was Aeronautical Engineer, Lieutenant (LEUT) Ashley Cox, RAN who joined the Navy as an undergraduate in 2005.

LEUT Cox took time away from his duties at 723 Squadron at HMAS Albatross to share his experiences with those embarking on the same journey.

“It’s important that the full benefits of employment in the Navy are communicated at an early stage so that all of our officers understand their entitlements and obligations.

“I didn’t realise how much support was on offer from Navy during my studies until I looked back once I was at Creswell,” he said.

In order to better support the undergraduate officer of the future LEUT Cox and LCDR Elliott are soon to launch an interactive web page to help bridge the gap.

Lieutenant Ashley Cox takes Sub-Lieutenant Christopher Eddes (Medical Officer) and Midshipman Patrick Czalikew (Marine Engineer) through the CD-ROM information package during the 2014 Undergraduate Entry Officers’ Course at HMAS Creswell.

Lieutenant Ashley Cox takes Sub-Lieutenant Christopher Eddes (Medical Officer) and Midshipman Patrick Czalikew (Marine Engineer) through the CD-ROM information package during the 2014 Undergraduate Entry Officers’ Course at HMAS Creswell.