Australia Day Honours - reflecting on teamwork

Published on LEUT John Cole (author)

Topic(s): Australia Day Honours

WO Rachelle Burnett was awarded an OAM in the Australia Day honours this week. Her citation inclued her treatment of casualties as a Chief Petty Officer onboard HMAS Childers following an explosion on Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel 36. (photo: Unknown)
WO Rachelle Burnett was awarded an OAM in the Australia Day honours this week. Her citation inclued her treatment of casualties as a Chief Petty Officer onboard HMAS Childers following an explosion on Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel 36.

Warrant Officer Rachelle Burnett spent Australia Day thinking more about her family and workmates than her own award.

The presentation of an Medal in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (OAM) recognised her meritorious performance of duty as the Naval Police Coxswain in Patrol Boat crew, Ardent Four, and in HMAS Toowoomba from 2009 until 2014.

Her duties at that time stretched from the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370; two deployments to the Middle East; treatment of casualties onboard HMAS Childers after an explosion on Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel 36 and the leadership of Anzac frigate Toowoomba’s narcotics disposal team.

Warrant Officer Burnett said the common and lasting impression from all those high-tempo activities was the contribution and effectiveness of the Navy team.

Order of Australia – Military Division

Order of Australia – Military Division

“On the day, when it happens and it really matters, all that training kicks in and everyone works together to get it done,” she said.

“You may not expect to see it when people are going about their job every day, and just doing their part, but then to see them on the days when the most extraordinary events happen and the pressure is on, people completely are able to get tasks done and get them done to the highest standard.

“That is the amazing part of the Navy and we all have so much to be proud of.”

Warrant Officer Burnett is currently working in Canberra in a training and development role as part of Capability Development Group.

She said she is constantly impressed by the efforts of Navy personnel in a range of roles, as people strive to do their best at all times. She said the Australia Day Award reflected the values and contributions on show in the fleet every day.

Medal recipients are told of their awards prior to Australia Day, but are asked to keep the matter private so it was a secret she was finally able to share this week.

"It's a relief to be finally able to tell my family about the award," she said.

"They are so proud and so excited."