Highest Honour for West Head Gunnery Range Officer

Published on LEUT Ryan Zerbe (author), LSIS Nina Fogliani (photographer)

Topic(s): Honours, Awards and Trophies, Order of Australia Medal

Recipient of the Order of Australia medal, Officer in Charge of the West Head Gunnery Range, Lieutenant Commander Peter Arnold at the range on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. (photo: LSIS Nina Fogliani)
Recipient of the Order of Australia medal, Officer in Charge of the West Head Gunnery Range, Lieutenant Commander Peter Arnold at the range on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria.

In recognition of his meritorious service in the field of naval warfare training, Lieutenant Commander Peter Arnold has been appointed to the Order of Australia, receiving an Order of Australia Medal in this year's Australia Day Honours List.

Officer in Charge of West Head Gunnery Range, Lieutenant Commander Arnold was recognised for his superior leadership, initiative and devotion to duty in redeveloping and operating the training facility since 2010. 

The Order of Australia is the highest honour for outstanding achievement and service in Australia. 

Lieutenant Commander Arnold said receiving the Medal of the Order of Australia was a humbling reward for doing a job that he loves. 

“I have had the privilege of being supported by dedicated and eager officers and sailors who have staffed the range during my time here.”

“It has been a career highlight to oversee the training of so many thousands of people who then provide an ongoing warfare capability to the Fleet.”

In addition to outstanding project oversight, Lieutenant Commander Arnold was also honoured for his exceptional engagement with the local community, who can often hear live firing activities from the shore out to sea.

“The range is close to the town of Flinders, popular tourist destinations, a commercial fishing ground and two surf breaks, so community engagement has been a major challenge”, he said.

“I have regularly offered stakeholder groups guided tours of the facility to foster a sense of ownership and, as a result, we share a busy air and water space with the public while achieving quality live firing training.”

Lieutenant Commander Arnold joined the Navy in 1979 as a Senior Entry Midshipman at the Royal Australian Naval College and has had a long career at sea in HMA Ships Ardent, Balikpapan, KanimblaManoora, Melbourne, Parramatta, Tarakan, Tobruk and Torrens, as well as several postings ashore.

Since 1959, West Head Gunnery Range has provided officers and sailors with crucial hands-on experience in operating and maintaining close range and medium calibre weapon systems before they join the wider fleet.