New Chief of Navy takes command

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Lauren Rago (author), Mr Steve Dent (photographer), LSIS Lee-Anne Mack (photographer), Mrs Lauren Larking (photographer)

Location(s): Canberra

Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO, CSC, RAN takes the salute for the last time as Chief of Navy. (photo: Steve Dent)
Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO, CSC, RAN takes the salute for the last time as Chief of Navy.

Over 500 Royal Australian Navy personnel farewelled the outgoing Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs and welcomed their new leader Vice Admiral Tim Barrett in an official ceremony at Sir Thomas Blamey Square in Canberra today.

The Navy’s new Chief, Vice Admiral Barrett recognised with deep appreciation Vice Admiral Griggs’s progressive leadership over the last three years.

“The Navy is better placed today than it was because of his commitment and the direction he has taken us.

“Let me state publically at the start of my tenure what my goals for Navy will be: To gain and maintain our contract with government ― and with it the trust of the Australian people, to prepare for new capabilities, and to continue our reform and cultural change journey.

“These goals are indeed the same as Admiral Griggs’s, and not because I don’t have an alternative, but because they have proven to be the right goals, and they require a steady passage to mature.

“Whilst I might run a slightly different watch bill, the head mark will remain the same,” Vice Admiral Barrett said.

Vice Admiral Barrett pledged his commitment to lead the men and women of the Royal Australian Navy to the best of his ability.

“You should note that at all future graduation ceremonies for officers and sailors alike I will require new members of our Navy to publically state their commitment to Navy Values.

“I would not do this if it were not suitable for me to do the same, so before all of you here today, representing all the men and women of the Royal Australian Navy let me say: I commit to uphold the Navy Values of Honour, Honesty, Loyalty, Integrity and Courage.

To a round of applause, Vice Admiral Barrett concluded with the statement “I readily accept Command of the Royal Australian Navy.”

Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, who will be appointed Vice Chief of Defence Force on 1 July 2014, thanked Navy’s people for their commitment and great achievements during his tenure.

“I want above all to thank them, the fighting men and women of the Navy for their wonderful contribution these last few years.

“It is you who have regularly been called on to put the lives of others ahead of your own, it is you who must be ready to fight and win and it is you who are the soul of this great national institution – it would be a terribly dull place without you.

“On most days around just over 20 percent of the fleet is deployed on operations, and 30 to 35 percent of the fleet would be at sea on operations, or preparing for operations.

“We are once more a working Navy and this has only been possible because of our collective efforts.”

Vice Admiral Griggs told Vice Admiral Barrett that he knows he is the right person to continue Navy down the right path.

“Your support in the vital role of Fleet Commander throughout my time as Chief has been crucial and I wish you all the very best as you take on this role as the 31st Chief of Navy,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.

The official handover ceremony included a public performance by nine members of the Royal Australian Navy’s very popular Indigenous Performance Troop, formally named ‘Bungaree.’

Bungaree wore a mix of traditional dress and naval uniform to represent both their traditional and military heritages. Their dance for the assembled parade and Defence Senior Leaders included both traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander styles.

Following the ceremony, Navy personnel were invited to a morning tea with the Admirals.

The Chief of Navy is the most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Navy, responsible to the Chief of Defence Force and the Secretary of Defence. The position leads more than 50 commissioned vessels, 17,000 personnel and maritime defence of  the world’s largest island nation.

Bungaree, the Navy's Indigenous Performance Group at the Chief of Navy handover ceremony at Sir Thomas Blamey Square, Canberra.

Bungaree, the Navy's Indigenous Performance Group at the Chief of Navy handover ceremony at Sir Thomas Blamey Square, Canberra.

The Chief of Navy pennant and Australian White Ensign at the Chief of Navy handover ceremony.

The Chief of Navy pennant and Australian White Ensign at the Chief of Navy handover ceremony.