Navy’s happiest Commodore retires with honour

This article has photo gallery Published on Mr James McPherson (author), ABIS James McDougall (photographer), POIS Paul Berry (photographer)

Location(s): Nowra, New South Wales

Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Vince Di Pietro, presents a Navy coin and pin to Eryn Shipp, Leading Seaman Aircrewman Noel Shipp's granddaughter, at the Australian War Memorial. Eryn expressed interest in becoming an Aircrewman. (photo: POIS Paul Berry)
Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Vince Di Pietro, presents a Navy coin and pin to Eryn Shipp, Leading Seaman Aircrewman Noel Shipp's granddaughter, at the Australian War Memorial. Eryn expressed interest in becoming an Aircrewman.

Commodore Vince Di Pietro was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for his exceptional service as Commander of the Fleet Air Arm (2013 – 2016) and as Australia’s Naval Attaché to the United States (2007 – 2010).
 
The award tops off Commodore Di Pietro’s distinguished 39 year career, throughout which he served as a pilot, instructor, commanding officer, Naval Attaché, undertook long lasting policy work and finished in charge of all Navy squadrons.
 
Commodore Di Pietro said he is proud of the honour and the many people who have supported him over his illustrious career. 
 
“In my mind and heart the honour is a salute by our nation and its Navy to the many people I have had the privilege to serve with,” he said.
 
“Their efforts have made significant contributions to my good fortune to be recognised in this way."
 
Commodore Di Pietro has been flying since he was 18 years old and amassed just under 5,000 hours, but his highlights have been the two postings recognised by the award.
 
“Representing Navy and Australia in Washington DC as Naval Attaché was an unbelievable privilege and incredibly rewarding.
 
“Through the combined efforts of everyone at the Attaché’s office and the Embassy, we continued a strong and growing relationship with the United States Navy and progressed many of the collaborative projects we have with the them,” he said.
 
In that posting he saw the early stages of the MH-60 Romeo Seahawk project, which came to fruition when he was Commander of the Fleet Air Arm.
 
“It is a huge team effort. I am continually thankful for all in the Fleet Air Arm and the hard working agencies that support it.
 
“Everything from food to aircraft spares all worked hard to introduce new Romeo aircraft, equipment and facilities while not missing a beat keeping our current capability flying during the transition,” he said.
 
Commodore Di Pietro has earned respect and an enviable reputation by always prioritising his people, but he insists it is his family that deserve the praise.
 
“My family have been with me through all of it and for the longest time. Their ever present love and interest in what I was doing has allowed me to achieve all I have.”