Navy veteran calls time on 38 year career

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), ABIS Christopher Szumlanski (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling

Topic(s): HMAS Stirling, Fleet Base West

Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling, Captain Brian Delamont, RAN, presented Chief Petty Officer Clark with the Gold Discharge Medallion after 38 years of service in the Royal Australian Navy. (photo: ABIS Christopher Szumlanski)
Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling, Captain Brian Delamont, RAN, presented Chief Petty Officer Clark with the Gold Discharge Medallion after 38 years of service in the Royal Australian Navy.

Chief Petty Officer Communications Information Systems Alan “Nobby” Clark has closed the door on his illustrious 38-year Permanent Navy career. A familiar face to anyone who has spent time at HMAS Stirling and in ships based at Fleet Base West, Chief Clark will still occasionally be around the base in a Reserve capacity.

Speaking at a morning tea while presenting him with his gold retirement medallion, Stirling Commanding Officer Captain Brian Delamont thanked Chief Clark for his service.

“Nobby has had a very distinguished career as a communications sailor and more lately in the adventure training area.”

“I’d like to take this opportunity, in front of his wife Trish, other family members and work colleagues, to congratulate him and say ‘thank you’ for his hard work and dedication,” said Captain Delamont.

Chief Petty Officer Clark joined the Navy in 1980, and after completing his training at Communications School he joined HMAS Supply as a Seaman Signalman.

A couple of other short postings followed before he was posted to HMAS Stirling to work in the communications centre.

He then joined HMAS Swan which was to become one of many postings to the four Destroyer Escorts that eventually came to be based in Western Australia.

Four years later Chief Clark took the plunge to change branch to Clearance Diver; however, after getting married to Trish (herself a communicator) he decided to return to the communications world.

After a posting to the former HMAS Stuart and being part of that ship’s decommissioning crew, Chief Clark was posted to HMAS Moresby.

From there he went east to HMAS Penguin where, upon promotion to Petty Officer, he returned to Stirling to again work in in the communications centre.

During a subsequent posting to the former HMAS Canberra, he developed an interest in outdoor education which led him to becoming a high ropes facilitator and later an adventure training facilitator.

Subsequent postings to ships and shore establishments saw him further develop his interest in adventure training, which eventually led to Chief Clark being loan-posted to the Stirling gymnasium.

Since then, he has devoted his time to developing Stirling’s adventure training program into one of the best on offer in the Australian Defence Force.

Reflecting on his distinguished career, Chief Petty Officer Clark was a man of few words.

“It’s been a great career over the years,” he said.

“Obviously my real passion is adventure training, but the communications world was where it all started for me.”

Fortunately it won’t be the end of the naval road for ‘Nobby’ Clark as he will continue to be involved in Stirling’s adventure training program, albeit in a reserve capacity.