Captain Potter finally passes under the bridge

Published on Mr Andrew Bujdegan (author), ABIS Julianne Cropley (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling

Outgoing Commander Submarine Force, Captain Mark Potter departs HMAS Stirling through a guard of honour, formed by his colleagues, at Captain's Landing, Fleet Base West, Western Australia. (photo: ABIS Julianne Cropley)
Outgoing Commander Submarine Force, Captain Mark Potter departs HMAS Stirling through a guard of honour, formed by his colleagues, at Captain's Landing, Fleet Base West, Western Australia.

Captain Mark Potter was farewelled by his staff on September 4, when he finished his post in the position of Commander of the Royal Australian Navy's Submarine Force (COMSUB).

After officially handing Command over to Captain Matt Buckley, the outgoing COMSUB was given a send off at the Sir James Stirling Mess at HMAS Stirling, which included a BBQ lunch - enjoyed in some perfect Perth weather.

Commander Neil Carson, Deputy COMSUB, acted as Master of Ceremonies as Captain Potter was presented with numerous departure gifts, demonstrating the high esteem with which he was considered by his subordinates. The haul included a caricature of Captain Potter, signed by members of the submarine community, and a framed selection of submarine memorabilia and coins.

Before he departed, Captain Potter had the unique opportunity to promote United States Navy exchange officer Lieutenant Commander Travis Zettel to Commander. Commander Zettel has worked within the submarine force as the Staff Officer of Operations for the past 20 months. He is part of a team of seven United States Navy members working within the Royal Australian Navy Submarine Organisation.

Commander Travis Zettel of the United States Navy is awarded his promotion from the rank of Lieutenant Commander by outgoing Commander Submarine Force, Captain Mark Potter.

Commander Travis Zettel of the United States Navy is awarded his promotion from the rank of Lieutenant Commander by outgoing Commander Submarine Force, Captain Mark Potter.


Captain Potter opted for a motorcycle departure from the Sir James Stirling Mess, followed by a more traditional (and more formal) departure from Stirling, via a DMS Launch (boat) from Captains Landing.

Prior to boarding the Launch, Captain Potter passed through a substantial, and very vocal, guard of honour. In traditional Captain Potter style, he remarked on the fact that after 20 years as a submariner, it was his first time he would actually travel 'under' the main causeway bridge onto Garden Island.

Outgoing Commander Submarines, Captain Mark Potter holds his gift of appreciation, presented to him during a farewell BBQ at HMAS Stirling, which was attended by submariner colleagues and other guests.

Outgoing Commander Submarines, Captain Mark Potter holds his gift of appreciation, presented to him during a farewell BBQ at HMAS Stirling, which was attended by submariner colleagues and other guests.



Captain Buckley, the new COMSUB, said the size of the farewell was a testament to the way Captain Potter had carried out his command.

"It is clear from the large turn out, and very genuine feelings of the well wishers, that Captain Potter has made a very significant impression on the Submarine Force during his time as COMSUB.

"Under the tenure of Captain Potter, the overall performance of the Submarine Force has improved. Our challenge is to continue on this journey, to ensure that we deliver an enduring and potent strategic deterrent capability, now and into the future," Captain Buckley said.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20142686.