Aviation graduates take off on promising careers

This article has photo gallery Published on Ms Dallas McMaugh (author), POIS Justin Brown (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Albatross, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Albatross, 723 Squadron, Graduation

Reviewing Officer, Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, RAN, inspects the graduating officers and sailors of the Joint Helicopter School No.1 Pilot, Aviation Warfare Officer and Aircrewman Courses at 723 Squadron HMAS Albatross, NSW. (photo: POIS Justin Brown)
Reviewing Officer, Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn, RAN, inspects the graduating officers and sailors of the Joint Helicopter School No.1 Pilot, Aviation Warfare Officer and Aircrewman Courses at 723 Squadron HMAS Albatross, NSW.

The first intake of Army and Navy Pilots, Aviation Warfare Officers and Aircrew has graduated. The course participants from 723 Squadron/Joint Helicopter School graduated on 31 August in what 723SQN Commanding Officer, Commander Bruce Willington, described as an ‘historic day.’

“In the space of just over three and a half years, the Capability and Acquisition Sustainment Group, along with Boeing, Thales and Defence have delivered training outcomes to ensure we have professional, resilient helicopter aircrews with sound decision making and teamwork skills.

“This is helping to underwrite Navy’s ability to effectively fight and win on land and in the marine environment.”

A Unit Citation for Gallantry pennant was also raised for the first time at the Graduation ceremony. Recently awarded in a ceremony in Canberra, the pennant recognises the heroic work undertaken by the 196 Navy members of the combined Australian and United States helicopter unit during the Vietnam War.

The pennant provided a fitting backdrop as 28 graduates across the three courses were presented their wings by Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn. 

Commander Smallhorn congratulated the graduates on their achievements.

“You are now off on the next phase of your careers where you will be tested even further. 

“Always push for excellence in whatever you do,” CMDR Smallhorn said. 

Dux of the Pilot Rotary Course was Lieutenant Rob McBeath. Aviation Warfare Officer Dux was Sub Lieutenant Ashley Hill and the Aircrewman Dux was Leading Seaman Simon Zammit.