Ninety-nine years to the day since the declaration of the First World War, New Entry Officers’ Course (NEOC) 49 undertook a series of practical leadership and teamwork exercises modelled on the experiences of one of the first Royal Australian Navy submarine crews.
Exercise DARDANELLES, named after the waters adjacent to the Gallipoli Peninsula, reflects on the experiences of those on board the Australian submarine, AE2, in 1915.
The leadership exercise, which is held at the end of week two of the five month course, aims to forge a team ethos between members as they complete physically demanding, and mentally taxing, activities together.
The experiences of the crew of AE2 were in the extreme, as they became prisoners of war after a daring traverse of the confined waters of the Dardanelles Strait. The trainees are apprised of the history so that they can better understand the purpose of each activity.
A hawser-run on Captain’s Beach with Physical Training staff mirrors the concept of ‘suffering together’ - emphasising the need for good communication and teamwork to overcome adversity.
Other activities include ‘bunkering down’ on Seaman’s Beach, to explore the concept of managing personnel during extended operational periods and dealing with fatigue, and ‘river recon’ which looks at prioritisation, logistics and time constraints in the team environment.
The exercise is part of the recently redeveloped Leadership curriculum at the Royal Australian Naval College that aims to establish the foundations of operational awareness in officers prior to entry into the fleet.