As 2017 quickly draws to a close, here’s a message from Navy’s most senior sailor, Warrant Officer of the Navy Gary Wight.
“Having been yet another very busy year, I am sure many of you are thinking ‘where did that year go’? For most, trying to balance work and home life is often very difficult. Serving our nation, although incredibly rewarding, can be stressful and physically and mentally challenging, so I hope like me you are being well supported by your family, friends and shipmates.
Something that I have appreciated this year more than any other during my time in the Navy is the support of others. If it’s been a while since you have done so, I encourage you to tell those in your life that support you, how much their support means to you, and more broadly to your Navy. Without their support and sacrifice, our Navy could not continue to be a highly skilled and dedicated team of teams who work extremely hard every day to deliver on our contract with the Government and the Australian people.
We are a safety focussed organisation that does everything we can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our people, we train our people very well, and (particularly) in times of need, we are there supporting our people and their families. None of this happens by accident, it happens because our people care for one another. I know that we can always do better, and from time to time we don’t get things right, but I see examples every day of our people going that extra mile, and in a very personable way, leading and managing very effectively to help those around them to be the best they can be.
Well done to everyone who has stayed back off watch to assist a sailor to complete a competency, mowed a mate’s lawn while they were deployed, mentored when there was no formal obligation to do so, been there when one of our people has needed someone to lean on, and any number of other things that you had no other reason to do except because it was simply the right thing to do.
In 2018 I ask you to build on your technical mastery and understand how you contribute to our Navy and our wider Defence community. I regularly take questions from officers and sailors on what are very high level strategic issues and concerns, and although I am encouraged that so many of you are thinking ‘big picture’, I would ask you to focus much of your efforts in mastering your core tasks and responsibilities. Be the very best and most competent sailor or officer you can be. Listen and learn from those around you and work hard every day to be that little bit better than what you were yesterday.
Remember that innovation isn’t just that big ‘ah ha’ moment, it is a culture where we are all looking to continuously improve ourselves, those who we work with, and the processes and procedures that govern our place of work. Be innovative and look for opportunities to continuously improve our Navy.
I will conclude as I did last year by again thanking all who serve for your service. Let us all remember that many of our shipmates will again be deployed over the festive season and not get the opportunity to spend some downtime with their friends and families. For those who will get some downtime, I hope that the break is a happy and safe occasion. Keep an eye out for your mates, and if they are doing it a bit tough maybe you might be able to set an extra place at your table.
Look after yourselves and each other, all the best and see you in 2018.”