For one graduate of New Entry Officers’ Course (NEOC) 63, demonstrating the Defence Value of Service began early when he volunteered in his local community during the Australian bushfire crisis in 2019-20.
Midshipman Charles Sargant started the year fighting fires in his local area of country Victoria while waiting for his NEOC intake to commence.
“It was a terrifying but rewarding experience, given the severity of the flames, the smoke column and being on the frontline around Cann River,” he said.
“That town was hit hard and I found myself helping people to get out and supporting the Australian Defence Force near Mallacoota.”
Midshipman Sargant’s family lost their home on New Year’s Eve to the devastating bushfires in far-East Gippsland while he was supporting his local community.
“I lost communication and access in and out. Gas bottles were exploding at nearby properties, then the wind changed and headed towards our property. My family managed to get out. I wasn’t able to get home until February to see the damage.”
Despite the start to the year, and beginning his NEOC journey in isolation as part of COVID-19 restrictions, Midshipman Sargant is excited to start his Navy career, heading into four years of studies in aeronautical engineering at the ADF Academy before becoming a pilot.
“I was always fascinated to join the Navy. Being a pilot is a dream job and we have world-class training and a program that offers a direct way to get there,” he said.
Midshipman Sargant said NEOC was a great experience to work in a team environment.
“I really enjoyed embarking in HMAS Adelaide and getting the real experience of sea life, along with the block training such as the School of Survivability and Ship Safety, and working in our Divisions as part of a team.”