Disaster experience leads to career change

Published on LCDR Des Paroz (author), CPOIS Cameron Martin (photographer)

Topic(s): Naval College, Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR), New Entry Officers’ Course (NEOC)

Acting Sub Lieutenant Carolyn Johnsen is presented the Rear Admiral Hammond sword for the most outstanding graduate by Rear Admiral Lee Goddard, CSC, RAN, during the New Entry Officers' Course 63 Graduation parade at HMAS Creswell, Jervis Bay. (photo: CPOIS Cameron Martin)
Acting Sub Lieutenant Carolyn Johnsen is presented the Rear Admiral Hammond sword for the most outstanding graduate by Rear Admiral Lee Goddard, CSC, RAN, during the New Entry Officers' Course 63 Graduation parade at HMAS Creswell, Jervis Bay.

When then-Leading Seaman Combat Systems Operator Carolyn Johnsen deployed to Operation FIJI ASSIST in HMAS Canberra, she saw how critical logistics is to the successful completion of an operation.

The deployment was part of Australia’s recovery efforts to help the people of Fiji following Tropical Cyclone Winston, which struck the island nation on 20 February 2016.

The experience started now Acting Sub Lieutenant Johnsen on a path to commissioning, and culminating most recently in graduating from New Entry Officers’ Course (NEOC) 63.

“Operation FIJI ASSIST came at a perfect time as having just completed six years’ service, I was thinking about my future in the Navy,” she said.

“As an Anti-Submarine Aircraft Controller, I was actively involved in logistics during the operation and fell in love with it. Logistics plays such a pivotal role in all operations, humanitarian or warfare, ashore and at sea.”

Having found her path, Acting Sub Lieutenant Johnsen immersed herself, undertaking work experience and postings with Maritime Logistics, as well as commencing part-time study towards a Masters of Logistics degree.

In July this year, Acting Sub Lieutenant Johnsen commenced NEOC at the Royal Australian Naval College in HMAS Creswell.

She excelled in the course and was presented the Rear Admiral Hammond sword for the most outstanding graduate by Rear Admiral Lee Goddard, during the graduation parade.

“There were a lot of fresh, eager faces, and being one of about 15 sailors in the cohort, I had a great opportunity to help others, especially during the initial training period,” she said.

“There were many valuable moments where we helped each other to overcome challenges. It was rewarding to dig deep and find new things about yourself and others around you.”

Being selected as College Captain gave Acting Sub Lieutenant Johnsen additional leadership challenges, taking on the welfare of her cohorts and being a conduit to Command.

“I have learned so much about myself, and NEOC has been really valuable in preparing me for my future role.

“The College staff went above and beyond to ensure training continued seamlessly during a challenging period, and the cohort has also been brilliant.”

Acting Sub Lieutenant Johnsen will now begin Maritime Logistics Officer training.