The bustling reception area at Training Authority - Aviation (TA-AVN) headquarters will not be the same without the very familiar face of office mainstay Mrs Frances Johnson.
After a 20-year career in the Public Service, 17 of which were at TA-AVN, the Australia Day Medallion recipient has decided to start a new chapter in her life.
The Authority trains officers and sailors with the right skills and knowledge attitude that enables the Fleet Air Arm to fight and win at sea. Mrs Johnson’s contribution has been instrumental to the directorate’s mission.
Outgoing Director Commander Stanley Buckham praised her achievements and cited her invaluable support to the unit throughout his tenure.
“Fran has seen the comings and goings of countless staff and students over the last 17 years,” he said.
“She has consistently aided those posting in and out and adapted to the changing administrative processes. The Navy will miss her dedicated service,” Commander Buckham said.
A number of former directors took the time to offer anecdotes of their time working with Mrs Johnson. Commander Darryn Jose, Director from 2011 to 2013 reflected on her service.
“Fran always provided great support for me in making sure I was in the right place at the right time,” he said.
“Most importantly she was always the happy face that greeted you when you arrived at work.”
Captain Stephen Elms, Director from 2000 to 2003 said her diligence and work ethic was his binding memory.
“Fran’s commitment and performance was always absolutely outstanding,” he said.
“She made the administration less daunting, and her very approachable nature made all feel welcome and part of the Authority family. She will be greatly missed.”
Mrs Johnson plans to retire to Townsville to spend more time with her grandson, Andrew, but she summed up her experience at a clear lower deck in the Seahawk Simulation and Warfare Centre.
“I am proud to have served 11 directors and will certainly miss the bond and friendships made with those that came through the Authority," she said.
“The most rewarding aspect has been seeing some of those students returning as staff.”