‘Be prepared, be confident and stand up’ - Senior Sailor shares his experiences on Navy and leadership

Published on LEUT Will Singer (author), CPOIS Damian Pawlenko (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling, WA

Topic(s): Retirement

Logistics Support Manager, Warrant Officer Robert Thwaites from the Joint Logistics Unit - West at Fleet Base West in Rockingham, WA. (photo: CPOIS Damian Pawlenko)
Logistics Support Manager, Warrant Officer Robert Thwaites from the Joint Logistics Unit - West at Fleet Base West in Rockingham, WA.

A job as a London Hotel Manager followed by a career in a less luxurious facility as a Correctional Officer doesn’t come close to time served abroad in the Royal Australian Navy.

Following much rewarded long service leave, Warrant Officer Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Robert Thwaites will be retiring in 2018 after serving more than 26 exciting and well-travelled years in the Navy.

One of his most memorable deployments was a posting to Singapore as the Royal Australian Navy Assistant Liaison Officer between 2005 and 2007. 

“The Singapore posting enabled me to travel all around South East Asia for work and pleasure and I made many friends with whom I still stay in contact with,” Warrant Officer Thwaites said.

“Another great assignment was a seven-month deployment to Egypt supporting Operation MAZURKA.

“This deployment allowed me to work in a camp with many different nationalities and I got to see many different aspects of how the Middle East live and go about their business,” he said.

There is nothing much that keeps Warrant Officer Thwaites awake at night while working at the Joint Logistics Unit - (West) located at HMAS Stirling.

“I like to shut-off and unwind when I get home despite the challenges in my role like divisional issues and keeping up with the ever-changing policies within the Defence workforce,” Warrant Officer Thwaites said. 

“The advice I would give first-time leaders is to be prepared, know your stuff, be confident, stand up and be counted and most of all - be open and honest in all respects.

“There have been many people during my career that have influenced me in one way or another for me to better myself.

“When the going gets tough, I tend to put my head down and get the job done to the best of my ability and manage to pull-through sheer perseverance,” he said.

Warrant Officer Thwaites has two step-daughters who are both in the Navy - Petty Officer Medic Lisa-Marie Thwaites and Petty Officer Maritime Logistics Support Operations Meggan Thwaites - not forgetting two sons, Jeremy and Scott. 

“I am an avid follower of the Brisbane Broncos, Essendon Football Club, Arsenal Football Club, boxing and Grand Prix motorcycle racing,” Warrant Officer Thwaites said.

The Warnbro local enjoys his hobbies of gardening, stamp collecting and following sports.

For career information as Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain, visit the Defence Jobs website.