Commanding Officer of Training Ship Shoalhaven, Lieutenant John Huisman has received a commendation for 16 years of work mentoring hundreds of Australian Navy Cadets.
His commendation was presented by HMAS Albatross’ Executive Officer, Commander Gary Holgate, on behalf of Commander Australian Fleet during the cadet unit’s annual inspection to recognise his outstanding dedication and commitment to the task of training and leading cadets.
Lieutenant Huisman said the key characteristics he hopes cadets under his charge gain from the experience include developing great pride in themselves, self discipline, self confidence and respect for others.
“I have been the Commanding Officer of Training Ship Shoalhaven for 12 years. I originally became involved to give the then Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Sandy Powell, a hand and somehow ended up staying.
“When I started there were approximately 20 cadets, the unit was in a good location with great people, and the support that the unit received from Albatross was fantastic.
“Since then only the numbers and location have changed. We now have approximately 60 cadets and the unit has moved to a bigger and better location.
“The cadets are still the best around, and the support we receive from the base never ceases to amaze me.”
When asked what keeps him going, Lieutenant Huisman said he takes great pride in the cadet’s achievements both as individuals and a unit.
“It’s very gratifying to see these young people doing something different with their lives, gaining the self confidence and discipline that they may not have had when they first came to us.
“It’s fantastic to watch them at ceremonies like Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and Vietnam Veterans Day. Also seeing the pride they have in their unit and the uniform they wear certainly makes it worthwhile.
“It’s also great to be able to offer them the unique experiences they get to have from time to time, like a sea ride from Hobart to Sydney on HMAS Sydney (IV), flying in various types of helicopters and participating in events like the International Fleet Review last year.
“Last but not least, I’d say it’s seeing quite a few of them go on to careers in the Australian Defence Force and graduate from HMAS Creswell and HMAS Cerberus. I’ve been invited to a few graduation ceremonies over the years.”
Lieutenant Huisman’s commendation closes with the words: Your long term dedication exemplifies an enduring commitment to the development of local youth that is in keeping with the Australian Navy Cadet principles and values. Your efforts are worthy of recognition and reflect the finest traditions of the Royal Australian Navy.
These are words that obviously struck a chord with the cadets and parents present who responded to the presentation with enthusiastic applause.