Leadership keeps patrol boat crew saving lives at sea

Published on SGT Dave Morley (author), LSIS Yuri Ramsey (photographer)

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Chief Petty Officer Mark Daniel Verhoeven has been awarded a Conspicuous Service Medal in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for his achievements as the Senior Marine Technical Officer in Patrol Boat Crew Attack Four during border protection operations.
Chief Petty Officer Verhoeven said he was honoured and proud to receive recognition for his work and his leadership during numerous search and rescue events.
“The most rewarding part of the job was the fact that we directly saved lives at sea,” he said.
During one particular search and rescue task in 2012, the crew, embarked in HMAS Larrakia, rescued a number of survivors from a damaged vessel near Christmas Island.
“This particular one in Larrakia holds special meaning. It included the unpleasant task of recovering bodies and the crew received a Level 3 Group Commendation for our efforts,” 
Chief Petty Officer Verhoeven said.

Chief Petty Officer Verhoeven said he has learnt a lot from his time working in boats and encouraged sailors to serve in the group.
“You conduct a diverse range of duties, such as fishery patrols, immigration and international engagements, and exercises,” he said. 
“No matter what the tasking, you are kept busy and you can always be proud of your achievements.

“It’s good to know you have made a difference in protecting our waters, saving lives or representing yourself, your crew, the Navy and indeed the entire nation whilst on overseas deployments.”

Chief Petty Officer Verhoeven shared his award with his family, acknowledging their support throughout his career.
“My partner, Wendy and daughter, Aeron, are both happy for me and proud of my achievements.
“During that posting, and indeed my whole career, they have always supported me,” he said.
Chief Petty Officer Verhoeven is now teaching the Armidale Class Patrol Boat engineering course and where he shares his knowledge and advice for younger sailors.
“No matter what rate you are, or what class of ship you go to, enjoy your time,” he said. 
“Whether you plan to serve only a short time, or spend a career in the Navy, make the most of it.”