High-achieving Maritime Warfare Officer Sub Lieutenant Liam Whitfeld has been crowned as the recipient of the Queen’s Gold Medal for 2019, capping off an already successful 12 months.
Her Majesty the Queen’s Gold Medal is one of the oldest and most prestigious training awards in the Royal Australian Navy and was first awarded in 1916.
Sub Lieutenant Whitfeld was awarded the medal in recognition of his outstanding performance during Maritime Warfare Officer Course 03, which also saw him awarded the dux of Phase IV Warfare, the overall dux of the course and the RSL Jubilee Sword for the highest performing Phase IV trainee across the 2018-19 training year.
In his citation for the award, Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mike Noonan praised Sub Lieutenant Whitfeld’s drive and enthusiasm that was evident throughout his training.
“His professionalism and conduct on course was exemplary. I commend him for attaining his Bridge Warfare Certificate and posting to sea for consolidation more than seven weeks ahead of his cohort,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.
Sub Lieutenant Whitfeld, who attended North Sydney Boys High School, joined Navy in 2016 as a 19-year-old and credits his mother with instilling his strong work ethic and desire to serve.
“My mum is a nurse and as such I have always grown up with the desire to help others, something I picked up from her, and I thought a career in the Navy was something that would help me achieve that,” Sub Lieutenant Whitfeld said.
“I wanted a career where I was part of something more, making a difference not just locally but on a larger, more global scale.”
Sub Lieutenant Whitfeld has been posted to Hobart since October 2019 and is once again looking forward to being at sea and helping control one of the Royal Australian Navy’s most modern warships.
“It is quite a challenging and rewarding job, definitely not something many people can say they’ve undertaken in their life either.
“However the best aspect is the people I get to work with, I’ve made so many close and strong friendships with people since I’ve joined - something that will carry on regardless of how long we stay within the Navy.”
The Queen’s Gold Medal, which was first awarded as the King’s Medal in 1916, will be presented to Sub Lieutenant Whitfeld at a suitable occasion in the near future.
Buckingham Palace allocates one medal per year to the Royal Australian Navy.