Navy Headquarters Tasmania and Navy Reserve Dive Team 10 (ANRDT 10) farewelled Lieutenant Commander Herman Westerhof this week after he completed a 40-year association with the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Lieutenant Commander Westerhof’s life in the ADF started in 1970 when he completed two years of National Service with the Army’s Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers corps (RAEME), where he worked as an instructor at the Army Apprentice School.
With his older brothers then serving in the Royal Australian Navy, and his younger brother planning to do so, Herman ‘saw the light’ and, in 1974, joined the Naval Reserve at Hobart’s shore establishment HMAS Huon, initially as an Electronics Technical Communications sailor. He reached the rank of Petty Officer before transferring to the Seaman Branch and undergoing training as a Seaman Officer, gaining his Bridge Watch-keeping Certificate on the Attack Class Patrol Boat HMAS Ardent.
Herman’s civilian employment took him to Antarctica in 1980-82 and his time aboard the icebreaker Thala Dan was counted as ‘sea-time’ to enable Herman to retain this efficiency rating during this period.
In the early 1990s Herman was appointed Officer-In-Charge of ANRDT 10, a position he held until 2007 when he moved into the role of Manager Reserve Workforce Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Group.
At his farewell, Herman recounted how Navy Officer in Charge Tasmania (Commander Hodgman) told him of his appointment to OIC ANRDT 10. Apparently CMDR Hodgman approached the then Sub Lieutenant Westerhof and said “The diving team needs an OIC and you are it!”
Herman’s response was a simple “Aye Aye Sir!”
Herman considers the completion of the Royal Australian Navy Staff Acquaint Course (RANSAC) as a highlight of his Navy service.
“The skills and knowledge I gained from the training provided was of immense help during both my naval and civilian careers,” he said.
At his farewell, LCDR Westerhof’’s Tasmania colleagues presented him with a beautiful framed photograph Hobart’s waterfront that had been taken a century ago.