Dolphins awarded to five new submariners

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Peter Croce (author), LSIS Bradley Darvill (photographer)

Location(s): Rockingham, Western Australia

(L-R) Seaman Acoustic Warfare Analyst Submarines Lewis Kane; Able Seaman Marine Technician Submarines Joshua Van der Heyden; Seaman Electronics Warfare Analyst Submarines Brendan Kempster; Seaman Marine Technician Submarines Ethan Ollington; and, Able Seaman Communication and Information Systems Submarines Meghan Garcia, at the completion of the Submarine Qualification Course Ceremony outside the Submarine Training and Systems Centre, HMAS Stirling. (photo: LSIS Bradley Darvill)
(L-R) Seaman Acoustic Warfare Analyst Submarines Lewis Kane; Able Seaman Marine Technician Submarines Joshua Van der Heyden; Seaman Electronics Warfare Analyst Submarines Brendan Kempster; Seaman Marine Technician Submarines Ethan Ollington; and, Able Seaman Communication and Information Systems Submarines Meghan Garcia, at the completion of the Submarine Qualification Course Ceremony outside the Submarine Training and Systems Centre, HMAS Stirling.

Five sailors can add the 'submarines' title to their rate badge after graduating from the Submarine Qualification Course at HMAS Stirling, Western Australia on 6 May.

The sailors have spent six months at the Submarine Training and Systems Centre for a complex course testing basic knowledge of the Collins class submarine and its systems, specific category training, pressurised submarine escape training and a seagoing qualification element onboard a submarine. 

The group will add Communicator, Acoustic Warfare Analyst, Marine Technician, Electronic Warfare capabilities onboard the six submarines.

It was a life-changing moment for Able Seaman Communication and Information Systems – Submarines Meghan Garcia, who said it was something she has wanted do since she walked into Defence Force Recruiting in 2012. 

“I was 20 years old in the recruiting office, read the trade outline and thought ‘I’d like to do that’,” she said. 

“There was nothing specific about submarines that got my interest but reading about the submarine simulator and seeing how cool it was made me pretty excited about that side of the Navy.”

From Essendon in Victoria, she progressed through training at Recruit School in HMAS Cerberus in 2013 before heading west for specialised training. 

“It’s definitely the career I want and dad is so proud – he flew in to see me awarded my dolphins.” 

Seaman Acoustic Warfare Analyst - Submarines Lewis Kaine, from Tasmania had always wanted to join the military and was keen on subsurface operations. 

“I was always confident of passing but I knew it was a complex course especially the underwater escape training – that was unique,” Seaman Kaine said. 

“Being inside a tube with water all around you and rocketing to the top of the tower to simulate escape from a submarine was a pretty cool thing to do. 

“It gives me confidence that our training is thorough, it works and the Navy really values the safety of its people.”

He said he was attracted to Acoustic Warfare because of its key role on the bridge of the boat.

“I am looking forward to my first posting and I am sure it will bring some awesome experiences that I will keep for a lifetime.”

Deputy Commander Submarine Force Commander Matthew Hoffman awarded the sailors their cherished dolphins with family, friends and future colleagues in attendance.