Warfare officers graduate

This article has photo gallery Published on Department of Defence (author), POIS Yuri Ramsey (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Watson

Topic(s): HMAS Watson, Graduation, Training Authority - Maritime Warfare

Principle Warfare Officer Course 53 graduating class photo at HMAS Watson. (photo: POIS Yuri Ramsey)
Principle Warfare Officer Course 53 graduating class photo at HMAS Watson.

It was a red-letter day at HMAS Watson on 2 May, with one half of the first married couple to graduate from the same Principal Warfare Officers Course also being awarded overall dux. 

Lieutenant Sarah Rhys-Jones, a surface warfare graduate, was awarded overall dux of Principal Warfare Officers’ Course 53, receiving the coveted Sydney-Emden Prize. 

In an exceptional day for Lieutenant Rhys-Jones, she was also awarded the Naval Warfare Officers Certificate for achieving the highest marks in theory and the CEA Prize for dux of the systems technology phase of the course. 

She graduated alongside her husband Lieutenant Michael Rhys-Jones, a navigation specialist. 

At the graduation dinner that evening Lieutenant Michael Rhys-Jones spoke of the strong bond that had developed between the candidates over the life of the course and how that bond would endure as they returned to the Fleet to put into practice the skills they had developed.
“The class will look back at their time on course as one that tested and pushed them to new limits, but through perseverance and teamwork they accomplished what only 549 Australian officers had done before,” he said. 

After 12 months of intense instruction, followed by rigorous theoretical and practical assessments, the 29 newly badged specialists are ready for the challenges that lie ahead. 

The Navy’s premier warfare course is separated into three phases. Students undertake basic warfare theory and practical exercises before separating into individual specialisations to gain a deeper level of warfare expertise in their individual disciplines. 

The final phase of the training focuses on maritime task group and joint warfare, culminating in one of the largest simulated exercises that the Navy conducts, drawing upon expertise from across all three services. 

Officer in Charge School of Maritime Warfare Lieutenant Commander Mile Madarac said the course was largest to graduate from the School of Maritime Warfare, would be a welcome addition to the Fleet.
“The School has graduated eight air warfare, 14 surface warfare, five navigation warfare, one mine warfare and one communications information warfare specialists, all of which will have a lasting impact on the Fleet and will be instrumental in Navy realising the Navy Warfighting Strategy and Plan Mercator,” he said.
Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer acknowledged the contribution family and friends had made over the length of the course and the sacrifices they had endured to support their partners and friends in achieving their goals.
The graduating warfare officers will now proceed onto combat system courses before posting to ships and shore establishments across the country to consolidate their training.