A rewarding career leads to appointment as ninth Warrant Officer of the Navy

Published on LEUT Dave Devlin (author), LSIS James McDougall (photographer)

Location(s): Canberra, ACT

Topic(s): Leadership

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, presents Warrant Officer Deb Butterworth, OAM, CSM and Bar, with her promotion certificate as the newly appointed Warrant Officer of the Navy during a ceremony held at Russell Offices, Canberra. (photo: ABIS James McDougall)
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, presents Warrant Officer Deb Butterworth, OAM, CSM and Bar, with her promotion certificate as the newly appointed Warrant Officer of the Navy during a ceremony held at Russell Offices, Canberra.

“Wanting to be challenged and seeking adventure” were the main reasons a young woman from Lilydale in Victoria decided to join the Royal Australian Navy back in 1989.

Roll forward 30 years, and with many achievement’s and experiences to her credit, Warrant Officer of the Navy (WO-N) Deb Butterworth has assumed the role as Navy’s most senior enlisted advisor to the Chief of Navy, joining his Senior Leadership Group.

“I am really excited to take up this significant role at a time where growing our Navy workforce to meet our future capabilities is our highest priority,” WO-N Butterworth said.

“My ideas and contributions will be informed by close connections to the needs and wants of our sailors.

“I have a responsibility to provide authentic, transparent communications.

“Our continued success is a collaborative one, where together we continue to execute the plans and initiatives important to our Navy’s future successes.

“I believe the defining character of our Navy’s ability to fight and win at sea is the quality of our sailors: their warfighting spirit, conviction and ability,” she said.

Having seen many changes since she first joined the Navy, WO-N Butterworth said that as a learning organisation, Navy must continue to grow and evolve, with technology being the biggest and most constant factor.

“Changes in technology allows us to perform tasks differently, but what hasn’t changed is that we are stewards of standards in our organisation - what we do has a strategic effect.

“Our workforce is educated, well trained and has transferable skills - reflective of all the diversity that our Australian society offers.

“Communication is key if we are to retain these amazing members, asking them to be prepared to think differently,” WO-N Butterworth said.

Outgoing Warrant Officer of the Navy, Warrant Officer Gary Wight, right, with newly appointed Warrant Officer of the Navy, Warrant Officer Deb Butterworth, OAM, CSM and Bar, during a ceremony held at Russell Offices, Canberra.

Outgoing Warrant Officer of the Navy, Warrant Officer Gary Wight, right, with newly appointed Warrant Officer of the Navy, Warrant Officer Deb Butterworth, OAM, CSM and Bar, during a ceremony held at Russell Offices, Canberra.

In a small but significant ceremony, the Chief of Navy (CN) Vice Admiral Mike Noonan applauded her career milestones to date, whilst welcoming WO-N Butterworth to the role.

“It is an exciting time to welcome Deb into the role of Warrant Officer of the Navy, as we continue to grow in a dynamic and evolving environment.

“Deb’s significant experience will provide me, my senior leadership team and our workforce with innovative ideas, a fresh perspective and the passion to support our people as we work to achieve our 2022 Headmark,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

CN also thanked the outgoing WO-N, Warrant Officer Gary Wight, for his tireless efforts and dedication over the past three years.

“Gary has made an exceptional contribution to the Navy as Warrant Officer of the Navy, and I thank him for his leadership over the last three years.

“His tireless efforts have contributed to Navy’s tremendous retention record.

“He has made a positive impact on our culture, and because of his investment in our people at all levels, our Sailors are feeling more valued and engaged within the organisation.

“I wish Gary and his family every success for the future,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

WO-N Butterworth is the first female appointed to the role and becomes the ninth Warrant Officer of the Navy since the inception of the role in 1993.

Read WO-N Butterworth’s biography at https://www.navy.gov.au/biography/warrant-officer-deb-butterworth.