The global coronavirus pandemic has increased the use of virtual technology and resulted in the adoption of new and inventive ways of doing things, including the recognition of important career achievements.
Ship's company of HMAS Cerberus has regularly proven their adaptability through COVID-19 restrictions. Recently a number of staff were treated to the very first virtual presentation of honours and awards by Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan via a Zoom presentation.
HMAS Cerberus, often referred to as the ‘Cradle of the Navy’, serves as the primary training establishment for sailors, and recently marked their centenary of service.
A small group of sailors and officers enjoyed the Zoom session under social distancing restrictions from the on-base cinema, where the presentations were made. This included the award of Federation Stars, which recognises significant periods of service to our Navy and the country.
Chief Petty Officer Medical Stephen Dean joined a rare club when he received his third Federation Star acknowledging his 50 years’ of service.
Speaking of this rare achievement, Vice Admiral Noonan said that 50 years of service to the Royal Australian Navy was extraordinary.
“Stephen now joins a small and select group who have earned a third Federation Star in our Navy.
“On behalf of the men and women of our Navy, particularly those who have served with you, I offer my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for your very long and loyal service,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.
Commanding Officer HMAS Cerberus, Captain Michael Oborn, also commented on the event.
“The dedication and professionalism of the staff at Cerberus has been outstanding through a very challenging period.
“We were delighted to be able to welcome Vice Admiral Noonan today and have him included in this very important event recognising some of our great people,” Captain Oborn said.
Lieutenant Commander Peter Arnold received his first Federation Star recognising 40 years' service, and offered some advice to the audience gathered.
“If you have just started out, or are only early in your careers, there is almost nothing better you can do to serve Australia, than by wearing this uniform,” Lieutenant Commander Arnold said.
The presentation concluded with the Chief of Navy taking audience questions, and congratulating the establishment for the support given throughout the recent national bushfire disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst still continuing to develop the future forces for our Navy.
The Cradle of the Navy and home of the sailor currently provides training for all three services with approximately 6000 Navy, Army and Air Force personnel undergoing training annually.