“Value our People” retirement ceremony initiative

Published on MIDN Mairé Starkey (author)

Topic(s): Retirement, Next Generation Navy

Warrant Officer Mark Baker was honoured recently at his formal discharge ceremony. (photo: Unknown)
Warrant Officer Mark Baker was honoured recently at his formal discharge ceremony.

A Next Generation Navy (NGN) initiative to appropriately recognise the service and sacrifice of all Navy personnel and their families has seen the recent approval of formal retirement and discharge ceremonies.

In response to the 2018 Navy Organisational and Cultural review measuring Navy’s culture and climate, NGN identified a greater need to recognise our personnel who honourably complete their service. These ceremonies are in addition to the awarding of the current Bronze, Silver and Gold service medallion.

Project lead, Lieutenant Brendan Burchgart said these new ceremonies will aid in the transition from service in our Defence forces to civilian life.

“This important policy amendment will be a welcome public acknowledgement of our people, and in particular their families and loved ones whose support is crucial to Navy’s mission,” Lieutenant Burchgart said.

“The ceremony will be made available through Commands for members who either retire or honourably discharge, and will focus on the member's service history and accomplishments with acknowledgement of family support.

“Notable supervisors and former shipmates can also play a part in line with the member and their family's wishes,” he said.

Providing advice on the ceremonial aspects of the policy, Warrant Officer Ceremonial - ADF, Warrant Officer Nikolai Rofe said, the aim is to make our departing personnel feel appreciated and valued as they transition away from their Navy family.

Warrant Officer Mark Baker was honoured recently at his formal discharge ceremony.

Warrant Officer Mark Baker was honoured recently at his formal discharge ceremony.

“We owe it to our people to acknowledge their service in Navy which for many there have been some real hardships, grief and even injury alongside their positive experiences,” Warrant Officer Rofe said.

“I consider it an honour to help acknowledge our people and their families and assist their transition in this manner.”

Supporting this initiative is the team at Navy Library who rapidly incorporated the changes into Navy Policy, including a simple and flexible guide to assist and help Commands of discharging personnel, without being overly prescriptive while also ensuring a consistent approach.

Reflecting on his recent retirement ceremony after 25 years service, Warrant Officer Mark Baker said the highlight was the recognition his wife felt after receiving a personal letter of thanks.

“It was a great way to show appreciation to my family for what they have endured throughout my career,” he said.

“My connection with Navy will continue post-retirement with reserve service, while I transition into civilian employment.”