The following is the speech at New Entry Officers Course graduation by Rear Admiral Lee Goddard.
Good morning CAPT Bairstow, CMDR Shirvington, Royal Australian Naval College Staff and HMAS Creswell. Good morning also to the Men and Women of NEOC 63 and thank you for having me here today. Jervis Bay, the College and all on parade look magnificent.
I have reviewed many Graduations throughout my career but never one under the circumstances we are facing today. Uncertain times indeed; Our Nation, Communities, and Families are all playing their part to battle COVID-19 as we are also doing today. I understand that many of you will be disappointed that your families and friends cannot be here today to share in this pivotal career milestone. That said they will be able to watch this parade and still experience the pride, joy and excitement albeit from afar. I want to take this opportunity to both welcome and thank your families and friends for the support they have provided you over the 19 weeks, enabling you to graduate here today.
The Navy is a family. While uniformed members make up a significant component of that family, the love, support and guidance provided by each of your families and friends have and will continue to spur you on throughout your career. Importantly as we welcome you into the broader fleet, we also welcome your families into the wider Navy and Australian Defence Family.
We are making history today, Graduating amidst the challenges of the current global pandemic and geostrategic shifts while notable will not define this NEOC class. You are one of the largest graduating classes in the history of the Royal Australian Naval College, and combined with NEOC 62 you represent the highest number of graduates in any single year. I congratulate you all as well as the College staff for that impressive milestone.
One hundred fifty-four individuals coming together to form a remarkable team of Naval Officers here on parade today. I always find it remarkable that so many diverse individuals from all walks of life, professions and backgrounds can come together through the bonds of service. You will forever be a part of NEOC 63, and your classmates will forever be a part of your service story.
Make no mistake NEOC 63; you have joined the Navy at an exciting time. Our Navy is the largest it has been since the early ’90s, and we are growing further. Our Navy will be more capable, more professional and more lethal than it has ever been, and it is your story to write. Future platforms such as the Attack Class Submarines, the Hunter Class Frigates, and the Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels will be yours to crew, sustain, operate and, for a fortunate few, to Command.
You will be the Officers that lead us forward — safeguarding Australia and her interests now and well into the future. Being agile and adaptive as the environment, technologies and threats rapidly change around us.
You are the future Heads of Departments, Executive Officers, Commanding Officers and Admirals of our Ships, Aircraft, Submarines, Establishments, and Head Quarters.
Today marks the end of 19 weeks of hard work but only the beginning of a lifetime of challenges, sacrifices and achievements. I am jealous – Your career is a gift, work hard at it, cherish it and above all else enjoy it.
You are our newest Officers, our latest Leaders. Charged with the highest honour. To lead the men and women of our Royal Australian Navy as we all strive to fulfil our obligation to our Nation ‘to fight and win at sea’.
Before you graduate, you will now commit to the Defence Values before your peers and your families and friends.
- Now that you have committed to these values, you must uphold them throughout your career in our Navy. Your commitment to them does not end each day when you take your uniform off.
- You must live by these values, on duty and off duty, in uniform and out of it, on-board and ashore. Your shipmates, your Navy and your nation expect nothing less.
You are part of Navy and Navy is part of you. We are a Thinking Navy, a Fighting Navy, an Australian Navy.
Be proud of your achievement today, take a moment and breathe in the sense of accomplishment. But be ready – be ready for the next challenge and the one after that. Remember, today is only the beginning of your story, and it’s your story to write.
On behalf of The Chief of Defence Force, the Chief of Navy and the men and women of the Royal Australian Navy, I congratulate you all on your graduation here today.
I am confident you will both meet and exceed expectations.
Bravo Zulu NEOC 63, and welcome to the family.