RAN gets first female senior sailor

Warrant Officer Deb Butterworth has been appointed to the role of Warrant Officer of the Royal Australian Navy.

CAPTION: Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan prepares to present Warrant Officer Deb Butterworth with her promotion certificate as the newly appointed Warrant Officer of the Royal Australian Navy, at Russell Offices. Photo by Able Seaman James McDougall.

Warrant Officer Butterworth is the first female appointed to this role and only the ninth person to hold this office since its inception in 1993.

Warrant Officer of the Navy is the Navy’s most senior sailor and the senior enlisted advisor to the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mike Noonan, and his Senior Leadership Group.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said Warrant Officer Butterworth’s appointment was reflective of her outstanding career achievements to date, and exemplified the depth and diversity of leadership across the Australian Defence Force.

“I congratulate Warrant Officer Butterworth on her appointment,” Minister Reynolds said.

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“I also sincerely thank the outgoing Warrant Officer of the Navy, Gary Wight, for his dedication, care and strong advocacy in representing the views and concerns of sailors throughout his career, and particularly so over the past three years.”

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BIOGRAPHY:

Warrant Officer of the Navy Deb Butterworth. Photo by Leading Seaman James McDougall.
Warrant Officer of the Navy Deb Butterworth. Photo by Leading Seaman James McDougall.

Deb Butterworth was born in Lilydale, Victoria, and for the first 10 years of her life she travelled extensively. She then settled into school life in Perth, Western Australia.

She enlisted into the Royal Australian Navy as a stores naval sailor in 1989, and served on HMA Ships Jervis Bay (I), Success, Sydney, Manoora, Newcastle, and a short time in Parramatta (IV).

In 2003 and 2005, then Chief Petty Officer Butterworth deployed in HMAS Newcastle on Operation Catalyst, the Australian assistance to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraq.

She was awarded a Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM) in 2006 in recognition of her service in Newcastle.

Promoted to Warrant Officer in July 2007, she returned to Western Australia to take up the role of logistic services manager in Joint Logistic Unit (West).

In 2009, WO Butterworth joined the Sea Training Group Major Fleet Units. The role of this group is to facilitate collective training and conduct unit-level assessment of RAN fleet units.

WO Butterworth was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for meritorious service to the Royal Australian Navy in the field of logistics management in 2012.

WO Butterworth assumed the role of the Ship’s Warrant Officer in HMAS Success in December 2011.

During her tenure, Success was integral to Operation Southern Indian Ocean, an activity to support the Australian Maritime and Safety Authority to search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, in April 2014.

In 2014 WO Butterworth deployed to the Middle East and upon return to Australia was recognised with a bar to her CSM in recognition of her service in Success.

In July 2017 WO Butterworth was appointed to the role of Command Warrant Officer Training Force until July 2019, where she guided a team to create the Mariner Development Program to continue to develop mariners and warfighters while undertaking specialist employment training.

WO Butterworth holds a Master of Military and Defence Studies.

On 22 November 2019 WO Butterworth was appointed as the Royal Australian Navy’s ninth Warrant Officer of the Navy.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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