For the first time in more than 12 months, family and friends of Navy recruits were able to attend a graduation parade in person at HMAS Cerberus.
CAPTION: Members of General Entry 388 Emms Division standing at ease during their graduation parade at the Navy Recruit School at HMAS Cerberus, Victoria, with family and friends in the background. Story by Lieutenant Ben Willee. Photo by Leading Seaman Bonny Gassner.
The 128 sailors in General Entry Class 388 Emms Division graduated on April 30 after completing their 11-week initial training.
Emms Division is named in honour of Leading Seaman Francis Bassett ‘Dick’ Emms, who was posthumously mentioned in dispatches for courage and devotion to duty in HMAS Kara Kara during an air raid on Darwin on February 19, 1942.
Among the graduates was Seaman Harrison Hele who was inspired to join the navy by his grandfather, Leading Seaman Doug Sparshott, who served in HMA Ships Voyager, Stuart, and Sydney, which are some of the ships Leading Seaman Emms served in.
“I’m very emotional and pleased that my parents and grandparents could be here to celebrate after a challenging 11 weeks,” Seaman Hele said.
“It makes the celebration more special – especially since grandad was a recruit here back in the ’60s.
“I now understand so much more about his life.”
Commanding Officer Recruit School Commander Cindy Jenkins welcomed family and friends to the parade and praised the training staff.
“Naval service demands a lot of its people and we rely heavily on our family and friends,” Commander Jenkins said.
The graduating sailors started their training in February during a snap five-day lockdown in Victoria put in place because of COVID-19, so the staff at Recruit School began their instruction remotely.
For some recruits, this meant drill lessons in their bedrooms.
When the lockdown ended, the recruits travelled to Victoria for face-to-face training.
“To all the families and friends who are here, or watching from home, thank you for your support and encouragement on their journey so far, and welcome to the Navy family,” Commander Jenkins said.