Officer graduates shine in pandemic

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the Army Reserve’s newest officers have graduated as part of the part-time officer commissioning program.

CAPTION: The Army Reserve’s newest officers graduating at Holsworthy Barracks, Sydney. Story by Captain Jon Stewart. Photo by Sergeant Nunu Campos.

Officer cadets across Australia completed the final training block of the program and formally graduated on November 27 under unique circumstances because of the COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Normally conducted at the Royal Military College – Duntroon, officer cadets from NSW, Victoria and the ACT completed their final training block through the Sydney University Regiment (SUR).

Officer cadets from the remaining states completed their training through the Queensland University Regiment (QUR).

At the conclusion of the final training block, the officer cadets were commissioned in two graduation ceremonies: one at Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney and the other at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

The SUR cohort was formally commissioned by Inspector-General of the ADF Major General Paul Brereton and the QUR cohort was commissioned by the Governor of Queensland, Dr Jeannette Young.

Commanding Officer of the Sydney University Regiment Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas de Bont said the officer cadets demonstrated exceptional resilience to complete their officer training under the unique circumstances.

“COVID-19 travel constraints meant that the final component of the course needed to be agile but still deliver a realistic training environment,” Lieutenant Colonel de Bont said.

“With the support of all University Regiments across Australia, the Army 8th Brigade (Training) and the Royal Military College – Duntroon, the officer cadets will join the ranks of the Australian Army well prepared to deliver strong leadership, continuing to strengthen our future force.”

Commanding Officer of the Queensland University Regiment Lieutenant Colonel Gabrielle Raffin said the graduation ceremonies marked a significant achievement in a junior officer’s career.

“The commissioning ceremony is a major milestone for all Army officers. Despite the changes in this year’s ceremonies, graduates shared an important experience with their fellow officer cadets, friends and families,” Lieutenant Colonel Raffin said.

“Now commissioned as lieutenants, the Army’s newest junior leaders will be posted around Australia, supporting various units in training, domestic operations and international support.”


 
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