From junior recruit to senior health officer in Navy’s largest ship

At the age of 15, junior recruit Wes Truscott had no idea he would become the Senior Health Officer on board the largest vessel in the Royal Australian Navy.

CAPTION: Lieutenant Commander Wesley Truscott in the sick bay on board HMAS Canberra. Story by Lieutenant Nancy Cotton. Photo by Leading Seaman Matthew Lyall.

Starting his career at HMAS Leeuwin, he said his interest in medicine resulted in being categorised into the medical branch, where his passion grew.

“I served for 20 years both at sea and ashore. I loved my time in the Navy, particularly in my field of work, but I felt it was time to branch out and diversify,” Lieutenant Commander Truscott said.

“As Navy medics we do a Bachelor in Health Science, which opened doors in the corporate health world, so I spent time working as the director of two Victorian hospitals.”

With a calling back to uniform, LCDR Truscott decided to re-engage with Navy and, in 2017, returned as an officer through the Reserve Entry Officer Course.

“The way the service categorisations work, members have greater employment flexibility, but rather than remaining a reservist I decided to come back in full time,” LCDR Truscott said.

He served as second in charge at HMAS Stirling’s Health Centre, Health Centre Manager at HMAS Cerberus and Director of Navy Health, overseeing the health capability of the fleet.

LCDR Truscott now has the responsibility of the primary casualty reception facility on board HMAS Canberra.

“When I left Navy I had a lot to take to the corporate world,” he said. “I gained a greater understanding of how the world sees health from a clinical and management perspective, but coming back to Navy I can see both parallels.

“My job now is predominantly a leadership role. I ensure the health centre on board is functioning as it should to meet the whole-ship capability.

“Undertaking appointments, administering vaccinations, as well as running sick parade, being an LHD [landing helicopter dock] we also have a larger medical capability that can stand up if needed.”

Canberra has just participated in a regional presence deployment comprising Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) and Operation Render Safe.

Canberra’s hospital had a large involvement in both RIMPAC and Render Safe. It was great to see our medical team working interchangeably with international partners through so many training scenarios,” LCDR Truscott said.

“I am loving my time again in Navy. Deployments like this only confirm that coming back was the right decision, and the Total Workforce System means – as our lives and priorities change – we can move between the categories, but for now I am permanent and happily in the thick of it all.”





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