Warrant Officer of the Navy (WO-N) Deb Butterworth has formally handed over to Warrant Officer Andrew Bertoncin during a ceremony held at Russell Offices in Canberra.
CAPTION: Warrant Officer of the Navy Deb Butterworth, centre, receives her promotion to commander from the Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond, right, accompanied by her partner Tracy. Story by Sub-Lieutenant Tahlia Merigan. Photo by Petty Officer Bradley Darvill.
Originally from Lilydale in Victoria, WO-N Butterworth joined the Navy in 1989.
“I have often said I’m the “accidental WO-N”. I feel so privileged to have been able to represent people across all ranks regarding the things that can make a difference to them,” WO-N Butterworth said.
WO-N Butterworth assumed duties as the ninth and first female appointed to the position in 2019, and soon after, the Navy was faced with significant increased demands across domestic operations.
“The Navy had to pivot pretty quickly in a time where our nation needed us at home on a number of fronts with COVID-19 Assist, Aged Care Assist, Tonga Assist and Flood Assist,” she said.
“I’m so proud of what was achieved while maintaining our core business of regional deployments and border protection as well.
“The people I have served and served alongside are my primary motivation. It’s been an honour to represent their issues and ideas as part of the leadership team.”
Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond said WO-N Butterworth fulfilled her responsibilities to the highest level.
“During a period change and increased tempo for the Navy, the voice of the WO-N was critical for our workforce,” Vice Admiral Hammond said.
“The advice and support provided to my predecessor and our senior leadership team by WO-N Butterworth was invaluable as together we sailed uncharted waters.
“You have set the benchmark and I am proud to have served alongside you.”
One of the most unique duties WO-N Butterworth undertook was representing Australia as the most senior non-commissioned officer for Operation London Bridge, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, in a ceremony not performed for 70 years.
“It was the most humbling honour to be involved in the Queen’s funeral procession along with so many mourners gathered ten deep lining the streets in complete respectable silence – a surreal experience,” WO-N Butterworth said.
After 33 years in Navy, WO-N Butterworth has been promoted to commander and will continue to serve Navy.
WO-N Butterworth has a history of outstanding service, recognised by a Conspicuous Service Medal in 1996 in recognition of her service in HMAS Newcastle during Operation Catalyst in the Middle East.
She was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2012 and a bar to her Conspicuous Service Medal in 2014, for her time on HMAS Success in the Middle East again and in the search for Malaysian Airline Flight 370 in the Southern Ocean.