Officers course with an international flavour

The New Entry Officers Course 67 (NEOC 67) attracted seven international students from the navies of the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Tonga and Vanuatu Police Force.

CAPTION: Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond takes a selfie with members of New Entry Officers Course 67. Story by Lieutenant Carolyn Martin. Photo by Leading Seaman Ryan Tascas.

Lieutenant (junior grade) Dionne Mae Umalla, from the Philippine Navy, was told if you want to travel the world, join the navy.

On course, Lieutenant Umalla enjoyed weapons training, working with advanced equipment such as the F88 Austeyr assault rifle, and training at the School of Survivability and Ship Safety.

The biggest challenges included the weather and communication (as English is not her first language) However, Lieutenant Umalla said the leadership practical exercises were a highlight.

“Though some of the experiences were not great – for example fatigue, and the ticks – the exercises developed our leadership, discipline, teamwork and resilience.

“For a foreign student like me, who struggles with communication in English, I am grateful for such experiences as they helped me improve my leadership and social skills.”

Lieutenant Umalla was looking forward to returning home to Ilocos Sur, in the Philippines, to continue her surface warfare officer training and, one day, achieving her dream of captaining a ship.

Like Lieutenant Umalla, Midshipman Jaclyn Bullock joined the navy for the travel, among other reasons.

Midshipman Bullock, from Perth, completed the Sailor Gap Year program last year and set herself some targets, hoping to do some travel, help people and find a sense of purpose.

“Within nine months I’d done all of those things,” Midshipman Bullock said.

Her gap year experience inspired her to undertake officer training at HMAS Creswell.

The highlight of training for her at the Royal Australian Naval College was meeting and building bonds with her fellow trainee officers.

“I’ve learnt that even when you think you’re ready to give up and you have nothing left, you can always find a way to push yourself that little bit further,” she said.

Midshipman Bullock will become a maritime human resources officer.





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