Bravery on the battlefield commended – Anzac Day

This Anzac Day was memorable for Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Gavin Stevens, who marched donning his Medal for Gallantry for the first time.

CAPTIONChief Petty Officer Gavin Stevens has received a Medal of Gallantry for helping to defuse a 200kg bomb in Iraq in 2003. Story by Lieutenant Madelyn Hanna. Photo by Leading Seaman Abdus Chowdhury.

Despite the prestigious honour, he humbly said it all came down to mateship.

Expressing an interest in diving at a young age, a 19-year-old CPO Stevens joined the Navy and began his career as a clearance diver.

On April 24, 2003, after many years of training to defuse a bomb, a real-life opportunity presented itself to him in a command capacity.

“We were conducting what was meant to be a routine patrol in Iraq, but we soon discovered a 200kg bomb,” CPO Stevens said.

“The bomb was armed with acoustic, seismic and magnetic detectors, making any noise or vibration deadly.”

Focusing on the job at hand, he began working on defusing the bomb with his team.

“I told my command I was going to proceed and neutralise it,” CPO Stevens said.

“I was going to place a counter charge close to it to basically blow it up.”

Stripping his equipment down to the basics, he remained calm, remembering his training, and disposed of the bomb in under an hour of discovering it – earning him the Medal for Gallantry.

“I’m extremely honoured and humbled to receive this award. I would like to extend my appreciation to all members of Clearance Diving Team Three 2003 and, in particular, those who were on patrol that day,” CPO Stevens said.

“I am proud to have served as a Navy clearance diver and acknowledge the service of all past and present members of the Navy.”

Deputy Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley commended CPO Stevens on his selfless service.

“On behalf of the men and women of the Navy, we are immensely proud of the actions of CPO Gavin Stevens,” Rear Admiral Earley said.

“His selfless courage in the service of our nation has assured the safety of others, and is an example of the wonderful Australians we have serving in our Navy.”

On May 22, CPO Stevens will officially receive his award by the Governor of New South Wales at his investiture ceremony.





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