Spotlight On Outstanding Sailors

Department of Defence

Eight standout sailors have been recognised in Navy's inaugural Sailor of the Year program.

The initiative celebrates high-achieving sailors whose daily actions, dedication and team spirit have made a positive contribution to the sustainable readiness of the Navy.

Head of the program Warrant Officer of the Navy Andrew Bertoncin said it was pertinent to recognise those who have contributed to the Navy family.

"The Sailor of the Year program is important because this current serving generation of sailors is the next leading generation of sailors and they need to feel part of the solutions that are going to drive our great Navy to meet the challenges of the future," Warrant Officer Bertoncin said.

During the busy one-week program, the finalists travelled to Canberra and Sydney to engage with senior Navy leaders, including Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond, Deputy Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley and Head of Navy Capability Rear Admiral Stephen Hughes.

The sailors also visited Parliament House where they met Defence Minister Richard Marles and Defence Personnel Minister Matt Keogh.

Other activities included attending a Last Post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial, participating in a First Nations walk on country and taking part in a day of adventure training.

Throughout the year the sailors will also undertake a number of leadership and career opportunities, including forming a Sailor Advisory Council, providing their views on contemporary service issues.

Sailor of the Year finalists

Able Seaman Jarod Brown: Joined six years ago and is currently serving as a boatswain's mate on ADV Cape Inscription. He is recognised for his dedication to service, exemplifying the Navy's commitment to excellence.

Petty Officer Eliza Buzza: Joined in 2011 as a communication and information systems sailor and has served on board various ships, including HMA Ships Warramunga, Arunta and Ballarat. Her current role as the fleet information environment manager at Ballarat reflects her dedication to maintaining operational readiness.

Petty Officer Christine Cave: With 12 years of service in the Navy intelligence field, Petty Officer Cave has deployed on various ships, including HMA Ships Newcastle, Melbourne and Parramatta. Her current role as the assistant Navy intelligence sailor workgroup planner at the Navy Employment Category Development Branch reflects her invaluable contributions to Navy operations.

Leading Seaman David Cox: With 16 years of service, Leading Seaman Cox has served in diverse roles, including on board the tugboat Wallaroo and as part of the boarding party on Operation Manitou. As an imagery specialist at Navy Imagery Unit East, his photography skills capture the essence of Navy's mission and operations.

Leading Seaman Amy Meesinchai: Joining in 2017 as a gap year sailor, Leading Seaman Meesinchai transferred to the naval police coxswain category after gaining experience in maritime logistics - personnel. Her deployments on Operations Manitou and Accordion highlight her dedication to service and her ability to adapt to new challenges.

Leading Seaman William Rose: With nearly eight years of service, Leading Seaman Rose has served on several ships, including HMAS Choules, Supply, Canberra and Adelaide. His commendable service during the mass evacuation of Mallacoota in 2020 exemplifies his commitment to serving his country and fellow Australians.

Able Seaman Georgia Spulnik-Ross: Joining in 2020, Able Seaman Spulnik-Ross currently serves as an aircraft maintenance technician at 808 Squadron, HMAS Albatross. Her dedication and hard work reflects her commitment to Navy's mission, contributing to the operational success of her unit.

Able Seaman Jack Stratton: Enlisting in 2020, Able Seaman Stratton completed the Basic Clearance Diver Course in 2022. His work with the Underwater Damage Repair Unit at Australian Clearance Diving Team One displays his dedication to maintaining and enhancing Defence assets and infrastructure.

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