Officers' Training School Graduation – 06/21, RAAF Base, Point Cook, VIC
I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Boon wurrung peoples of the Kulin Nation and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.
Linda and I are delighted to be on the RAAF Base Point Cook Parade Ground for this significant and celebratory occasion.
Significant – because today the Junior Officers on parade will graduate and progress to serving their nation as Officers in the Royal Australian Air Force.
Significant – because RAAF Base Point Cook is the birthplace of the RAAF.
Significant – because 2021 is the Centenary of the RAAF. For 100 years during times of war, including recent conflicts, and in peace time the RAAF has demonstrated its capability, adaptability and reliability in helping to keep us safe and preserving our national interests both here and overseas.
Today is a celebration – graduates of Course 06/21 have worked hard. Today, we see the product of that hard work. To the graduates: you’ve every right to be proud of your achievement.
As Commander-in-Chief of the ADF, I congratulate all on parade, particularly the graduates of 06/21.
I also thank the families of those graduating, whether here in-person or watching online. Your support has been key to the success and achievement being celebrated today.
In preparing for today I read a Summary Brief of what the Junior Officers have been doing these past 16-17 weeks and how well they have meshed as a cohort.
In addition to technical proficiency, the Course fosters the formation of life-long mateship and memorable moments through shared hardship and humour.
Unsurprisingly, I learned that there was no shortage of humour, particularly early in the course, and that the bonds formed were immediately obvious to the Course Director and Course Senior Non-Commissioned Officer. To the graduates: value these friendships and bonds. They will serve you well in your career.
The skills you have acquired, as well as your learnings, have prepared you for leadership. Twenty-three of you are no strangers to leadership roles but now more will be expected of you.
As Junior Officer, the demands placed upon you in the future will be heavy. They will require you to demonstrate sound leadership skills and strength of character.
There will be some tough days. No doubt there have already been some bumps in the road, some anxious moments and trying times.
Yet you overcame them. Never lose sight of that.
As commissioned officers, either next year or the year after, you will be in command of Australians as they serve their country in military uniform.
They will look to you. And you will lead them. It is one of the greatest privileges you will experience.
I congratulate the staff and instructors on developing a series of modules focusing on what it means to be Air Force working in the Joint environment and understanding the newer elements of Air Power such as Space and Cyber.
We are now in a very complex era of competing national interests across a wide range of global issues in which international Defence forces will have an important role to play.
I want to leave you with a quote from a friend of mine, General Jim Mattis, retired Marine, from his latest book.
‘They (the people you lead) expect you to have done your homework, to have mastered your profession.’
Why? Because they will place their lives, their wellbeing and their professional success in your hands. This is a tremendous, weighty responsibility but I am confident that your education and training here at Officers’ Training School will have prepared you well.
To the families and friends gathered here today or watching online – thank you for your unwavering support of your loved ones. Your encouragement and counsel cannot be understated; it is critical to the ongoing health and welfare of ADF members.
Finally, to the men and women of Course 06/21...
Congratulations. Enjoy this moment with colleagues and family.
Celebrate your achievement.
Strive always to do better for yourself, your family and your nation.