Old seaman sets sail

MORE than four decades of military service has come to an end with the retirement of Lieutenant Commander David Baker.

The former officer in charge at the School of Survivability and Ship Safety at Jervis Bay retired from the Royal Australian Navy after 44 years’ service.

LCDR Baker joined the RAN as a 16-year-old junior recruit on April 12, 1970 and was the last permanent navy member with unbroken service from Stevenson Division, the 31st intake at HMAS Leeuwin.

He never imagined the amazing career he would have, travelling the world to numerous exotic locations.

“I’ve been to South-East Asia, South-West Pacific, the Indian Ocean, Hawaii, Africa, India, Antarctica and the Middle East,” he said.

He served on ships such as Yarra, Duchess, Vendetta, Melbourne II, Swan, Torrens, Adelaide and finally Westralia.

LCDR Baker remembers sleeping in hammocks, broadside messing, holystoning wooden decks and carrying a .303 rifle on parade.

LCDR Baker was the first Command Warrant Officer in Fleet Command, a position he was appointed to in 2001. 

He was also the first Naval Command Warrant Officer at Headquarters Joint Operations in 2004, his last position before he was commissioned in 2006.

He said having lunch with the Queen when he was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2005 and being posted as an adviser to the Vanuatu Police Force were among the highlights of his career.

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