One of Nowra’s favourite sons, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett has formally ended his term as Chief of Navy.
In a handover ceremony at Blamey Square in Canberra, VADM Barrett ended his permanent navy career in style, with an honour guard and fly past in his honour.
Several hundred navy personnel from across the region braved a blustery Canberra morning to attend the ceremony.
VADM Barrett told the gathering, his time as chief has seen significant change to the RAN, thanks to hard work and dedication by navy members.
“The considerable successes that navy has enjoyed during my tenure is due to that important and valuable work undertaken by uniformed and civilian people ashore as much as they are due to the outstanding efforts of our sailors and officers both at sea and ashore, whether permanent or reserve,” he said.
“Our people are more resilient and innovative, and they are getting the job done safely. Our workforce better reflects the diversity of the Australian community, demonstrating a bias for action, and seeking to continuously improve the way we do business.
“And, despite some reports, the vast majority are upholding navy’s values and living navy’s signature behaviours, on duty and off duty, in uniform or out of it, at sea and ashore.”
History will consider Vice Admiral Barrett to be the father of Australia’s 21st century navy. His commitment and dedication has been both extraordinary and selfless, and over the last four years as the Chief of Navy, he has set our navy on a new course.Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mike Noonan
VADM Barrett’s time as CN has indeed been one of significant change.
He has guided the decisions to acquire the offshore patrol vessels, navy’s next generation of replenishment ships, future submarines, and the Hunter Class Frigates along with the associated infrastructure investments.
VADM Barrett has also overseen the introduction into service of the Landing Helicopter Docks Ships, HMAS Canberra and Adelaide, the MH60R Seahawk helicopters, and the first of navy’s new destroyers, HMAS Hobart.
These new capabilities, combined with the navy wide reforms driven by Plan Pelorus, have enabled navy to generate and deploy maritime task groups capable of accomplishing the full spectrum of maritime security operations.
Incoming Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mike Noonan told the gathering, history will consider Vice Admiral Barrett to be ‘the father of Australia’s 21st century navy.’
“His commitment and dedication has been both extraordinary and selfless, and over the last four years as the Chief of Navy, he has set our navy on a new course,” he said.
VADM Noonan told the gathering, he intends to lead a navy which is operationally ready thanks to committed, well trained men and women, capable of deploying nationally, regionally and internationally in support of Australia’s national interests, during uncertain times.
‘To achieve these outcomes we need to think like a Fighting navy, and fight like a thinking navy,” he said.
Following the formal speeches, VADM Barrett’s flag was hauled down and VADM Noonan’s flag raised; a flypast by members of the Fleet Air Arm paying tribute to navy’s most senior aviator as VADM Barrett formally ‘passed the weight’ to his successor.
Finally, it was time for the Barrett family to depart.
They left the parade ground in a 1976 Rolls Royce – made the year VADM Barrett joined the RAN, and hired through contributions made by the many sailors and officers who have had the privilege of working alongside him during his long and successful career.
It wasn’t the only high profile defence departure with a Nowra connection.
Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin also formally handed over the role of Chief of the Defence Force to General Angus Campbell at a ceremony in Canberra on Friday.
Binskin was a former HMAS Albatross pilot before crossing over to join the Royal Australian Air Force.