Home' Navy News : November 26th 2009 Contents NAVY NEWS
November 26, 2009
By LCDR Antony Underwood
MUCH effort will be directed
towards providing the Navy with
the 'best bang for the buck' from the
The Director-General Reserves --
Navy, CDRE Ranford Elsey, has just
had his appointment extended by 12
And he expects the main focus of
this period will be the NR Capability
Review -- the reserves reform stream
of the Strategic Reform Program.
CDRE Elsey took up the position
of DGRES-N in October 2005 after a
career as a seaman officer stretching
back to November 1969. His career
includes command of five patrol boats
-- three Attack class boats and two of
the Fremantles -- including a period of
continuous full-time service (CFTS) as
CO of HMAS Warrnambool.
CDRE Elsey described his continu-
ation in the role as a great honour and
"But there's lots of work to be
done," he said.
"I believe that we've raised the pro-
file of the Navy Reserve since I was
"In the past three years alone, we've
doubled the commitment of the RANR
to the Navy's capability requirements.
There are more than 550 reservists on
CFTS at present."
CDRE Elsey said the Chief of Navy,
VADM Russ Crane, AM, CSM, RAN,
asked him to concentrate on the rela-
tionship between reservists and their
By SBLT Carolyn Docking
PONPC Norman Absolom found
the perfect balance between family
life and his passion for the Navy
by becoming a reservist.
He said his time in the Permanent
Navy meant he was sometimes far
away from family with gaps as long
as seven months.
PO Absolom lives in
Maroochydore with his wife who
works as a home carer with the eld-
erly and his 16-year-old son who is
still at school.
"With proper planning, you can
still live the military life and enjoy
family life as well," he said.
"Personnel leaving the PN should
seriously consider looking at the
reserve because it has a lot to offer.
"Everyone has different lifestyle
requirements so the reserve can
work really well for people who still
want to serve but have other com-
mitments as well."
PO Absolom said he now tried to
work one month on and one month
off, which meant he worked for six
months of the year.
"I can look at a ship's movements
and maybe go for two months but
then I'll have two months at home.
"That means the ship's happy,
my family's happy and I'm happy."
PO Absolom joined the Huon
class minehunter, HMAS Norman,
late last year and is currently work-
ing with the same crew in HMAS
Huon until December.
"It's working well for me and, so
far, I've been really lucky with this
crew," he said.
"It's a great crew and great com-
The crew of Huon will miss his
effervescent personality when they
gain a permanent coxswain on board
next year, but the ever-smiling PO
hopes to be available during times
of leave or other absences.
His military career started in
1980 with a stint in the Army as a
cook followed by time in the Army
Reserve. He then joined the RAN
PO Absolom said he aimed to do
10 years in each Service but Navy
was where he found his passion and
ultimate career as a naval police
The jovial PO Absolom has
Looking for the best
'bang for the buck' --
for 12 months
always had an interest in policing
but decided a trade would be a bet-
ter option to start with, hence his
career as a cook.
He gained his Chef Trade
Certificate but said his intention was
to always follow a policing career.
"I always wanted to have a polic-
ing role in life and I'm glad I did
it because there have been lots of
opportunities and lots of different
areas to go into such as investiga-
tions, small boats and major fleet
units," he said.
"There is so much variety in this
In his role on board Huon, PO
Absolom acts as the divisional sen-
ior sailor for the supply department,
enforces discipline (although he
described that as minimal because
Huon's crew is so good), transport
officer when alongside, handles
leave, movements, post-ins and post-
outs and provides general advice
to command on the Defence Force
Discipline Act and other coxswain-
PO Absolom started his naval
police coxswain career at Fleet
Headquarters and maintained gen-
eral defence, which involved con-
trolling access points, managing the
CCTV, responding to alarms and
coordinating emergencies like fire
He was fortunate to work at the
Sydney Olympics in 2000 and found
himself based at Randwick.
"I assisted with driving dignitar-
ies around and working concurrently
with the Army," he said.
PO Absolom worked at HMAS
Watson in the shopfront before he
moved on to HMAS Newcastle as a
He was promoted to PO at
HMAS Kuttabul where he worked
as the disciplinary coxswain, then
completed a navigation course and
posted to HMAS Warrnambool.
He discharged for a short time
and joined the reserves, but the lure
of the Navy soon beckoned him
back into permanent service where
he posted to HMAS Norman and
then to FHQ as assistant unit secu-
rity officer. He was later posted to
the Armidale class patrol boats and
paid off in Darwin.
PO Absolom passionately
described his career as "enjoyable".
"Throughout my military career,
it has been exciting, challenging and
I've made many friends along the
way," he said.
We usually see the reserve members of the Queensland Detachment of the RAN Band appearing on parade
grounds, in public plazas or on the concert stage ... but not often performing on the beach. The sand of
Southbank Beach in the heart of Brisbane, however, was the venue for performances by the band on October
24. Fifteen musicians, led by CPOMUS Andrew Stapleton, provided the musical support when the head of Navy
People and Reputation, CDRE David Letts, and Defence Force Recruiting -- Brisbane launched the 2009/10
Navy Australian Rowers League series. The Navy-sponsored series, now in its second year, will see around
2500 rowers from 440 teams compete in all states between now and February 2010. Hundreds of members of
the public watched the ceremony and listened to the music. That night the band appeared at a special maritime
dinner at the United Service Club in Brisbane.
-- Graham Davis
Band hits beach
WELCOME ABOARD: PONPC Norman Absolom aboard HMAS
Huon, his current billet.
Photo: SBLT Carolyn Docking
REAPPOINTED: DGRES-N CDRE
"We'd like employers to consid-
er their reserve member employees
a resource that can be shared with
Navy," he said.
"In a lifelong career, reservists
should be able to move in and out of
full- and part-time service without
"Clearly, for those who are contrib-
uting well to Navy, we want to capital-
ise on the skills they have learned in
civilian life, bring them back into Navy
and recognise these skills.
"We want to concentrate on bring-
ing the civilian corporate expertise into
the Navy, and we also want to encour-
age stand-by reservists to volunteer for
active reserve service."
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