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June 23, 2011
By Michael Brooke
FORMER Chief of Navy VADM
Russ Crane attended the graduation
for Basic Clearance Divers Course
(BCDC) 77 at HMAS Penguin on
June 3, giving him the opportunity to
reflect on his humble beginnings in
the RAN and his own BCDC gradu-
ation in 1977.
VADM Crane was jovial as he
recalled his clearance diving officer
graduation ceremony some 34 years
earlier, which marked a significant
milestone in his illustrious career
spanning 41 years.
"As a younger man, all too long
ago, I completed the course here at
Penguin and I can say that as I look
back on that moment it was a defining
moment in my career," he said.
The significance of the presence
of a veteran clearance diver who,
from humble beginnings, steadily rose
through the ranks to the position of
Chief of Navy, was not lost on the 14
young BCDC graduates.
VADM Crane's speech helped the
new divers appreciate that through
hard work and dedication to duty they,
too, could scale the dizzy heights of
The former CN, who spent a sig-
nificant part of his career as a diver,
said clearance divers enjoyed a well-
deserved international reputation for
being able to get the job done.
"It takes a particular kind of cour-
age and motivation to time and time
again pull on the wetsuit to do a dirty,
dangerous and lonely job that many
other people would not do," he said.
The 14 new divers had the dis-
tinction of being awarded with their
course certificates by VADM Crane,
who said they "had done an outstand-
ing job in graduating from one of the
most challenging courses which our
Navy can put you through".
The graduation was particu-
larly memorable for SMNCD Kevin
McEwan, who was awarded the J.N.
Ingram Memorial Shield for the most
outstanding student, as well as the
SMNCD McEwan, 25, said his
individual achievement would not have
been possible without the support of
"It's nice recognition but what I'm
really focused on is my contribution
to the team effort and the outcomes
expected of us," he said.
SMNCD McEwan, who has since
Tough work for tough sailors
Newest clearance divers
graduate at HMAS Penguin
joined AUSTCDT Four, said he was
inspired to join the Navy by his father,
who served as a writer for 25 years. He
is one of 10 graduates who hail from
Another award winner was
SMNCD Lachlan Flannery, who
received the Bill Fitzgerald "Gutz"
prize for the Best Performer at
The OIC of RAN Dive School,
LCDR Russ Crawford, praised the
graduates for their dedication and the
staff for their mentoring, which ena-
bled the students to reach such a high
LCDR Crawford said the 14 gradu-
ates had been under constant instruc-
tion with countless assessments over
the past nine months, during which
time they demonstrated the skills nec-
essary to operate as clearance divers in
The course covered basic demoli-
tions, deep air, tools, maritime tac-
tical operations, mine counter-meas-
ures, ship-borne improvised explosive
device disposal, explosive ordnance
disposal and demolitions.
JOB WELL DONE: Former CN VADM Russ Crane presents SMNCD
Kevin McEwan with his graduating certificate as Bill Fitzgerald, a mem-
ber of the first RAN clearance diving course in 1955, looks on. SMNCD
McEwan received the J.N. Ingram Memorial Shield for the most out-
standing student, as well as the Warfare Medallion.
Photo: ABIS Dove Smithett
SMNCD Lachlan Flannery
SMNCD Kevin McEwan
SMNCD Eli Deloraine
ABCD Jared Buckingham
SMNCD Thomas Godfrey
SMNCD Dominic Blond
SMNCD Mitchell Sharpe
SMNCD Steven Body
SMNCD Carl Keighran
SMNCD Jon Beckton
SMNCD Nicholas Watters
SMNCD David Starr
SMNCD Matthew Webb
ABCD Richard Simpson
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