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February 16, 2012
Fifty years of
By Michael Brooke
AFTER half a century of loyal
service in the RAN, CMDR Ralph
MacDonald concedes it is time to
scrape off the barnacles and 'swal-
low the anchor'.
CMDR MacDonald's unique
milestone of 50 years in the Navy
was recently acknowledged by Chief
of Navy VADM Ray Griggs, who
presented him with a commendation
and a clock that symbolised the pas-
sage of time.
CMDR MacDonald, 67, joined
the RAN straight from school in
1962, inspired by his father, who
served in WWII, and the 'call of the
The presentation at HMAS
Watson's wardroom on January 30
provided CMDR MacDonald with
the opportunity to reminisce on his
loyal service and achievements.
CN praised CMDR MacDonald
for his milestone achievement of 50
years in the RAN.
"There is no template for
50 years of service in the RAN,
although I think there might have
been one other in recent times," he
said.VADM Griggs thanked CMDR
MacDonald for his amazing contri-
bution to the RAN -- "particularly in
regards to Navy synthetic training
which I believe is your legacy.
"Most people probably don't
appreciate the training outcomes you
achieved but you blazed a trail for us
in the field of simulation training."
CMDR MacDonald joined as
a sailor in 1962 and served in the
Vietnam War and in HMA Ships,
Queenborough, Sydney, Yarra,
Derwent and Melbourne before
being commissioned as an officer in
1974. He then served in HMA Ships
Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart.
CMDR MacDonald told Navy
News he has seen many changes dur-
ing his time in the Navy but none
greater than the professional and
moral growth of the RAN and its
"There have been so many pos-
itive changes in the Navy but the
most significant is the level of edu-
cation and maturity of this genera-
tion of sailors," he said.
CMDR MacDonald said
his advice for young sailors is to
embrace the Navy values of 'hon-
esty' and 'integrity' while striving to
make every posting a winner.
"If you get a difficult or unsa-
voury job, it's to your advantage to
turn it into a good job so that the
Navy benefits and others want to
take over from you," he said.
LOYALTY: Commander Ralph McDonald with a Certificate in Recognition and a commemorative clock
for 50 years of service to the RAN, at HMAS Watson Wardroom, Watsons Bay. Photo: ABIS Dove Smithett
"If you get a difficult or unsavoury job, it's to your advantage to turn it into a good job so that
the Navy benefits and others want to take over from you"
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