ACT News

Cosgrove a constant at ADFA and Duntroon graduations

It was a case of deja vu all over again for Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove when he presided at the Australian Defence Force Academy's graduation ceremony on Thursday.

He had also done the honours at the Royal Military College, Duntroon's, final graduation ceremony for the year on Tuesday.

Celebration: Officer cadets after graduating from the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra.
Celebration: Officer cadets after graduating from the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Duntroon is a special place for the Military Cross recipient and former chief of the defence force who graduated from the college 46 years ago before being sent to Vietnam.

While he does not have the same personal connection with ADFA, which only came into being almost halfway through his military career, General Cosgrove has long been an advocate of the spirit of inter-service co-operation it was established to foster.

Memorable moment: Graduate Air Force Officer Cadet Joshua McNickle hugs from his mother Vicki Collins.
Memorable moment: Graduate Air Force Officer Cadet Joshua McNickle hugs from his mother Vicki Collins. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

He returned to this theme during his address to the 220 graduating officer cadets and midshipmen on Thursday.

A former Duntroon commandant, General Cosgrove told the members of the RMC's 140 strong graduating class he, like many of the old soldiers present, would like to be down on the parade ground beginning their military careers all over again.

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Both Duntroon and ADFA recognise their best and brightest with special awards.

Duntroon's sword of honour recipient was Senior Under Officer William Leben. The Queen's Medal was awarded to Under Officer Benjamin Dorland.

Proud moment: Senior Under Officer William Leben, left, receives the Sword of Honour from Governor-General Sir Peter ...
Proud moment: Senior Under Officer William Leben, left, receives the Sword of Honour from Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove. Photo: Grace Costa, Defence Publishing Services

ADFA's Commander in Chief Medal was awarded to Officer Cadet Mitchell Apted for achievement, leadership and performance of duty.

The Chief of Defence Force sword of honour for leadership was awarded to Officer Cadet Jacob Pratten.

The RSL sword of honour was awarded to Officer Cadet Larissa Whitton.

General Cosgrove, whose graduation ceremony was held on December 11, 1968, was Duntroon's commandant from 1996 to 1998.

He was awarded the Military Cross for his actions while commanding 5 Platoon, B Company, 9th Battalion RAR, on October 10 and October 16 and 17, 1969. The then lieutenant and his men launched a series of attacks on enemy bunkers killing or wounding at least six Viet Cong.

Thursday's ADFA graduation was also attended by Defence Minister, Senator David Johnston, Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin, Vice Chief of Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, and the chiefs of navy, army and air force.

ADFA commandant Air Commodore Alan Clements, who took on the role on December 18 last year, said he was very proud of the graduates.

"They will make fine officers, demonstrating courage, respect, integrity and professionalism," he said.

Of the 192 Australian graduates 77 were army, 71 were air force and 44 were navy.

The balance came from Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.