Officers get their seal of approval

THE Defence Forces’ top brass were present at Haulbowline naval base yesterday to watch the latest group of young officers being commissioned.

Minister for Defence Tony Killeen, was accompanied to the commissioning ceremony by the Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations) of the Defence Forces, Major General Ralph James, and the Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Commodore Frank Lynch.

Mr Killeen inspected a guard of honour and then watched as five naval cadets, representing counties Cork, Antrim and Galway, were commissioned as sub lieutenants and ensigns.

A message of congratulations was read to them from Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Sean McCann, who said the five had reached an important milestone in their training and could look forward to a rewarding and challenging career safeguarding Ireland’s interests at sea.

Commodore Frank Lynch said naval cadet training is arduous and demanding and is “designed to produce technically proficient officers who have the capability to provide effective leadership on the high seas.”

Cadets Mark Harman (Bandon), Glenn Landy (Belfast), Helen Meredith (Douglas), Cork, Michael McCarthy (Cobh) and Jason O’Brien, (Connemara) have now completed the first two years of their intensive training programme.

Their training and education has included periods at the Military College in the Curragh Camp, the Naval College in Haulbowline and the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) in Ringaskiddy in Cork.

Following some well-earned leave, they will return to the NMCI to commence another academic year.

This year will include spending time at sea on naval and merchant ships, gaining vital experience and putting into practice what they have learned in the classroom.

The five will then graduate with a BSc Degree in Nautical Studies in the autumn of 2012 when they will take up their first posting as fully qualified seagoing officers.

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