21 August 2012
20120817_PH_M1032159_0039 Ordinary Diver Luke Leadbetter receives the Spenser Tewsley Cup, awarded to the Best All Round Trainee, from Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Tony Parr.
Twenty-four year old Napier local Luke Leadbetter has had international success in the discipline of Mixed Martial Arts, but his graduation as Navy’s Top Recruit is one of the proudest moments of his life.
Ordinary Diver Leadbetter joined the Navy in April with a strong desire to serve his country and make his family proud, especially his grandfather who served in the Army during the Korean War. However it was his strong personal displays of courage, commitment and comradeship throughout training that have seen him take the Navy’s top prize.
"I have always wanted to join the Navy and serve New Zealand," said Leadbetter after he graduated in front of family and friends last Friday.
"After looking at all the jobs I could do I thought the Navy, and specifically Navy Diving, would give me challenge and excitement as well as pushing me to be my best."
The class of 80 graduates have spent 12 weeks transforming themselves from life as a civilian, to serving members of New Zealand’s Defence Force. During their course the trainees undertook demanding training, which included an intense level of physical training, precision marching and parade training along with an academic programme covering naval history, discipline, core values and maritime skills.
For Ordinary Diver Leadbetter, the next challenge is moving into specialist Navy Diver training, one of the most physically demanding trades the Navy works in.
"I’ve already had experiences that I wouldn’t be able to have anywhere else, and I’ve only just started. It’s easy to say that a career in the Navy is much more exciting and rewarding than the more ‘typical’ jobs I’ve done. I can’t wait to get in to my next phase of training."
This year the Navy has already welcomed over 170 new recruits, with another intake due to begin in September.
For more information please contact Lieutenant Commander Ange Barker, Senior Communications and Media Advisor – Navy on 021 244 0638