19 December 2013
Lieutenant (LT) Michael Coom
Lieutenant (LT) Michael Coom of Christchurch topped the class when New Zealand Army officer cadets graduated recently, gaining the coveted Sword of Honour and two other awards.
The officer cadets graduated in Waiouru after 10 gruelling months of leadership training to get them to the high standard demanded of an Army officer.
As well as winning the sword LT Coom also won the Sergeant Major of the Army prize and the Governor General Medal in a trifecta of achievement.
The 26-year-old looked to the Army as a career after completing his Master’s degree in applied psychology and having served in the Reserves for four years, followed by six months in the Regular Force at Burnham.
“In the beginning I wasn’t looking at being an officer but I was inspired by some of my officers at Burnham. I‘ve told them that too.”
He will return to Burnham as a rifle platoon commander with the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment after another few months of training in Australia.
“The course exceeded my expectations and it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. It’s a constant challenge and the tutors keep the pressure on right to the end.”
LT Coom said he and the other 19 graduates learned to deal with pressure. He had some advice for anyone considering becoming a New Zealand Army officer: “Don’t underestimate the course and what will be expected from you.”
He said anyone considering joining the Army as an officer should be focused and ready.
He said having a few life skills under his belt helped him cope with the rigours of the training and he is looking forward to his future career.
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