OMT Damien Gillett-Jackson from Napier (right) is awarded the Spencer Tewsley Cup and Tankard by Chief of Defence Force, LTGEN Tim Keating.
17 April 2014
Twenty-two year old Damien Gillet-Jackson from Napier and 19 year old Ashley Welsh from Hastings are two of seventy-seven sailors who graduated today from the Royal New Zealand Navy’s Basic Common Training Course (BCT), a thirteen-week naval training course which introduces participants to the Navy.
The Hawkes Bay men were awarded with two of the top prizes at their graduation. OMT Damien Gillet-Jackson, of Napier, was awarded the Spencer Tewsley Cup and Tankard, awarded to the best all round Basic Common Trainee. OMT Ashley Welsh, of Hastings, was awarded the Wayne (Buck) Shelford MBE trophy for the Leading Physical Training Instructor. He was also awarded the Spedding Cup and Tankard for gaining the highest mark in parade training. Welsh’s parade and drill skills meant he had the honour of leading his peers as Parade Commander at the Graduation Parade.
Both men are starting naval careers as marine technicians. Their training included an intense level of physical training, precision marching, parade training and an academic programme covering; naval history, discipline, core values and maritime skills.
Ordinary Marine Technician (OMT) Gillet-Jackson is a Napier Boys High School old boy, who joined the Navy to carry on a family tradition and to create a stable future for his partner and himself.
“I joined because I wanted to serve my country. My family originally came to New Zealand from South Africa to fight in the Maori land wards and every generation since has had someone serve.”
After only 13 weeks in, OMT Gillet-Jackson is already sure of the decision he has made.
“I have gained friends, physical fitness, a uniform, enjoyed great food and now I have the ability to travel the world for work, what more could anyone ask for?”
From St John’s College in Hastings, OMT Welsh also wanted to make his family proud and do something with his life. “Before joining the Navy, I had never even left the North Island. But after just three weeks in the Navy we were flown down to Christchurch on an Air Force plane and sailed back to Auckland on HMNZS CANTERBURY.
“No other job offers you the kind of opportunities you can get with the Defence Force.”