James Lybrand - Submarine training

Running time
3 min 19 sec
Date made
Place made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


I had spent exclusively, from joining submarines, time on submarines and not back to surface ship,. so I had joined Onslow as a sub-lieutenant and went through Onslow and Otama as a sub-lieutenant and I was on board, HMAS Collins. I'm sorry, HMS Waller first, sorry, for a number of postings, then HMAS. Collins as the executive officer So actually, I'll go back there. I was on HMAS Waller.

First for two postings is the sonar officer and as the Ops-O. I then went to HMAS Dechaineux as the Ops-O and the navigator, so that sort of took up all my lieutenant postings. A short period of shore in submarine operations was in there as well, which was in Sydney. Then I was on HMAS Collins as the Ex-O through 2005 2006. I spent some time in 2007 on an exchange with Holland for five months, and came back and was on board, HMAS Rankin effectively as the Ex-O again, and then conducted Perisher or the Netherlands submarine command course in 2008.

And Perisher is, I guess, the pinnacle sort of requirement for a submariner and it's kind of unique in the ADF, in that it's a back loaded course, by which I mean, you know, most people will do their professional training as a, you know, as an army person, infantry, armour, in the army, or seaman, officer from the Navy, and the principal warfare officers course, there's no course for an Ex-O and surface ships, but there is for submarines and then you proceed through that without any further training. But submarines have this, I guess, this final course to determine if you can be a CO and the basic requirements are to train your submarine in time of peace or war and keep submarines safe at all times And those two tenets have existed since the commencement of Perisher.

Early in the 1900s, I think it was 1918 was the first course as a result of high losses of submarines in World War One for the Brits, and they decided they need to actually do a course to assess commanding officers to meet those aims. And effectively it is both those things and of course, in decision making under extreme pressure when there's no best solution, so we continue that to this day.

And as of today, in real time, we're conducting the first Australian submarine command course, having left the Dutch only sort of two years ago, and that was a decision to repatriate the command course to Australia, was so we could actually take some sovereign control of the training of our commanding officers, knowing that we will have an increasing burden upon us to train commanding officers as we move to what was 12, for the attack submarine and now, you know, some of the order of eight potential nuclear submarines in the future.

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