- Editorial Staff
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- March 2020 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
On 22 November 2019 a ceremony was conducted in the courtyard outside Russell Offices in Canberra to mark the handover of the important position of Warrant Officer of the Navy (WO-N) from WO Gary Wright AM to WO Deb Butterworth, OAM CSM and Bar. Since the role was first instituted into the RAN in December 1993 there have been nine eminent senior sailors promoted to this position, Deb Butterworth being the first female to take on the role.
Role of the Warrant Officer of the Navy
The primary duty of the Warrant Officer of the Navy is to represent to the Chief of Navy the solicited and unsolicited views, concerns and opinions of our Royal Australian Navy members which affect the Navy as a whole. The WO-N also:
• Represents the interests of Navy and the broader Australian Defence Force in their dealings with both internal and external parties as an advocate for Navy and those serving within Navy.
• Represents the Sailors of the Navy at significant ceremonial occasions, functions and civil receptions.
• Performs all roles and functions of the Warrant Officer rank sponsor, and in consultation with the relevant Navy People Branch Directors, Training Authorities and Commands is responsible for Warrant Officer policy, workforce structure, position requirements, training and education.
• Works closely with Navy’s senior leadership, but particularly the Deputy Chief of Navy, as Head of Navy People, to keep them informed of issues, provide a perspective on the development of, or changes to, policies or directives to assist the Senior Leader Team fulfil their responsibilities.
• Manages or reports on any matter which the Governor-General, the Minister’s Chief of the Defence Force or the Chief of Navy have delegated, whether through a directive, Defence Instruction or any other instrument.
The Warrant Officer of the Navy operates from the Office of the Chief of Navy and is a member of the Chief of Navy’s Senior Advisory Committee. This committee is the primary decision making body in the Royal Australian Navy. As the senior most ranking Sailor in the RAN, the WO-N exercises command over all other sailors.
The Warrant Officer of the Navy is expected to lead by example and without fear or favour exemplify our Navy Values and personify our Navy Signature Behaviours.
Warrant Officer of the Navy Deb Butterworth OAM CSM and Bar
Deb Butterworth was born at Lilydale in Victoria and for the first ten years of her life she travelled extensively. She then settled into school life in Perth, Western Australia. She enlisted into the RAN as a Stores Naval sailor in 1989. She has enjoyed serving in various ships including HMA Ships Jervis Bay, Manoora, Newcastle, Parramatta, Success and Sydney.
In 2003 and 2005, then Chief Petty Officer Butterworth deployed in Newcastle on Operation CATALYST, the Australian assistance to the reconstruction of Iraq. She was awarded the Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM) in 2006 in recognition of her service in this operation.
Promoted to WO in July 2007, she returned to Western Australia to take up the role of Logistic Services Manager in the Joint Logistic Unit (West). In 2009 WO Butterworth joined Sea Training Group Major Fleet Units. The role of this group is to facilitate collective training and conduct unit-level assessment of RAN Fleet Units. WO Butterworth left logistics roles after being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for meritorious service to the RAN in the field of logistics management in 2012.
WO Butterworth became Ship’s Warrant Officer in Success in December 2011. Success was an integral part of Operation SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN, an activity to support the Australian Maritime safety Authority to search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in April 2014. In 2014 WO Butterworth deployed to the Middle East and upon return was awarded a Bar to her CSM in recognition of her service in Success.
In July 2017 WO Butterworth was appointed to the role of Command Warrant Officer Training Force until July 2019 when she guided a team to create the Mariner Development Program, to continue to develop mariners and warfighters while undertaking specialist employment training.
WO-N Butterworth holds a degree as Master of Military and Defence Studies.
When at home in Deb enjoys living in Canberra and her greatest escape is a leisurely weekend cycle ride.