australian aviation logo

Governor General witnesses Australian War College graduations

written by Adam Thorn | December 22, 2022

34 Air Force Officers graduate from the Australian Command and Staff Course at a ceremony at the Australian War College in Canberra. (Defence)

The latest cohort of students has graduated from the Australian War College after completing a year-long course focusing on military theory.

The Governor General and Chief of the Defence Force were at the ceremony to congratulate RAAF students, which included Wing Commanders, Squadron Leaders and Warrant Officers.

The ‘Australian Command and Staff Course’ is a 47-week residential course for mid-career military officers and selected public servants.

It uses both modern and historical events to test military theory, and encourages students to analyse and evaluate different viewpoints.

Air Commodore Ruth Elsley, who heads up the ACSC as its Commandant, said the course provides graduates with the “intellectual capacity, influence skills and confidence” to progress their careers.


“They are challenged by world-class lecturers and are exposed to a broad cross-section of perspectives from other course members, which includes a sizeable international contingent,” said AIRCDRE Elsley.

“The friendships and professional networks developed among Australian and international students while studying at the Australian War College will benefit our country, and our international partners, as we face complex strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and globally.”

Dependent on enrolment and achievement on course, graduates can also achieve a Graduate Certificate in Military and Defence Studies, a Graduate Diploma of Military and Defence Studies or a Master of Military and Defence Studies.

This year, four RAAF officers were among the prize winners, with Squadron Leader Benjamin Gierke taking home the Governor-General’s Sword.

The Australian War College is part of the Australian Defence College and while 2022 will be the last year the qualifications will be awarded by ANU, the contract will transition to Victoria’s Deakin University in 2023.

Australian Aviation previously reported how James Rhone graduated from No 1 Recruit Training Unit (1RTU) this year to join his twin sister Grace, older brother Mitchell and father Chris in the Air Force.

It meant four members of the same family are now active members of the RAAF, while their mum previously served for 12 years.

James, now an Aircraftman, said, “Being able to witness my twin sister Grace on the course ahead of mine was inspiring, motivating and made me push myself even harder.”

Grace, now an Aircraftwoman, said, “We experienced many challenges at 1RTU but, with the assistance of our course mates around us, we learned to overcome those hurdles and use each other’s strengths to achieve our end goal.”

No 1 Recruit Training Unit (1RTU) lasts for 11 weeks and is designed to prepare newly enlisted RAAF personnel for military service.

1RTU is responsible for two-thirds of the Air Force’s initial preparation, with the rest conducted by Officers’ Training School and the Australian Defence Force Academy, where commissioned officers are trained.

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member today!

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.