Australian Lieutenant Commander Marks 40 Years in Defence Force

 Australian Lieutenant Commander Marks 40 Years in Defence Force

Lieutenant Commander John Sperring, a long-term resident at the Australian Hydrographic Office, celebrated 40 years in Australian Defence Force (ADF) service on 6th March 2013.

Originally in the Army for 12 ½ years, John reached the rank of Warrant Officer, primarily in Army Intelligence but also served in the Infantry as a machine gunner, a orderly room clerk and a police investigator serving overseas in Malaysia.

John then spent 10 years in the Royal Australian Air Force, teaching intelligence courses before spending 2 ½ years with the Jindalee over-the-horizon-radar team as its first intelligence officer, operations officer and relief Executive Office. He retired from the RAAF after working for Navy in the then Joint Intelligence Centre and Maritime Intelligence Centre as a watch officer during the 1st Gulf War.

While John was working as a Combat Systems Operator (INTEL) with (the then) Captain Russ Crane, he was persuaded to do the service trifecta and joined the Navy Reserve as an INTEL Officer at Maritime Headquarters.

In November 1995, John joined the Australian Hydrographic Office in Wollongong, working for (the then) Captain Geoff Geraghty and Lieutenant Brett Brace; Lieutenant Brace has since gone on to become Commodore Brace and, in January of this year, became the Hydrographer of Australia.

During John’s time in the Australian Hydrographic Service he has filled a number of staff positions across operations, hydrographic development, executive support, and capability including management of Navy reserve time in the branch.

“I have enjoyed my time at the Hydrographic Office, in fact my time through all three services. It is a point of pride for me that I have this great collection of hats. There are no retirement plans in my immediate future. I am happy to continue to work in areas that I am needed, balancing it with my passion for travelling.” said John.

The Australian Hydrographic Service is an element of the Royal Australian Navy. It is the national hydrographic authority responsible for the production and publication of nautical charts and hydrographic information to enable safe navigation of all ships in Australia’s waters.

The Royal Australian Navy operates six hydrographic survey ships and a laser airborne depth sounder aircraft. The output of these units contributes to the navigational safety products produced by the Australian Hydrographic Service.

The Australian Hydrographic Service headquarters is in Wollongong, NSW. From there they construct and publish Australia’s official paper nautical charts, electronic navigational charts, nautical publications such as tide tables and the seafarer’s handbook for Australian waters. More than 200,000 nautical products are distributed by the Australian Hydrographic Service each year.

Australian Navy, March 26, 2013