Vice Admiral Russell Crane, a retired senior officer of the Royal Australian Navy, who served as the Chief of Navy from July 2008 until his retirement in June 2011, has been awarded the insignia of Commander in the National order of Merit by the Vice Admiral Stephane Verwaerde, Deputy Chief of the French Navy (Major Général de la Marine), at the occasion of a ceremony held at the Residence of France, in the presence of H.E. Mr. Stéphane Romatet, on Friday 17 May 2013.
Admirals, your Excellency, distinguished guests,
I thank you joining us in this ceremony.
Let me start by thanking Mr Stéphane Romatet for welcoming us and hosting this ceremony at the Residence of France.
We are gathered here to honor a very talented Australian Navy officer, and it is my infinite pleasure to take the opportunity of my official visit to Australia to award this distinction to Vice-Admiral Russ Crane.
Admiral, you had an impressive career in the Royal Australian Navy, which lead you to the highest position in the RAN. Today, it is not my intention to remind us all your different postings and achievements. I would like simply to highlight some position in your career, and especially the time when you had command responsibilities.
Of course, as a Navy Aviation men, I noted your time on board your aircraft-carrier HMAS Melbourne, but I would like first to focus on your time as a ship commander. And you had three times to assume the command of one of Her Majesty Australian Ships. In a Navy career, those time are of most importance. Many of us would remember them as their best time in their career, and probably what led us in choosing to serve our country’s Navy. First, you commanded a mine hunting vessel HMAS Curlew, which was your first spatiality. Then, you commanded a frigate, HMAS Derwent, and then the replenishment ship HMAS Success. We know her very well because she is the sister ship of our Durance replenishment ship. In 1999, you commanded this ship during the operation Stabilise in support the Australian-Led INTERFET peacekeeping operation in East Timor. At that time, France contributed to the mission sending its light amphibious ship Jacques Cartier from Noumea.
I will remind us secondly of your time as the commander of the Coastwatch and the first commander of the joint Offshore Protection command, which would become later the Border Protection Command which I visited today. I know the very good collaboration with this command due to our shared borders in Kerguelen Island, and our interest in protection our natural resources against illegal fisheries.
I will finish by recalling your time as the chief of Australian Navy. Amiral Forissier told me how great and wonderful visit he had in Australia in July 2010 when you hosted his visit to HMAS Stirling, Canberra and Sydney. He remember the great discussion you had with him on Navy culture and I am sure that he would have strongly appreciated to be here to personally honor you.
Admiral, I have now the great privilege to present you the distinction of commander of the national merit on behalf of the French republic.
Now, I have to say the official award sentence in French ...
Russell Crane, Au nom du Président de la République et en vertu des pouvoirs qui nous sont conférés, nous vous faisons Commandeur dans l’Ordre national du Mérite.