Colin Summers
Butchulla (Mother), South Sea Islander (Father)
Chief Petty Officer
Royal Australian Navy 27 years.

Medals & Awards
Defence Force Service Medal with two clasps.
Australian Defence Medal
HMAS Cerberus Commanding Officers Commendation – for long and loyal service to RAN (1994)

Growing up on Turrbul country, nestled in the suburb of Mt. Gravatt, I was born into a family rich in cultural heritage. My mother’s roots traced back to the Butchulla people, while my father hailed from the Solomon Islands. Amidst nine siblings—three brothers and five sisters my upbringing was steeped in a blend of Indigenous Australian and Pacific Islander cultures, fostering a deep appreciation for diversity and tradition. At the tender age of 15, after completing year 10, I embarked on a journey that would shape the course of my life, enlisting in the Royal Australian Navy on April 4, 1969. After finishing my Category training, I was a Naval Airman Aircraft Handler in the Fleet Air Arm section of the Navy. With the disbandment of the Fleet Air Arm, I changed category to a Motor Transport Driver.  Over the next 27 years, I dedicated myself to serving my country, rising through the ranks to attain the esteemed position of Chief Petty Officer Motor Transport Driver before my honourable discharge in October 1996. 

Throughout my naval career, I traversed the seas aboard illustrious vessels such as the HMAS Sydney and HMAS Melbourne, both formidable aircraft carriers. On land, I served in various depots, including the Naval Air Station HMAS Albatross, HMAS Coonawarra, HMAS Leeuwin, HMAS Penguin, HMAS Cerberus, and HMAS Kuttabul 2I/C of Command Transport for the Fleet each assignment adding depth to my experience and expertise. Among the highlights of my career was the opportunity to contribute to disaster relief efforts, notably in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy. As a member of the HS817 squadron, I played a vital role in the clean-up and recovery operations, showcasing the Navy’s commitment to serving communities in times of need. Additionally, I had the privilege of serving as a Recruit School instructor for four years, where I imparted invaluable knowledge and skills to the next generation of naval personnel. My dedication and proficiency in this role were recognised with the honour of being named runner-up instructor of the year for the Royal Australian Navy on two occasions. 

Further enriching my career was a three-month exchange program with the New Zealand Navy, where I served as a teacher for their recruits. This international collaboration not only broadened my horizons but also fostered strong bonds of camaraderie across borders, emphasizing the importance of cooperation in maritime defence. Throughout my naval journey, I was privileged to serve on prestigious aircraft squadrons, including VC724 (operating Skyhawk and Macchi aircraft) and VF805 (a front-line Skyhawk squadron), as well as HS817 (a front-line Wessex helicopter squadron). These experiences honed my skills as a motor transport specialist and instilled in me a sense of pride in contributing to the defence and security of my nation. In retrospect, my upbringing on Turrbul country instilled in me a deep sense of respect for the land and its people, while my Naval career allowed me to embody those values through service to my country. From humble beginnings to achieving the rank of Chief Petty Officer, my journey is a testament to the transformative power of dedication, perseverance, and a steadfast commitment to duty.