Lieutenant Commander Julia Griffin’s recent appointment to lead the HMAS Maitland sees her take command of one of the 11 patrol boats in the Darwin area, another of which is already led by her husband Lieutenant Commander Khan Beaumont
Lieutenant Commander Julia Griffin’s recent appointment to lead the HMAS Maitland sees her take command of one of the 11 patrol boats in the Darwin area, another of which is already led by her husband Lieutenant Commander Khan Beaumont

This couple has just made Australian military history

A naval couple stationed in Darwin have made Royal Australian Navy history by becoming the first married couple in the force to command patrol vessels at the same time.

Lieutenant Commander Julia Griffin's recent appointment to lead the HMAS Maitland sees her take command of one of the 11 patrol boats in the Darwin area, another of which is already led by her husband Lieutenant Commander Khan Beaumont

Lt-Cdr Beaumont lead the HMAS Ararat for about 18 months after serving as second in charge on-board several other vessels.

Lt-Cdr Griffin said as someone with a lifelong passion for boats and the ocean, taking up command was an exciting career opportunity for her.

"I guess it was the next step for me and the next challenge," she said. "I'm certainly proud of what Khan's achieving and I'm proud of what I've achieved.

"It's an honour to have been selected to be commander of an Australian warship and the competent and professional men and women that we're going to be in charge of."

Lt-Cdr Beaumont said the couple, who are on the cusp of their ninth wedding anniversary, were pleased but unphased to be making RAN history with their appointments.

"We just do what we do - it's hard to describe," he said.

The couple's vessels will patrol Australia's northern waters to protect national interests in areas such as illegal immigration, fishing and imports and exports.

Command posts generally last for two years, but the couple - who already spend long periods apart because of work - said for them it was about the quality not quantity of time they spent together. "It just makes us stronger as a team," said Lt-Cdr Beaumont.

Royal Australian Navy Captain of Patrol Boats Captain Alex Hawes said the couple were examples of "the truly outstanding officers and sailors that work within the patrol boat community, and of Navy's support to its people to achieve their potential".

"Navy is proud of both officers and of the entire patrol boat community, working to protect Australia's borders and offshore maritime interests," he said.



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