Biography – Captain Michael David Edwards, OAM
Michael Edwards was raised and educated in Brisbane, Queensland. After five years as a Navy Cadet at T.S. Gayundah (HMAS MORETON) he joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1979 as a radio operator and was subsequently commissioned on Valentine’s Day 1986, attending the Royal Australian Naval College at Jervis Bay.
Following bridge watch-keeping and warfare training in various HMA Ships and shore establishments, Edwards was awarded the Herbert Lott prize as Dux of his Midshipman Fleet Board in 1987. After seven months and two South East Asian deployments he was qualified for a Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate in HMAS SWAN in 1988. In 1990 he was selected and underwent the Clearance Diving (CD) Officers Qualifying course at HMAS PENGUIN. After successful completion, he served as CIO CD at the RAN Diving School for a short time before Executive Officer of AUSCDT TWO during 1991 and afterwards as Executive Officer AUSCDT FOUR.
He was selected to undertake Mine Warfare specialist training in the United Kingdom in 1992 and upon completion was seconded to the Royal Navy as Operations Officer in HMS ATHERSONE (MHC 38). While participating in NATO exercises and visits to France the ship represented the Royal Navy at the 50th Anniversary of the raid by HMS Campbeltown on the docks at St Nazaire in WWII. In June 1992 he returned to Australia and took up the position as Executive Officer HMAS RUSHCUTTER (MHI 80) during which time the ship was runner-up for the Kelly Shield for operational excellence and won the Pakistan Shield for sport.
The Clearance Diving command was undergoing considerable change in 1994 when the then Lieutenant Edwards joined the staff of the Commander Australian Minewarfare and Clearance Diving Forces as the inaugural Staff Officer (SO) 2 Clearance Diving. In this role he planned and participated in world-wide CD operations and exercises through 1994-1996 before being selected for command of HMAS TARAKAN (L129) a Heavy Landing Craft based in Cairns, Queensland.
In 1998, upon promotion, he joined Maritime Headquarters Australia as the Amphibious Operations Planner during which time he was heavily involved in the raising of the Commander Australian Amphibious Forces. At the end of this year he was selected to participate in the inaugural amphibious exchange position with the United States Navy and became the Future Operations Planner to the Commander Amphibious Squadron One. Over this period the Command was primarily embarked in the flagship USS PELELIU (LHA5) and deployed to the Arabian Gulf for OP SOUTHERN WATCH / OP DAMASK and also participated in operations in East Timor (OP STABILISE) during October and November 1999 where he was awarded a US Navy and Marine Corp Commendation Medal. Early in 2000 the opportunity was seized to undertake USN SEAL Combat Swimmer and advanced weapons training at SEAL TEAM V in San Diego and Saudi Arabia.
In February 2001 Edwards returned to Australia to undertake duties in Amphibious Warfare to the Commander Amphibious Task Group. He was appointed as the Executive Officer in HMAS KANIMBLA (LPA51) in November 2001 and has served in the ship during Operations SLIPPER (International Coalition Against Terror), RELEX (Illegal Immigrant Operations) and FALCONER (Iraqi War). In late 2003 KANIMBLA was presented the Duke of Gloucester Cup as the most efficient ship in the RAN, won the Wormald Plate for Damage Control Expertise; and, the Collins Plate for ‘best embarked’ Aircraft Flight in 2003. LCDR Edwards was awarded the Medal in the Order of Australia for his actions in Iraq and was selected for promotion to Commander in January 2004.
He has since retired from full time service in the Navy. Presently he is a Managing Director of Oropesa Port Management and also undertakes duties as a Marine Pilot and Consultant at Cape Cuvier, Western Australia. He lives with his gorgeous bride of 23 years, Ilonka, and in his spare time running a successful trophy winning winery in South Western Australia. Some of his other interests include; sailing, reading, rugby and rural pursuits. He currently serves as the President of the RAN Clearance Divers Association and is also a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Company of Master Mariners, the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry and, the Geographe Wine Industry Association.