Russ Crane

Vice Admiral Russell Harry Crane, AO, CSM (born 11 June 1954) is a retired senior officer of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), who served as the Chief of Navy from July 2008 until his retirement in June 2011.

Russ Crane
Crane (right) with General David Hurley and Captain Brent Canady observing flight operations aboard the USS Essex (LHD-2) in 2009
Born (1954-06-11) 11 June 1954
Southport, Queensland
Service/branchRoyal Australian Navy
Years of service1970–2011
RankVice Admiral
Commands heldChief of Navy (2008–11)
Deputy Chief of Navy (2006–08)
Joint Offshore Protection Command (2005–06)
HMAS Success (1998–00)
HMAS Derwent (1993–94)
HMAS Curlew (c. 1983–85)
Battles/warsInternational Force for East Timor
AwardsOfficer of the Order of Australia
Conspicuous Service Medal
Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)
Meritorious Service Medal (Singapore)
Commander of the National Order of Merit (France)

Early life

Crane was born in Southport, Queensland, on 11 June 1954 to Harry and Nina Crane.[1] During his early teenage years, Crane was a cadet enlisted at the Naval Reserve Cadet unit "TS Tyalgum" at Main Beach on the Gold Coast.[2]

Crane began his naval career as a junior recruit at HMAS Leeuwin in 1970.[3] Training as an Electrical Mechanic in aircraft communications, he was posted aboard the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne in 1971. Following selection for officer training in 1972, he began training as a Seaman Officer serving in numerous RAN establishments and ships, before receiving his commission.[4] He was appointed as Minehunting Control Officer in the minehunter HMAS Curlew, in 1978 and promoted to lieutenant during the same year. In 1983 he was promoted to lieutenant commander and appointed in command of Curlew. He was later appointed as the executive officer of the destroyer escort HMAS Torrens,[3] then in 1988, promoted to commander and posted to the Equipment Acquisition Division in Navy Office Canberra.

In 1993, Crane was posted as the commanding officer aboard HMAS Derwent, a destroyer escort based in Western Australia. He was promoted to captain in January 1996 and appointed as the Chief Staff Officer Command and Control, Communications and Intelligence in Maritime Headquarters. Captain Crane assumed command of HMAS Success on 24 November 1998. During his period in command Success conducted a number of deployments to the South East Asia region including, in September and October 1999, Operation Stabilise in support of peacekeeping operations in East Timor.

Awarded the Conspicuous Service Medal in early 2000 for his time in command HMAS Success,[5] Crane was promoted to commodore in March 2000 and posted to Australian Defence Headquarters in Canberra as the Director General Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare. He was Commander Australian Navy Systems Command from October 2001 before being promoted to rear admiral on 1 May 2004 and assuming duties as Director General Coastwatch and the inaugural Commander of the newly formed Joint Offshore Protection Command in March 2005. Crane became the Deputy Chief of Navy in June 2006, and was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in June 2007.[6]

Crane was promoted to vice admiral and succeeded Vice Admiral Russ Shalders as Chief of Navy on 4 July 2008.[7] For his "distinguished service as Deputy Chief of Navy and as Chief of Navy", Crane was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2010 Australia Day Honours.[8] In February 2011, the RAN under Crane was embroiled in controversy when the Australian Defence Force was left with a critically reduced amphibious capability.[9] Analysts claimed that a critical naval capability had been allowed to deteriorate to the point of failure.[10]

On 24 May 2011, Crane was conferred Singapore's Meritorious Service Medal by Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen at an investiture held at the Ministry of Defence.[11] Crane stood down as Chief of Navy and retired from the RAN on 7 June 2011.[12] For a number of personal reasons he specifically requested to retire on this date, nearly one month earlier than the intended 4 July Defence Chiefs change over, and five weeks prior to Crane's 41st anniversary of service with the RAN.[13] He was presented with the French National Order of Merit by Vice Admiral Stephane Verwaerde, Deputy Chief of the French Navy, on 17 May 2013.[14]

Honours and awards

Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)Awarded January 2010[8]
Member of the Order of Australia (AM)Awarded June 2007[6]
Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM)Awarded June 2000[5]
Australian Active Service Medal[15]with "EAST TIMOR" clasp[15]
International Force East Timor Medal[15]
Defence Force Service Medal with 5 clasps/Federation Star[15]40–44 years service
Australian Defence Medal[15]
Commander of the Legion of Merit(United States)
Meritorious Service Medal(Singapore) – 24 May 2011
Commander of the National Order of Merit(France) – 17 May 2013[14]


  1. "Vice Admiral Russell Harry Crane". Who's Who in Australia Online. ConnectWeb. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  2. Band of Brothers Defence News, 2 October 2008
  3. Chief of Navy Archived 13 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Official Navy bio
  4. Russell Crane, Defence Leaders' bio
  5. It's an honour – Conspicuous Service Medal – 12 June 2000
  6. It's an honour – Member of the Order of Australia – 11 June 2007
  7. New Defence leadership team announced
  8. "Officer (AO) in the Military Division of the Order of Australia" (PDF). Australia Day 2010 Honours List. The Australian Honours Secretariat. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 February 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  9. Mark Dodd Talk of bungle as military landing craft axed, 2 Feb 2011, The Australian
  10. James Brown, Defence: Bad news and worse news, 1 Feb 2011, The Interpreter,
  11. Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera), MINDEF: Australian Navy Chief Receives Prestigious Military Award, 24 May 2011, MINDEF Singapore,
  12. "Navy welcomes new Chief". Media Release. Department of Defence. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  13. "New Chiefs for the Australian Defence Force". Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 1 June 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  15. Official High Resolution Photo
Military offices
Preceded by
Vice Admiral Russ Shalders
Chief of Navy
Succeeded by
Vice Admiral Ray Griggs
Preceded by
Rear Admiral Max Hancock
Deputy Chief of Navy
Succeeded by
Rear Admiral Davyd Thomas
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