Lieutenant Commander Craig Walecki, NZCF
T.S. Achilles Unit Commander
Lieutenant Commander Walecki joined the Air Training Corps Cadets in Howick as a 13 year old. He commissioned as an Officer in 1994 and has been posted to Air Cadet Units including No. 40 (Howick), No. 13 (Napier) and No. 18 (Christchurch) before returning to Auckland in 2013.
LTCDR Walecki has been parading with TS Achilles Sea Cadet Corps since September 2013 and has previously held the position of Gunnery Officer. He has enjoyed the change of scene with TS Achilles and looks forward to gaining more Boating experience with the Sea Cadets.
Secondary roles in the NZ Cadet Forces include Chief Flying Instructor for the Air Training Corps National Aviation Course and the NZCF National Aviation Officer, providing subject matter expertise to the Commandant as required.
Lieutenant Sacha D.M. Belcourt, NZCF
T.S. Achilles Executive / Training Officer
Lieutenant Belcourt joined Training Ship Achilles (Auckland City) as a cadet in 1985 and over the next few years got “bitten by the bug” which has led to a long term commitment in the service of the Sea Cadet Corps and the New Zealand Cadet Forces.
Initially he was awed by the self-discipline and sense of structure, and found it a worthwhile challenge to grow into the responsibilities and skills required of him. In 1992, he commissioned from the ranks and gained management and leadership skills that saw him appointed as Unit Commander. During this time he discovered new challenges, and loved seeing others flourish as they grew and developed within the Cadet Forces. A major life change saw him leave the New Zealand Cadets Forces to spend time overseas.
After returning to New Zealand with his family, his passion to support young people to identify and move towards their potential drew him back to Sea Cadets. He returned to TS Achilles in 2015 and has recommissioned. He is incredibly proud of his two young boys, and will support their growth through Cadets in the future, should they choose to join.
As an experienced officer, LT Belcourt currently holds the position of Executive Officer and is keen to ensure that young people are always well trained and are in the best position to experience everything that the Sea Cadets and the New Zealand Cadet Forces has to offer.
Sub Lieutenant Christopher Simmons, NZCF
T.S. Achilles Administration / Exeter Divisional Officer
Sub Lieutenant Simmons joined TS Steadfast (now TS Godley), in Christchurch, as a Sea Cadet in 2006 aged 14. After 1 year as a Cadet, he attended the 2007 National Regatta in Auckland, before transferring to TS Achilles later that year.
For the next 4 years he continued as a Cadet until he reached the rank of Master Cadet in 2011. That year he was also awarded the unit Sword of Honour.
In November 2011, he commissioned as a Sea Cadet Officer, became the rank of Ensign and took on the position of Training Officer.
In September 2013 he became the Executive Officer when LTCDR Ford stepped down and LT Jamieson became Commanding Officer.
In 2015 he has become the Unit Boats Officer in addition to Executive Officer. In December 2014, he was promoted to the rank of Sub Lieutenant. He has now taken on a change of role and has become the Administration Officer and the Exeter Divisional Officer.
He is a Registered Electrician and currently working for a hydraulics company as an Electrical Technician.
You will often find him behind the lens of a camera, taking awesome photos of TS Achilles Sea Cadets in action, some of which appear on this website!
Under Officer Adam Brannigan
T.S. Achilles Boats / Ajax Divisional Officer
Under Officer Brannigan joined TS Amokura in Wellington in 2008 at the age of 12.
He stayed through some rough times at his old unit eventually getting it back on it's feet in late 2011. He was Ships Coxswain and Stores NCO for the later part of his time there. For the past 4 years he has also helped with the Amokura Dolphins until he left Wellington at the beginning of this year. Being at the unit for so long he was lucky enough to have been able to stay at TS Amokura for their 50th Anniversary.
In 2013 he left for England to have a gap year, from there he sailed on the British
Brig-rigged Tall Ship Stavros S Niarchos to visit Ireland before coming back home to decide what he wanted to do.
At the beginning of this year Under Officer Brannigan moved up to Auckland to start studying a Bachelors in Maritime Engineering at AUT with the hope of specialising in Naval Architecture. He transferred to TS Achilles so he could remain involved in Sea Cadets and became the new rank of Under Officer which has been introduced to the Sea Cadet Corps around two years ago.
He is currently staying in the student apartments and working through the 2nd semester of his Bachelor of Maritime Engineering.
Chief Petty Officer Sophyia Hilario
T.S. Achilles Warrant Officer / Unit Coxswain
Cadet Warrant Officer Hilario originally joined TS Leander (Devonport) in 2012 at the age of 13. She served at TS Leander for three years, reaching the rank of Petty Officer before transferring to TS Achilles in 2015.
Upon her transfer to TS Achilles, she was appointed the roles of Ajax Divisional Coxswain and Unit Stores Officer. At the 2015 End of Year parade, she was promoted to Chief Petty Officer, requiring her to step down from her role as Ajax Divisional Coxswain to undertake the new position as unit staff.
At the end of 2016, she was promoted to Cadet Warrant Officer and was appointed the role of Achilles Unit Coxswain for 2017. As Coxswain, she is also in current possession of the unit drill cane.
At the 2016 Achilles Prize-giving Dinner, CDTWO Hilario was awarded with the Sword of Honour.
CDTWO Hilario is currently studying her first year of Law, conjoint with Politics and International Relations, at the University of Auckland.
Chief Petty Officer Jake Kelly-Hulse
T.S. Achilles Unit Boswain
Chief Petty Officer Cadet Jake Kelly-Hulse has been with T.S Achilles since early 2012, joining the unit at the age of twelve. He is one of two members of this New Entry class to remain in the unit, utilising his five years in cadets to absorb the skills and experiences offered.
This paid off, as CPOCDT Kelly-Hulse was awarded the Rose Bowl Award for Best Cadet in 2014, and being appointed as Ajax’s Divisional Petty Officer throughout 2016. Additionally he was the T.S Achilles representative for the NZCF 150th Anniversary Parade in Wellington 2015. His current rank was earned late in 2016.
CPOCDT Kelly-Hulse is currently pursuing a course of study in Engineering at The University of Auckland, aiming to specialise in Biomedical engineering in later years.
Interested in Helping Out?
We are always on the lookout for people to help out at TS Achilles Sea Cadets.
These voluntary roles include assisting with training of Sea Cadets in various skills, organising and running activities, and supervising sailing, outdoor activities and camps.
All of the Instructors and Officers at TS Achilles are volunteers. If you are interested in finding out more about getting involved in training youth for the future, please contact TS Achilles now to find out more.