Lieutenant Commander Craig Walecki, NZCF
Cadet Unit Commander (CUCDR)
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 Squadrons 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 positions of Training Officer and Gunnery Officer.
LTCDR Walecki assumed command of TS Achilles from LTCDR B. Jamieson in February 2017 and was promoted to LTCDR on appointment to CUCDR.
He has enjoyed the change of scene with TS Achilles and looks forward to many years with the Sea Cadet Corp.
Secondary roles in the NZ Cadet Forces have included Chief Flying Instructor for the Air Training Corps National Aviation Course and the then NZCF National Aviation Officer, providing subject matter expertise to the Commandant as required.
Lieutenant Commander Sacha D.M. Belcourt, NZCF
Executive Officer (XO) / Training Officer (TO)
Lieutenant Commander 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 was recommissioned into the rank of Lieutenant. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 2017. 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, LTCDR 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
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 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!
A/Ensign Adam Brannigan
Boats Officer / Stores Officer / Ajax Divisional Officer
Acting Ensign 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.
A/ENS Brannigan attended the May 2017 NZCF Commissioning Course and appointed to the rank of Acting Ensign. An experienced sailor, A/ENS is the units Boats Officer, responsible for managing the units sailing assets as well as the unit Stores Officer, responsible for managing the unit uniform and equipment stocks.
He is currently staying in the student apartments and working through the 2nd semester of his Bachelor of Maritime Engineering.
Officer Cadet Cassandra Bates-Glover
Assistant Training Officer / Exeter Divisonal Officer
OFFCDT Bates-Glover is currently under process to be a commissioned officer in the NZCF. She was an Air Cadet with No.19 Squadron in her youth and progressed through the ranks to Under Officer. In her last year as a cadet she paraded with TS Gambia so has had experience with the Sea Cadets prior to joining TS Achilles.
OFFCDT Bates-Glover was a member of the Unit Support Committee prior to committing to the operational side of the unit and starting her commissioning process. She was approved to attend the NZCF Commissioning Course in 2017 and intends to complete the May 2018 course.
As a Officer in training, she is assisting the Training Officer with the unit training programme as well as assisting with unit admin, gaining her excellent exposure to the roles and responsibilities of a NZCF Officer.
Warrant Officer Sophyia Hilario
Warrant Officer Cadet 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 Warrant Officer Cadet and was appointed the role of Ships Coxswain for 2017. As Coxswain, she is also in current possession of the unit drill cane.
At the 2016 Achilles Prize-giving Dinner, WOCDT Hilario was awarded the Sword of Honour.
WOCDT Hilario is currently studying her first year of Law, conjoint with Politics and International Relations, at the University of Auckland.
Physical Training Instructor Mike Kaufusi
PTI Kaufusi joined TS Achilles as a Supplementary Instructor in 2017. He was a NZ Cadet Corp cadet in his youth and was keen to get back into the NZCF system after achieving amazing results with the Executive Officer :)
PTI Kaufusi comes in a couple of times per term to provide challenging physical training sessions and when timing permits may look to expand his role and commitment to the unit.
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.