Commander Scott Palmer

Born in Windsor, NSW, Commander Scott Palmer joined the Royal Australian Navy in January 1993 and graduated from the Australian Defence Force Academy in December 1995.

After achieving “Wings” in April 1997 and a false start at the ADF Helicopter School in Fairbairn, he joined 723 Squadron for Rotary Wing conversion. His first operational helicopter type was the SK50 Sea King, which he flew with 817 Squadron from January 1999 to December 2001. During this time he deployed in HMAS Tobruk for Operation STABILISE in East Timor, in HMAS Manoora for Operation RELEX and again in Tobruk for Operation TREK in the Solomon Islands. His dedication was recognised with the award of 817 Squadron Officer of the Year in 2000.

Commander Palmer was selected for the Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (Light) Forty One exchange with the United States Navy in San Diego, California. Between February 2002 and November 2004 he undertook Instructor Pilot training and taught American pilots to fly the SH-60B Seahawk helicopter. He completed this posting as the Squadron’s Operations Officer and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

After his return from the Untied States in early 2005, Commander Palmer joined 816 Squadron and seven months later, embarked an S-70B-2 Seahawk flight HMAS Warramunga for Operation CATALYST rotation 14.

Commander Palmer then preceded to Canberra, as the Staff Officer – Aviation at the Directorate of Navy Officers Postings April 2007-December 2008. Toward the end of this time he was selected by the Minor Command and Shore Charge Advisory Committee as the Executive Officer of 817 Squadron.

A highlight of this second posting to 817 Squadron was his involvement in Operation QUEENSLAND FLOOD ASSIST. As the Aircraft Captain of Shark 21 on 11 January 2011, he participated in the evacuation of flood affected Lockyer Valley townships of Forrest Hill and Laidley in extreme weather. After depositing a load of evacuees at the Laidley hospital, Shark 21 was returning to the pick-up point when he spotted a man in distress in the swollen Laidley Creek. With the man clinging to a tree, the crew of Shark 21 conducted an intricate winch rescue in challenging circumstances. For their efforts on this day, they were awarded a Group Bravery Citation. Commander Palmer was also awarded a Commander Joint Operations Silver Commendation. At the end of 2011, he was part of the small group of dedicated professionals that decommissioned 817 Squadron and retired the Sea King from Australian service.

He was promoted to Commander in January 2013 and completed ACSC that December, from where he joined the Airworthiness Coordination and Policy Agency, as Deputy Director Safety Assurance. For his work on the introduction of the Military Air Operator construct for ADF aviation as part of the new Defence Aviation Safety Regulations, he was awarded a Chief of Air Force Gold Commendation.

Commander Palmer returned to military flying in May 2017, conducting his MRH90 conversion course at the School of Army Aviation in Oakey. He took Command of 808 Squadron on 11 December 2017.