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Former Grafton man, Commander Jason John Cupples, was awarded the ‘Conspicuous Service Cross for Outstanding Devotion to Duty in the Royal Australian Navy Submarine Force’ in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Image: courtesy Gail and Clinton Couples

Queen’s Birthday honours for Grafton man

Geoff Helisma |

Searching postcodes in the ‘Order of Australia’ awards revealed there were no recipients in the Clarence Valley local government area.

However, postcodes or suburbs are not listed when searching ‘Military’ in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

As it happens, former Grafton man, Commander Jason John Cupples, was awarded the ‘Conspicuous Service Cross for Outstanding Devotion to Duty in the Royal Australian Navy Submarine Force’.

Commander Cupples is stationed in the USA.

He is one of 26 members of the Royal Australian Navy who received awards.

His parents, Gail and Clinton, are very proud of their son’s achievements.

“Since Jason was a small boy all he wanted to do was join the armed services,” Gail said.

“He worked diligently towards this goal throughout school and achieved his dream in 1985 when he joined the Royal Australian Navy [RAN].

“He has always been totally dedicated to his role in the RAN.

“We … and his sister Anne-Marie and brother Grant are so very proud of all Jason has achieved.

“Jason’s wife Tanya has always been a wonderful and loving support for him throughout his career and their 28-year marriage.

“To receive this award is a great testament to his loyalty and dedication to the Royal Australian Navy Submarine Force.”

Commander Cupples was a foundation member of Shropshire Navy Cadet Unit in Grafton and joined the RAN in 1985.

In 1989 he went from surface ships to the submarine force, where he became a navigator on HMAS Collins, the first of the Collins Class submarines.

Commander Cupples has captained four submarines, HMAS Waller, HMAS Dechaineux, HMAS Collins and HMAS Sheean.

In 2006 he moved to Rhode Island USA with his wife Tanya and sons, Aaron and Thomas, where he served a two-year posting before returning to Western Australia and the submarine force.

Commander Cupples is currently serving another two-year posting in the USA, where he resides with his wife Tanya.

In a media release, Governor-General and Chancellor of the Order of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove said the Queen’s Birthday Awards “are our opportunity to say to fellow Australians, ‘Thank you – without you and your tireless service we wouldn’t be the community or nation that we are.’

“This is the greatest part of our system; it doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from or whether you’re known to millions or just a few,” he said.

“If you have constantly put others ahead of yourself, served tirelessly and made a difference you can be nominated and recognised by a grateful nation.

“I encourage all Australians, if ever you see someone with an Order of Australia lapel badge, or see an Order of Australia post nominal after their name, to recognise that the person is extraordinary and has served their community and nation.

“And if, in doing so, you think of someone you know that is similar, then consider nominating them for an award so that they, too, can be celebrated.”