Commander Richard Brickacek

Commander Brickacek was born in Sydney, NSW and joined the Royal Australian Navy as a Seaman Officer in 2004. Serving for a brief period on HMAS Tobruk, Midshipman Brickacek continued his navigational training after promotion to Sub-Lieutenant, on HMA Ships Brunei and Warramunga culminating in the award of his Bridge Warfare Certificate (BWC) in January 2007.

After consolidation of his BWC and deployment to Iraq as part of Operation CATALYST, Lieutenant Brickacek undertook training to specialise as a Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Officer (MCDO), being awarded Dux of his Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) component in 2008.

As a qualified MCDO, his first posting was at Australian Clearance Diving Team Four (AUSCDT 4) as the Operations and Maritime Tactical Operations (MTO) element officer. This culminated in the attachment to the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment (2CER) with follow-on to the 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR) and deployment to the Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan on Operation SLIPPER as an Explosive Ordnance Technician.

This included rendering safe Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and participating in combat operations with Australian, Dutch and United States Troops as well as mentoring Afghan forces.

Lieutenant Brickacek was awarded a DSM for his service in Afghanistan, and particularly for gallantry displayed on 20/21 August 2010, while leading an explosive ordnance team in Kipto and Shah Zafar, on Operation SLIPPER. Two members of his team were killed and others wounded by an improvised explosive device which detonated a few metres from the party. The citation noted his ‘…exemplary courage and composure, selflessness and leadership in perilous circumstances. On two occasions following fatalities and injuries from improvised explosive devise attacks, he ensured timely and effective first aid and evacuations and protected others from some of the worst experiences of battlefield action by personally sanitising the incident scene and recovering the fallen comrades.’

On return to Australia, he became Staff officer Clearance Diving and Explosive Ordnance Disposal in the Mine Clearance Diving Task Group (MCDTG) and was the lead planner for Operation RENDER SAFE 2011 in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, where 21 tonnes of explosive remnants from World War II were disposed of. He also represented Sea Training Group in Mine Hunter Coastal (MHC) ships and AUSCDT work ups and Unit Readiness Evaluations.

Promoted Lieutenant Commander in 2013, he joined HMAS Yarra as Executive Officer and participated in border security operations on Operation RESOLUTE, a search for the wreck of HMA Submarine AE1 and a visit to Melbourne for the presentation of the Unit Citation for Gallantry to HMAS Yarra (II). In November 2013 he deployed to Operation RENDER SAFE as Commander Task Group (CTG) 663.1 in charge of multinational EOD teams consisting of Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, Untied States and Solomon islands including a deployable autonomous underwater vehicle team. He was directly responsible to Commander Joint Task Force (CJTF) 663 in the Solomon Islands.

In 2014, Lieutenant Commander Brickacek was appointed as the Officer in Charge of the RAN Diving School. Re-implementing the Clearance Diving Officers Selection Test and amalgamating it with the sailors test resulted in the Clearance Diving Selection Test (CDST). During his tenure the school transitioned to the ADF Diving School which the Royal Australian Navy was made the Manager of Joint Training of Diving and the Tri-Service training establishment for Diving incorporating Army Dive Wing was formed.

Selected for Command in June 2015, Lieutenant Commander Brickacek assumed command of the MHC HMAS Gascoyne in December 2016. He was appointed as CTU 634.3 of the MHC TG consisting of HMA Ships Gascoyne and Huon to commit to the first ever MHC deployment to South Korea and Japan for participation in a ROKN and JMSDF multi-national exercise, which is the furthest a MHC has gone off the Australian station at that time.

In 2018 he completed a Master’s Degree in Project Management at the University of New South Wales and in 2019 attended and completed the Australian Command and Staff Course in Canberra. Upon completion Richard was promoted to Commander and has taken up his second command as Commander of the Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Squadron.