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Lt Michael Schoeman CN - South African Navy

SAMVOA Victoria - Veteran Michael Schoeman CN

The Navy Cross, post-nominal letters CN (Crux Navalis) is a military decoration which was instituted by the Republic of South Africa in 1987. It was awarded to members of the South African Navy for bravery. It was discontinued in 2003, but backdated awards can still be made for acts of bravery during this period.

The first award was made by the then Chief of the Navy Vice Admiral Robert Simpson-Anderson on 15 August 1994. Lt Schoeman saved a visiting Zambian General from drowning

The Navy Cross is awarded to members of the South African Navy for Exceptional Courage, Leadership, Skill, Ingenuity or Tenacity in the handling of Personal, Weaponry or other Equipment in Dangerous or Critical Situations.

This is the Navy’s highest decoration for bravery and only 19 have ever been awarded.

Lt Schoeman’s act of gallantry occurred when he rescued a visiting Zambian General from shark-infested waters off Seal Island in 2001. The General was attempting to board the SAS Gil…. from a small harbor patrol boat when he slipped, fell between the two vessels, bumped his head and lost consciousness. Wearing full battle dress, the General went straight down.

Lt Schoeman reacted immediately as the two boats were traveling alongside each other at about eight knots and there was also the danger that the General could have been hit by the propeller. He dived in and brought the General to the surface, where the General was revived and treated for his injuries on board.

The decoration was presented to Lt Schoeman by Vice Admiral Johan Retief, the Chief of the South African Navy at Cole Point Arena east Yard in Simon’s Town.

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