Chief of the Navy kidnaps girlfriend on submarine, proposes marriage
The ex-naval chief was subpoenaed for kidnapping his girlfriend on a romantic night on a submarine to ask her to marry him.
Then-Vice Admiral Michael Noonan got on one knee to pop the question to his partner Samantha Heighway while they were overnight aboard HMAS Waller on June 23 last year.
Mr Noonan, now retired, had given Ms Heighway permission to join him on the ship, which was sailing off the coast of Western Australia.
Romantic snaps from the occasion show the couple standing on the Collins-class submarine, dressed in military fatigues, with camouflage pants and life jackets around their necks.
Then-Vice Admiral Michael Noonan got on one knee to pop the question to his partner Samantha Heighway while they were overnight aboard HMAS Waller on June 23 last year
Beloved snaps of the couple on board the ship were shared on Ms Heighway’s Instagram
Mr Noonan wore his navy jacket while his wife-to-be donned a dark wool cap.
The images were posted to Ms Heighway’s Instagram account, with a snap showing the loved-up couple sharing a kiss.
In another picture, Mr Noonan stands with his back to the camera as he hugs his fiancee, who proudly shows off her new engagement ring to the photographer.
While the submarine was at sea filming for defense worker recruitment, the Ministry of Defense admitted Mr Noonan’s decision to bring his partner on board was “not routine”.
Mr Noonan retired from Defense in September 2022 after 38 years of service
While the submarine was at sea filming for Defense Forces recruitment, the Ministry of Defense described Mr Noonan’s decision to bring his partner on board as “non-routine”.
“The defense is informed that Mr. Noonan proposed to his partner while at sea,” a spokesman said.
While their romantic getaway broke no rules, the rep added, “It is not common for defense members to take a civilian partner, spouse (or) relative on an overnight sea voyage.”
In an independent move, Mr Noonan was replaced as chief of the Navy by Vice Admiral Mark Hammond five days later.
The proposal was criticized by former digger and coalition defense spokesman Phillip Thompson, who argued it was evidence of a double standard that existed between those of different ranks in the force.
“If it was a soldier in the lowest rank they would definitely get in trouble for taking someone to a military equipment or base and they would be reprimanded,” he told Daily Mail Australia.
“I think there’s a double standard.”
Mr Thompson said the move also put members of the Navy in an “embarrassing position”.
The proposal was opposed by former coalition dredge and defense spokesman Phillip Thompson (centre).
“The Navy is very professional and does their job very well,” he said, arguing that he didn’t think the proposal was right.
Mr Thompson said there needs to be a procedure in place that applies to all staff.
“Military gear isn’t anyone’s personal gear, it’s definitely not the Chief of Navy’s love submarine,” he added.
“I think there has to be a process if a person in your branch of the Defense Forces does something that is not in line with best practice or what the equipment is being used for.”
Mr Noonan retired from Defense in September 2022 after 38 years of service.
Mr Noonan had given his now fiancé permission to board the submarine
He attended the Royal Australian Naval College in 1984 and after a distinguished career that included coalition counter-terrorism operations, he was appointed Deputy Chief of the Navy in 2016 and Chief of the Navy two years later.
Ms Heighway congratulated him on his career in a Facebook post at the time.
“Michael Noonan…congratulations on your service to our county, your selfless leadership and in inspiring the next generations who will selflessly help protect our country.
“To say this person, Michael Noonan, that I adore and am truly inspired by would be an understatement.”
Daily Mail Australia has reached out to Mr Noonan for comment.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11624895/Ex-Navy-boss-Michael-Noonan-slammed-proposing-girlfriend-military-submarine.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Chief of the Navy kidnaps girlfriend on submarine, proposes marriage