A recent training activity between the Australian and Canadian navies in the Indo-Pacific was particularly significant for one Royal Australian Navy member.
Lieutenant Commander Stephen Wall spent 16 years as an officer in the Royal Canadian Navy before joining the Royal Australian Navy in 2018.
Lieutenant Commander Wall is now HMAS Warramunga’s principal warfare officer and is currently at sea on a regional presence deployment.
Along with HMAS Brisbane, Warramunga recently rendezvoused with Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Winnipeg for an in-company transit in the South China Sea, conducting small-boat operations, flying operations and maritime manoeuvres.
The experience was particularly special for Lieutenant Commander Wall.
“I was Winnipeg’s gunnery officer when the ship deployed in the Gulf of Aden for counter-piracy operations in 2009. I still have friends in the Canadian Navy who are in Winnipeg, so [the recent rendezvous] was a fantastic opportunity,” Lieutenant Commander Wall said.
“When I was in the Canadian Navy, we always enjoyed working with the Australian Navy.”
It was shortly after his Gulf of Aden deployment in Winnipeg that Lieutenant Commander Wall first visited Australia on Exercise Talisman Sabre, sparking an interest in immigrating.
“That was my first visit to Australia, and obviously it made an impression because I’m now an Australian citizen and a member of the Royal Australian Navy,” he said.
Lieutenant Commander Wall said the training between Brisbane, Warramunga and Winnipeg was an example of why it was important to work with partner nations in the region.
“It has been said that the lifeblood of international commerce is salt water, and that’s true for nations like Australia and Canada, so we share a commitment to the international rules-based order,” he said.
Brisbane and Warramunga remain deployed and are conducting a number of navy-to-navy engagements with partner nations.