At 27 years of age, Lieutenant Albert Moule is responsible for sailing his warship, the Adelaide class Guided Missile Frigate HMAS Melbourne, to the right place, at the right time, in the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO).
On Sunday, Melbourne departed for the MEAO, where she'll conduct maritime security patrols to counter terrorism, piracy and smuggling as part of Operation SLIPPER. Her role will include ensuring maritime security in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean as part of the multi-national Combined Maritime Forces task group.
Delegated by the Commanding Officer, the Officer of the Watch must ensure that his leg of the patrol is accomplished safely, and in accordance with the navigation plan. When 'on watch', he is responsible for not only the safety of more than 230 of his shipmates and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of naval capability, but in the case of this Operation SLIPPER deployment - any slip of diligence can directly affect maritime security patrols with the coalition forces that Melbourne is operating with as part of the international war against terrorism.
From Mittagong in Southern New South Wales, Lieutenant Moule attended Bowral High School and then went on to complete a Bachelor of Science with Honours at the University of Western Sydney.
He joined the Navy in 2009, first attending the New Entry Officer Course at HMAS Creswell, and then the Junior Warfare Application Course at HMAS Watson.
“I felt a sense of duty to serve my country, and I also wanted to embrace the personal challenges that were sure to come as a Maritime Warfare Officer,” he said.
In just three short years, LEUT Moule completed NEOC, JWAC, Phase IV Sea Training (onboard HMAS Anzac) and finally was awarded his Bridge Warfare Certificate in December 2012. Now he is one of a handful of Officers of the Watch who will steam Melbourne to the Area of Operations to relieve HMAS Newcastle, who has been on station since April this year.
Although this is LEUT Moule's first deployment as an accredited Officer of the Watch, has previously deployed to the MEAO onboard HMAS Anzac, and to Australia's northern waters where he took part in border protection patrols as part of Operation RESOLUTE.
LEUT Moule said that there has already been a number of standout moments in his first four years in the Royal Australian Navy.
“I have felt personal satisfaction from overcoming the challenges associated with Mission Readiness work-ups, and have really appreciated the life-long bonds of mateship that I have already made,” he said.
“I eagerly anticipate the career challenges that I will encounter during the course of this deployment, as well as those that I will face throughout my Naval career.”
Upon completion of this deployment next year, LEUT Moule is especially looking forward to seeing his family again.
Melbourne’s deployment represents the 56th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy ship to the Middle East Area of Operations since 1990.