Aussies and Canucks deployed in Manama, Bahrain, to lead the next rotation of Combined Task Force 150 (December 2014 to April 2015) enjoyed some friendly sporting competition on 26 November, including a game of 'touch footy'.
Sports Day in Canada is an annual national celebration of the power of sport to build community and get Canadians moving. For military personnel, it is a great opportunity to celebrate the importance of sport in military life.
“Sports are an integral element of the fitness training for serving members,” said Commodore Brian Santarpia, Royal Canadian Navy Officer and Task Force Commander.
“Maintaining a high level of fitness is key to ensuring that our members are ready to meet the everyday physical demands of their jobs, as well as the unique challenges of missions and operations. Also, practicing sports on a regular basis contributes to fostering esprit de corps and teamwork among our team members.”
Canada and Australia are currently sharing the command of Combined Task Force 150, having done so since 4 December. Seven Royal Australian Navy members are embedded with the Canadian contingent in a fully integrated headquarter in Manama, Bahrain.
For Australian Navy Captain Nick Stoker, Task Force Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, celebrating Canada’s Sports Day was a unique occasion to shift the focus during preparations to assume command whilst also building team cohesion.
“The Australian Defence Force considers mental and physical fitness most important. Not only is fitness important to each individual sailor, but to the team as a whole,” he said.
“It was a great opportunity to show our Canadian colleagues that some challenging and physical sports can be played outside an ice rink," he added.
The deployment of military staff to Combined Task Force 150 represents Australia’s most recent contribution to Operation MANITOU, the Australian Government’s contribution to the international effort to promote maritime security, stability and prosperity in the Middle East Region.
Through maritime security operations, regional engagements and capacity building with the regional naval and security forces, Combined Task Force 150 works to deter and deny terrorist organisations from using the maritime domain to fund their activities through the smuggling of weapons, illicit cargo and narcotics while ensuring the safe passage of merchant ships in some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.