A short-notice deployment saw Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Peck trade Canberra’s freezing winter for a sweltering Middle East summer.
Lieutenant Commander Peck, a Maritime Warfare Officer, is deployed as the Deputy N5/Force Flow Planner in Bahrain, working for Combined Task Force (CTF) Sentinel as part of Operation MANITOU.
Whilst posted to Headquarters Joint Operations Command, Lieutenant Commander Peck said it was fortunate he had suitable planning experience to be eligible and selected at the last minute.
“I’d been waiting for an opportunity to deploy and it was great to get this one,” Lieutenant Commander Peck said.
“It was busy in the lead up to departure, not to mention it was a bit of a shock going from the beginning of winter to a Middle East summer.
“I had to get a lot done in a short period of time to make sure I could make the flight. My wife and family took it in their stride.”
Lieutenant Commander Peck is now settled into his role as part of CTF Sentinel, within the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC).
The operations work to deter terrorist and criminal activity in an extensive area, incorporating the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, and the Gulf of Aden, to reassure the merchant shipping industry.
“I work in a small team looking at the long-term allocation of naval ships in the region to support maritime security,” Lieutenant Commander Peck said.
“The plans branch plays an important part in the operational rhythm.
“We are responsible for numerous briefings and providing information to the operations branch and ensure that assigned ships are aware of their requirements.”
Lieutenant Commander Peck said a good thing about being deployed on Operation Manitou and working with the IMSC was being able to link in with planners from other foreign militaries.
“The IMSC has nations from eight different countries, including Albania, Lithuania, Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, the United States and Australia,” Lieutenant Commander Peck said.
“I learnt a lot and have enjoyed interacting with the members from other countries.
“Despite differences it is always good to find we have some common ground.”
Lieutenant Commander Peck said he wasn’t worried about missing Canberra’s winter because he loves summers at the beach.
“Hopefully when I get home we will be able to visit my mum on the Mid North Coast and take the kids for a trip to the South Coast, COVID-19 restrictions permitting,” he said.
“It will be great to take my daughter and my three boys for a surf. I have a little while to go yet though.”