Capability is what counts

Published on LEUT Des Paroz (author), LSIS Paul McCallum (photographer)

Commanding Officer HMAS Anzac, Commander Belinda Wood, RAN on Anzac's bridge wing as she departs Fleet Base East, Sydney. (photo: LSIS Paul McCallum)
Commanding Officer HMAS Anzac, Commander Belinda Wood, RAN on Anzac's bridge wing as she departs Fleet Base East, Sydney.

Born and bred in Canberra, the Commanding Officer of the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Anzac, Commander Belinda Wood, has spent her Navy career moving between sea postings and key staff positions in Canberra, where she lives with her spouse Kristy.

“Having been involved in both the strategic and operational aspects of the Navy, I have realised that there are many different skills and options provided by the diverse group of people we have.

“The job of all members of the Australian Defence Force is to protect Australians and Australian interests, at the direction of the Government.

“For the members of the Navy, this means serving at sea and working ashore where we receive direction from and provide advice to Government.

“In my career to date I have been fortunate to be able to undertake roles with increasing responsibility in both areas,” Commander Wood said.

Commanding Officer HMAS Anzac, Commander Belinda Wood, RAN on the bridge wing before departing Fleet Base East, Sydney.

Commanding Officer HMAS Anzac, Commander Belinda Wood, RAN on the bridge wing before departing Fleet Base East, Sydney.



Commander Wood joined the Navy as a Midshipman in 1992, undertaking initial officer training at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, and at the Royal Australian Naval College at HMAS Creswell in Jervis Bay, including brief postings to the ships HMAS Jervis Bay and Tobruk.

Whilst undertaking Maritime Warfare training at HMAS Watson, Commander Wood undertook aspects of her training on several of the Navy’s major vessels, including HMA Ships Swan and Kanimbla, as well as an exchange posting in USS Germantown.

“Working with the US Navy so early in my sea time gave me an appreciation for the importance of developing and maintaining a close working relationship with our allies.

“Much like people, individual ships have their individual capabilities, but these capabilities are multiplied when ship’s work together in task forces. The effect is even greater when we can develop interoperability with our Allies,” Commander Wood said.

Commander Wood’s sea time has included the Fremantle class patrol boats HMA Ships Townsville and Ipswich, which she commanded during a busy period of border protection duties.

Commander Wood has also served in the guided missile frigates HMA Ships Newcastle and Adelaide and the helicopter frigates Anzac, the ship she now commands, and HMAS Stuart, in which she served as Executive Officer.

“During my time in frigates I have participated in a wide range of operations, including a Southern Ocean patrol of Australia’s Antarctic Region, peacekeeping operations in East Timor, and several Middle East deployments.

“This included the naval gunfire support provided by Anzac to the Royal Marines during the conflict in Iraq in 2003.

“The Navy’s fleet of frigates are a key component of our high end warfighting capability, and this capability is something that must be continuously honed in order to be effective,” Commander Wood said.

Ashore, Commander Wood has had several staff postings in Canberra, including a two year term as Staff Officer to the Chief of Navy, and as the Project Manager for the Future Frigate program that will ultimately culminate in the next generation of frigates to replace the current Anzac class fleet.

HMAS Anzac sits at anchor in Jervis Bay.

HMAS Anzac sits at anchor in Jervis Bay.


“Ultimately capability is our highest priority.

“Each member of the Navy, regardless of gender or cultural background, is employed, posted and promoted based on the capability they bring to the table,” Commander Wood said.

“Navy’s mission is to ‘fight and win at sea’, a mission we can only achieve if we can bring out the best from every individual, every department, every ship and all the support provided by the various members serving ashore.

“It also relies heavily upon the support we get from our families so that during our time away from the ship we can recharge our batteries and be ready for the next tasking.”

Commander Belinda Wood assumed command of Anzac on 10 December 2014.

HMAS Anzac will deploy on NORTHERN TRIDENT 2015 during which it will participate in commemorations on Gallipoli in April, followed by a series of important international engagements.