When cousins Ben Stewart and Nik Schoeffel-Weber joined the Navy and Army respectively, they never thought they might one day turn up on the same ship together, but Exercise SEA SERIES has them both onboard HMAS Canberra.
Hailing from the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Lieutenant Stewart is an officer-of-the-watch in Canberra and has been with the crew since before the ship commissioned.
His cousin, Private Schoeffel-Weber is with 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, in Alpha Company’s manoeuvre support platoon, which provides direct fire support on operations using a range of weapons.
“I was on the bridge and saw Nik on the flight deck doing PT and I thought ‘Hey I know that guy’,” Lieutenant Stewart said.
“I knew Ben was on the ship, but I didn’t know how to find him,” Private Schoeffel-Weber said.
“In the end it was our bosses that set up the meeting.
“The crew of Canberra has been really friendly, showing us around and helping us out.
“It’s been good to learn the ship’s routine over the few weeks we are on board.
“I hope to be back on the ship for future exercises so we are learning as much as we can now before we are on board for a longer operation.”
After completing their current exercise, the cousins are planning to catch up again soon at Private Schoeffel-Weber’s family home in Macksville, New South Wales, as directed by their mums.
In the meantime they and their teammates will be kept busy as the ship works her way through the exercise.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20152551_29.