Please help us give Lieutenant Commander Grant Hamilton from the Australian Navy a big Seattle welcome! Based in San Diego, Lieutenant Commander Hamilton will be the key speaker for this year’s Dawn Service on April 22nd. He’s provided us with a little Q&A to help get to know him.
Come along to the event, mingle with other Aussie and New Zealanders living in Seattle, and hear more about his story. Let us know you are coming by registering here.
What is your role as a Lieutenant Commander?
In the Australian Navy the rank of LCDR is the most senior of the junior officers, the next rank up, Commander, is the most junior rank of the senior officer cadre. The rank itself is shared by numerous branches in the Navy and the role is determined largely by the branch or rate and less so by the rank. The most popular branches include Logistics/Supply, Engineering and the Executive branches.
In a Destroyer or Frigate at sea a LCDR would be the Head of their respective department. As a Warfare Officer I belong to the Executive branch and at sea a LCDR Warfare Officer will be the Operations Officer or Executive Officer/Second in Command.
Unlike the other departments, only Officers in the Executive branch can go on to Command a warship. On smaller patrol boats or Mine Hunters the Commanding Officer is a LCDR.
Personally, I have completed several operational deployments as the Operations Officer and on return to Australia am hoping to return to sea on a Destroyer or Frigate as the Executive Officer.
What is your role as a Liaison Officer?
My role here in the US is to continue to facilitate high end warfighting discussions both technical and tactical primarily between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the US. This role has also extended to other partners including Japan, Netherlands and Mexico. How long have you lived and worked in the US? I have been in the US since July 2017 and expect to be here until at least July 2019. I have worked with the US Navy in the past in Hawaii, Japan and spent 9 months in the Kingdom of Bahrain at the 5th Fleet Headquarters.
Why is ANZAC Day important to you?
Whenever I can, I try to march with my brother. We are part of a Navy family so Anzac Day has always been a significant event for us as far back as I can remember. I feel a tremendous sense of pride when I am able to march and it gives the current serving members a link to the past. Truthfully my favorite part of the day is the gap between the Dawn Service and stepping off for the march. We start to form up from 0800 in Sydney and don't usually step off until 1000 so there are two hours of bumping into old ship mates and swapping stories with the older veterans before the work starts.
Why are community ANZAC Day events important (especially those held outside of Australia)?
Australia and New Zealand share a unique heritage and while we have individual, sometimes clashing identities, the relationship between two countries is extremely close. When I am asked to describe further I usually liken it to a sibling rivalry. When two people are so close as we are there tends to be a lot of "in" jokes. Community events such as ANZAC Day celebrations overseas allow expats to gather and let their collective guard down, because while I might pick on my "brother" you aren't allowed to!
What does the "ANZAC spirit" mean to you? Do you see it in the work you do?
ANZAC Spirit is seen across all services, across both countries every single day. The Spirit of ANZAC to me is one of "I won't let you down mate". At sea it is the 20-something-year-old Officers and Sailors steaming through the wee hours of a guts watch, monitoring temperatures and pressures of key engineering equipment, keeping a look out by sight and hearing as well as all other available apparatus and ensuring that, this missile or this flight control surface functions properly when it needs to.
To me the ANZAC Spirit is about giving it all, to do your very best; not for yourself or individual glory but so that your mates get their patrol done right and get home safe. What are you looking forward to most about visiting Seattle and speaking at the Dawn Service? Meeting other people who care about this day as much as I do.