Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Power Royal Navy met his namesake Lieutenant Benjamin Power Royal Australian Navy whilst both were serving in the Indian Ocean.
The meeting of the two Powers took place whilst both were operating under direct support to Combined Task Force 150. Lieutenant Commander Ben Power Principal Warfare Officer (PWO) from HMS St Albans met up with Lieutenant Ben Power, also a PWO from Her Majesty’s Australian Ship Melbourne. The unlikely coincidence took place when the two ships took the opportunity to exchange members of each other’s crews for a few hours to see how the ships differ.
HMS St Albans Ben Power said: ‘It was a great opportunity to meet my namesake from the other side of the world, exchange gifts and discuss the similarities between our two Commonwealth navies.”
Bizarrely, both officers have led very similar careers up to this point. They are former Fighter Controllers and each has served on exchange with the RAF/RAAF as AWACs (in full) Weapons Controllers.
HMAS Melbourne Ben Power said: ‘What an extraordinary coincidence that two officers of Her Majesty’s Commonwealth should meet, bearing the same name and both expertly skilled in the fine art of Air Warfare and Fighter Controlling!’
Once the brief stop was over both ships resumed their patrols conducting reassurance and deterrence operations in support of CTF 150. CTF 150 is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). Its mission is to promote maritime security in order to counter terrorist acts and related illegal activities, which terrorists use to fund or conceal their movements.
CTF 150’s Area of Operation (AOO) spans over 3.2 million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman. This area is a vital artery of world trade that includes the main shipping routes from the Far East to Europe and the US with over 23,000 shipping movements per year.