A love of adventure and a commitment to give back to a country that he calls home led Anthony Hammond, Ex-Forces Recruiter at FDM to join the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). Over the next six years he served as a Warfare Officer, a role that was as varied as it was exciting. Today, he continues to be a reservist.
For World Oceans Day this year, we want to share Anthony’s fascinating story of life at sea and the crucial missions he was a part of to protect oceans and marine life.
The concept for ‘World Oceans Day’ was first introduced in 1992 at the UN’s Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and has since been observed on the 8th of June every year. It is a way to celebrate our planet’s oceans and their fundamental link to our lives whilst raising awareness about the need and ways to protect them.
The theme for World Oceans Day this year is Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing. Anthony’s story reflects this theme as it outlines his personal and professional journey and the importance of adaptability and growth in the face of change.
Ensuring maritime security
There’s no such thing as a typical day in the navy. So, for Anthony, one day could be training for an operation, while another could involve trialling new upgrades or technology. As a Warfare Officer, his main role was navigation and ensuring that a ship reached its destination in a safe and timely way. However, he was also part of several operations doing anti-illegal fishing patrols across the Pacific Ocean.
His team were also involved in regular conservation efforts including multiple Southern Ocean patrols to ensure marine sanctuaries near Antarctica weren’t fished or exploited.
Anthony believes that the RNZN always adheres to the highest standard of MARPOL regulations. ‘The world has moved to a greener and more sustainable way of looking at how we interact with the ocean and I’m proud that in my experience the navy has always been ahead of the curve with that’, he said.
Working with whales
One of the most memorable experiences for Anthony was assisting a scientific research operation to track the movement of humpback whales near the Kermadec Islands. The task was to deliver and aid scientists in a really remote region as they tracked, observed and documented the migration patterns of ocean wildlife.
He recalls being out in a small boat and being surrounded by dozens of breaching humpback whales. The struggle was trying to get photos or collect skin samples from them and not getting landed on!
Colourful myths and folklore are a big part of life at sea. Anthony says that his favourite myth from the navy that is still in practice today is paying homage to King Neptune’s court every time you cross the equator at sea. Not doing it is considered to bring bad luck for the ship and crew.
The homage involves holding a big ceremony on board in which all those have never crossed the equator before are offered to King Neptune and inducted into his court.
Those who haven’t been across the equator are called ‘tadpole’ and once you’ve been inducted into King Neptune’s court you’re considered a ‘shellback’.
Like any other profession, being in any military has its challenges. Long periods of separation from loved ones can be difficult, but Anthony believes it helps you form really tight bonds with those you go on deployments with.
He said, ‘I loved being a part of a team that I believed in. I believed in the work we were doing and the team performed highly. It is definitely the people, the camaraderie and the teamwork that makes the challenges worth it.’
After completing several successful maritime safety missions in the navy, Anthony felt ready for a new adventure. This time, he wanted to try his hand at the commercial sector. To prepare for this transition from the navy to a corporate role, he took online courses, read business books and spoke with a personal mentor at length who had been through a similar process.
After arriving in the UK, he started to look for jobs for ex-military personnel and eventually came across FDM. A combination of transferable skills and lessons learnt in the navy including discipline and teamwork propped him up for a smooth transition into a commercial role.
Support at FDM
The FDM Ex-Forces programme helps service leavers, military veterans, serving reservists, blue light services workers, and their spouses aiming to launch meaningful second careers.
The programme is run by ex-forces personnel who can help you on a guided journey into a commercial role with interview prep, CV advice and ongoing mentoring.
Anthony shared his insights for anyone curious about starting a second civilian career. He said, ‘I think leaving the military is a scary thing after doing a long stint. You don’t know what is really out there for you and FDM can help you make the transition a little easier. It’s a soft landing with the whole Ex-Forces team being a part of that community.’