James Lybrand - An amazing cultural indoctrination

Running time
2 min 10 sec
Date made
Place made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


The interesting component as CMF, or the combined maritime forces, you were, I guess, within Fifth Fleet but also a kind of a separate part to it and as an Australian Navy member, as a member of the Five Eyes, we also had a secondary role with the US Fifth Fleet, I guess on that I'll come back to in a moment, but many of the people I worked with in CMF, there was not the 33 nations represented at the time but we, for example, had Omanis, Saudis, Pakistan, Norway, Norway, Denmark, Singapore, Canada, the UAE, and I guess, the French, and Brits all in a very small office.

So actually, it was an amazing cultural indoctrination into everyone's sort of lifestyle in particular, it was based in Bahrain, in particular, you know, being placed in an Arab country that I had never had any experience with, there was an amazing introduction to Islamic culture, Arabic culture, food, and an entire lifestyle.

So it was a deployed opportunity that was quite amazing for me personally, and quite a growth experience in relation to the, I guess, your circle of people that you know, and circle of people that you have to sort of maybe modify your behaviour as a leader and commander to actually understand their point of view.

And to that end, you know, many meetings in Arabic cultures, everybody gets the opportunity to speak and you will do a normal meeting but then go around and make sure everybody has their say, at the end of it, which is a great, a great way to be right, because a lot of people who may be quiet in a meeting, you know, may speak up having been given the opportunity.

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