Captain Warren Bairstow

CAPT Warren Bairstow

Captain Warren Bairstow was born and educated in Sydney, New South Wales and joined the Navy in 1981 whereupon he completed his academic and Naval studies. He graduated from the Royal Australian Naval College in 1983 and conducted his sea training as a Seaman Officer and award of progressive watchkeeping qualifications in HMA Ships Adelaide, Swan, Gawler and Tobruk. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1988.

Following this early sea phase were shore postings to Navy Office as Staff Officer Surface Air Weapons, a very short UK exchange in Sea Surge and then to HMAS Cerberus as the Course Implementation Officer of the Gunnery School.

In 1991 Lieutenant Bairstow undertook Principle Warfare Officer (PWO) training at HMAS Watson, qualifying as a Gunnery and Air Warfare sub-specialist. Following short stints as the Assistant Fleet Gunnery Officer and Gunnery Officer of the guided missile destroyer HMAS Brisbane, he consolidated and honed his warfare skills as the Gunnery Officer and Operations Officer of the guided missile frigates HMA Ships Adelaide and Canberra. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander mid-1995.

Lieutenant Commander Bairstow spent the next three years in the PWO Faculty as Directing Staff PWO G then Officer in Charge. In May 1999 he assumed command of the Fremantle Class Patrol Boat HMAS Gladstone.

After this very fulfilling time in command, Lieutenant Commander Bairstow was selected as a student of the inaugural Australian Command and Staff Course in early 2001. He graduated with a Masters in Management (Defence Studies) and was promoted to Commander in preparation for his next posting as Executive Officer Cerberus.

During this posting he led the reunification of the Command Element, completed the Category School Review and implemented reform through the Category School Enhancement Program. His tenure as Executive Officer Cerberus was very rewarding with selection for his second sea command, the Anzac class frigate HMAS Arunta, and award of the Conspicuous Service Cross for training development. Commander Bairstow assumed command of Arunta in mid-2004.

For the remainder of 2004 Commander Bairstow conducted a North East Asian deployment and participated in several regional exercises which included high profile visits to Tokyo and Vladivostok as the Flagship for the Maritime Commander. In 2005 Commander Bairstow transitioned the ship out of a major refit and capability upgrade and commenced the Flexi-Crewing Trial as part of the Sea Change Program.

Commander Bairstow next assumed the role of Commander Sea Training - Minor War Vessels early in 2006. This was a most challenging and busy year which involved transitioning the new Armidale Class Patrol Boat into service, the enhancement of Boarding Party tactics for Border Protection operations and two high profile regional exercises with Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

On promotion to Captain in December 2006 he joined Navy’s Sea Change Program and became its Director General. Captain Bairstow completed a seven month operational deployment as the Chief of Staff of the Headquarters Joint Task Force 633 in Baghdad. Upon returning to Australia, he moved into the Policy Development Branch as a Senior Adviser in mid-2008.

This phase of Captain Bairstow’s Canberra experience was brought to an end in late- 2008 when he assumed a Tactical Warfare Commander and Fleet Battle Staff position in Fleet Headquarters, as Deputy Commodore Flotillas and Commander Australian Surface Task Group. This role in Fleet Battle Staff saw him deployed as the Deputy Commander and Commander Task Group in Australia’s inaugural Combined Task Force 150 staff in the Middle East Area of Operations.

Captain Bairstow continued the change management and personnel theme to his career when he was selected for a most challenging position in Navy’s culture reform program as the Program Director New Generation Navy in late 2010. Following his selection in 2012 for the role of Naval Adviser – London, he became the Lead Planner for the exercises in support of the RAN International Fleet Review until taking up his role in London in January 2014. As the Naval Adviser-London, Captain Bairstow enjoyed a most rewarding posting, both personally and professionally, and returned to Fleet Headquarters as the Commander Mine Warfare, Clearance Diving, Hydrographic, Meteorological and Patrol Force in January 2017.

Captain Bairstow assumed Command of HMAS Creswell and Director Training Authority – Initial Training Leadership and Management on 18 January 2019. He is both humbled and thrilled to be Captain of the College and to be afforded the opportunity to shape and develop our junior officers and sailors.