Commander Mark Sirois

CMDR Mark Sirois

Commander Mark Sirois was raised and schooled in Montreal, Canada and joined the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) as a Seaman Officer in June 1988. He completed a Double Major in Oceanography and Space Science degree at Royal Roads Military College in Victoria, Canada in 1993, finishing with Honours in Oceanography.

After completing his degree and at sea training, he was selected to conduct an exchange program with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), in which he joined HMAS Brisbane in 1995. Following the year long exchange, he returned to Canada having achieved his Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate to further consolidate his bridge skills aboard Protecteur. After a year posting as an Officer of the Watch, Lieutenant Sirois commenced a Shipborne Air Controller (SAC) course in Halifax, returning to the Western Fleet and joining Vancouver in July 1997. He then completed the Deck Officer course in October 1999, returning to Vancouver as one of the Heads of Department. His life/career changed significantly soon after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, as his Australian wife was pregnant with their first child and Vancouver was recalled off the United States coast to be the first Canadian ship to deploy to the Arabian Gulf to combat the war on terror. He gained valuable experience as part of the USS John C Stennis battle group prior to leaving the RCN after 14 years of service and joining the RAN the 25 April 2002.

On entry, he served aboard Warramunga, conducting OP RELEX II patrols off Christmas Island. During 2003 he completed the Principal Warfare Officer (PWO) course specialising in Surface and Anti Submarine Warfare and then joined Stuart in 2004. During this period, he was involved in an operational deployment (OP SLIPPER) to the North Arabian Gulf in which he received a Commanding Officer Commendation for his actions as the on watch PWO during a coordinated waterborne improvised explosive device attack by terrorists against USS Firebolt and the two oil platforms being protected. Upon completion of his duties in Stuart in 2005, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and became a member of the PWO Staff at HMAS Watson. After two years as directing staff, he was selected to take on the extremely demanding position as the Operations Coordinator at Fleet Headquarters in July 2007. He returned to Warramunga in November 2008 as the Executive Officer (XO), completing a Mission Readiness Workup with a following second operational deployment (OP SLIPPER) to the Arabian Gulf. Upon his return to Australia from the six month deployment, he was given the challenge of coordinating one ship company to man two Major Fleet Units, a first in the RAN, assuming the role as XO for both Perth and Warramunga simultaneously. Having completed multi-national exercises RIMPAC and KAKADU and high profile international engagement port visits in North East Asia, his time as XO culminated in 2010 with being awarded the Lord Nelson Sword of Excellence for outstanding leadership. Lieutenant Commander Sirois completed the Australian Command and Staff Course in 2011, additionally achieving a Graduate Certificate in Maritime Studies and was promoted to Commander on completion of the course. He has recently achieved a Masters in Maritime Studies from UOW and performed the role of Assistant Chief of Staff Navy Strategic Command.

Commander Sirois assumed command of HMAS Newcastle on 8 December 2015.