“Military-issued” best friends are stewards on HMCS Regina

Sailor’s Second Class Colton Tom (centre) and Liam Fisher (font) are promoted to their current rank by Commander Landon Creasy (left) and Lieutenant (Navy) Rebbeca Macdonald on Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Regina on 8 February 2021.

“Military-issued” best friends are stewards on HMCS Regina

By Lt(N) Jeff Klassen,

Two base brats from different coasts meet up in basic training, become best friends, get posted to the same Canadian warship, get promoted at the same time – and somewhere in there they buy puppies together.

That’s the story of Sailor Second Class (S2) Liam Fisher, 21, from Greenwood, Nova Scotia, and his “best friend” S2 Colton Tom, 24, from Victoria, British Columbia. The two have a sort of special comradery that they’ve developed through their military career as stewards.

“I say he’s my military issued best friend,” said S2 Tom.

Both S2 Tom and S2 Fisher decided to join the military because they have parents who’ve served. S2 Fisher’s father is Master Warrant Brian Fisher, a Meteorological Technician at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown and S2 Tom’s dad, Ron Tom, retired as a Chief Petty Officer Second Class Boatswain on the west coast.

S2s Fisher and Tom met for the first time during their 2018 basic training, in the laundry room of ‘The Mega’ (the giant building in St. Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec where most basic training goes on).

“We weren’t in the same platoon,” said S2 Tom. “During the first few weeks we were hanging out in the laundry room and neither of us had met another steward before, we were so excited. We didn’t even really know what the job was about yet.”

Throughout basic training they spent their down time messaging each other or hanging out in the cafeteria in front of the Subway restaurant on base. S2 Tom graduated Basic Training first (he was two weeks ahead) and moved to Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Halifax for the basic steward trade qualification course. Two weeks later, S2 Fisher followed to go on the same course, and the two were together again.

From there they had short stints working together at the Maritime Operation Group 5 galley at CFB Halifax, then at CFB Esquimalt in the Formation Auxiliary Personnel unit, and then at Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Vancouver’s shore office. They couldn’t believe it. With every job change the military kept moving them around together and they became better and better friends. While in Esquimalt they even bought puppies together (S2 Tom’s is called Benny and S2 Fisher’s are called Dolly and Badger).

“We wanted to have dogs that could play with each other all the time and since we were good friends we thought it was perfect,’ said S2 Fisher.

When the two were working in Halifax, S2 Fisher showed S2 Tom around, when they were in Esquimalt, it was reversed. 

In September 2019, the two finally got what they consider to be their first real postings as stewards aboard HMCS Regina.

On Regina, S2 Tom works as a “baby wardroom buffer,” and S2 Fisher is the steward for the ship’s Commanding Officer. On ship they sleep in the same mess and they are always spending their spare time together. They’ve been nicknamed “Fish and Tom” or “Tom and Jerry” – people just switch it up, though “Tom and Jerry” seems to be winning.

“We play on each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” said S2 Fisher.

“Yeah, Fish is good at the fancy stuff and I’m better at the hands on, carrying things, type stuff. We complement each other,” said S2 Tom.

On February 8, 2020, the two got their first promotion since basic training. Usually people are called up one by one on the parade square but Regina’s Commanding Officer, Commander Landon Creasy, in tribute of their unique friendship, called them both up at the same time. The two were happy to have their friendship celebrated this way.

“There is no way I could have gotten this far without Fish – and I’m not being cheesy,” said S2 Tom.

“Yeah, Tom’s my support. We’ve been with each other all the way,’ said S2 Fisher.