Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Athabaskan (DDG 282)

HMCS Athabaskan crest

History

Third of her class, and built by the Davie Shipbuilding Co., Lauzon, Athabaskan was commissioned on 30 September 1972.  On 26 November 1981, she was dispatched, along with Algonquin and Preserver, to the aid of the M.V. Euro Princess, which was badly holed and drifting down on the drill-rig Rowan Juneau, off Sable Island.  Rescue helicopters took off the ship's crew, while Athabaskan’s Sea King evacuated 44 from the drill-rig despite 60-knot winds.  This procedure had to be done “free-deck” at both ends, owing to a malfunction of her Beartrap.  The abandoned merchant ship was recovered by CGS Alert.  On 24 August 1990, Athabaskan departed Halifax as one of three ships representing Canada in the Persian Gulf conflict, returning on 7 April 1991.  That October she was turned over to MIL, Lauzon, for her TRUMP refit, after which, on 3 August 1994, she was provisionally accepted by the Navy.  In the fall of 1995 she took part, with Kootenay, in the two-month Exercise Unitas, along with ships from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Spain, the U.S. and Uruguay.  In 1999 Athabaskan spent six months with SNFL, rejoining the Force at the beginning of 2000.  On 3 August that year she was handed a rather bizarre assignment: to board (via helicopter) the GTS Katie 160 kilometres off Newfoundland.  The freighter had a cargo of Canadian military equipment destined from Kosovo to Bécancour, Que., which her charterer had refused to land because of a dispute over payment.  She was compelled by the boarding party to deliver her cargo as originally intended.

In September 2005, with Toronto, Ville de Québec and the CCGS Sir William Alexander, she deployed to Louisiana to assist disaster relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina.  On 21 April 2006, as flagship of the NATO Standing Maritime Group One (SNMG 1) she was moored at Devonport UK to mark the 80th birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II.  In January 2010, with Halifax, she deployed to provide disaster relief following the major earthquake in Haiti.  That same year, on 29 June 2010, she was the the command ship for HM Queen Elizabeth II for the International Fleet Review marking the Canadian Naval Centennial.  Following a refit in St Catherine’s, Ontario, while being towed back to Halifax in December 2012, she broke loose from her tow off Cape Breton Island, sustaining some hull damage. 

 

Quick Facts

  • Builder:                      Davie Shipbuilding and Repairing Co. Ltd., Lauzon, QC
  • Laid down:                 1 Jan 1969      
  • Launched:                  27 Nov 1970  
  • Commissioned:          30 Sep 1972

 

Commanding Officers

  • Cdr                  R. D. Yanow                           30/09/72-06/09/74
  • Cdr                  G. L. Edwards                         06/09/74-29/03/76
  • Cdr                  J. C. Slade                             29/03/76-07/07/78
  • Cdr                  J. B. O'Reilly                           07/07/78-07/07/80
  • Cdr                  J. W. McIntosh                       07/07/80-02/08/81
  • Cdr                  K. R. Scotten                          02/08/81-31/03/84
  • Cdr                  D. Cogdon                              31/03/84-16/05/86
  • Cdr                  G. R. Maddison                        16/05/86-14/04/88
  • Cdr                  J. D. Peacocke                        14/04/88-11/07/90
  • Cdr                  K. J. Pickford                          10/7/90-06/09/91
  • LCdr                A. G. Munroe                           06/09/91-09/07/92
  • LCdr                J.G. King                                 09/07/92-30/06/93
  • LCdr                H.C. Edmundson                       30/06/93-16/11/93
  • Cdr                  P.C. Leblanc                           16/11/93-15/12/95
  • Cdr                  D. Rouleau                              15/12/95-01/12/97
  • Capt                J.J. Gauvin                              01/12/97-18/08/99
  • Capt                D.W. Robertson                       18/08/99- 06/01/00
  • Cdr                  P.V. Dempsey                         06/01/00-30/08/01
  • LCdr                S. Bishop                                30/08/01-20/08/02
  • Capt                A.B. Donaldson                        20/08/02-15/12/04
  • Capt                D.C. Gardam                           15/12/04-14/07/06
  • Capt                H.T. Harsch                            14/07/06-19/07/07
  • Cdr                  S. Jorgensen                          19/07/07-27/08/09
  • Cdr                  P.R. Crain                               27/08/09-17/12/10
  • Cdr                  M. Davie                                17/12/10-06/07/12
  • Cdr                  M. Plaschka                            06/07/12-

 

Lineage

The first ship in the RCN to bear the name Athabaskan was a Tribal-Class destroyer, built in the United Kingdom and commissioned in 1943 (she was a sister ship to HMCS Haida which is preserved as a museum ship in Hamilton, Ontario).  During the Second World War, she saw much action while attached to the British Home Fleet.  While escorting a convoy to Gibraltar in the Bay of Biscay on 27 August 1943 she was seriously damaged when struck by a German glider bomb.  After repair she was engaged in convoy escort to Murmansk (Russia) before heading to the English Channel where she carried out several actions against German surface forces in preparation for the D-Day invasion.  She herself was lost in one of theses actions, on 29 April 1944, with 128 men dead and 83 taken prisoner.

The second ship to bear the name Athabaskan also was a Tribal-Class destroyer, but Canadian-built and commissioned in Halifax in 1948.  She performed three tours of duty in the Korean War, following which she was extensively modified to anti-submarine destroyer-escort standard.  She was paid off in 1966.

 

Battle Honours

Following RCN tradition, the battle honours earned by previous Athabaskans have been perpetuated by the present ship of that name, which has herself earned a theatre honour for operations in the Persian Gulf.  These honours would all be perpetuated to any future ship of this name.

ARCTIC, 1943-45

KOREA, 1952-53

GULF AND KUWAIT

 

Motto

WE FIGHT AS ONE