Vice-Admiral John Charles O’BRIEN, OC, CD

Vice-Admiral John Charles O’BRIEN, OC, CD

Vice-Admiral John Charles O’BRIEN, OC, CD

Vice-Admiral O’Brien joined the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) as a Cadet in 1935.  From 1935 until 1940 he conducted his training with the Royal Navy (RN) in HM Ships Erebus, Vindictive, Royal Sovereign and Berwick, and then returned to Canada in 1940 to serve in HMCS Saguenay.  Specializing in communications, in 1942 he attended the Long Signals Course in England, and between 1942 and 1946 served as the Signals Officer for the Fourth Destroyer Flotilla and then in Naval Service Headquarters (NSHQ) as the Deputy Director Signal Division.  In 1946 he was the Canadian representative on the RN Signal Book Revision committee.  Later in 1946 he was appointed in command of the destroyer HMCS Crescent, and in 1948 the Officer-in-Command Communications School in Halifax NS, and later the Officer-in-Charge Officers Divisional Course at HMCS Cornwallis.  On promotion to Commander in 1951 he attended the Royal Navy Staff College in Greenwich, England followed by an appointment as Director Tactical and General Communications at SACLANT Headquarters in Norfolk, VA.  In 1953 he was appointed the Commander (Executive Officer) of HMCS Stadacona, and in 1954 the Commander (Executive Officer) of the aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent.  On promotion to Captain in 1955, he was appointed Director of Naval Training at NSHQ in Ottawa, and later in 1957 Director Naval Communications, and in 1958 Coordinator Personnel Structure Committee.  In 1959 he assumed command of the aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure.  On promotion to Commodore in 1961 he was appointed as the Naval Member of the Canadian Joint Staff in Washington DC, followed by an appointment as Senior Canadian Officer Afloat Atlantic in Halifax NS in 1964.

Upon promotion to Rear-Admiral in July 1966, he assumed command of Maritime Command in Halifax NS.  Promoted to his current rank in September 1968, Vice-Admiral O’Brien served as Commander Maritime Command until 1970, when he was appointed the Commandant of the NATO Defence College in Rome, in which position he served until his retirement in 1973.  He died 23 March 1996.