Malahat preps for future Naval Force Protection opportunities

LINK - April 2017 / May 31, 2017

By NCdt Donald Den, HMCS Malahat

On Saturday October 29, 2016, approximately 50 members of Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Malahat executed the first of a series of local Naval Force Protection exercises with their boat and dive teams in local waters.

The exercise was comprised of a basic force protection scenario where there was an immediate need to provide protection and perimeter security around HMCS Malahat, a Royal Canadian Navy Reserve Unit located in Victoria's inner harbour, as well as the surrounding area.

The exercise called for the ship's company to respond to the scenario, utilizing capabilities from a variety of trades within the Naval Reserve Division. Malahat sailors developed their skills during this training exercise while acting as land sentries, Combat Information Operators, Communicators, as well as through the deployment of multiple Dive Teams and with Small Boats' Teams operating Malahat's Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs).

Also participating in the exercise as an opposing force were members of HMCS Chippawa, from Winnipeg, who were concluding their own independent small boats exercise.

Exercise participants were given refresher briefs on Rules of Engagement and force protection roles and responsibilities. Throughout the exercise gameplay communication skills and learning were emphasized, giving crew members an opportunity to refresh existing skills and work on some new ones. 

"The exercise provided members of the ship's company an excellent opportunity to refresh and regenerate their naval skillsets in preparation for both further force protection exercises and operations, as well as their own training and deployments" said Lieutenant-Commander Michael Lawless, Commanding Officer of HMCS Malahat

By the successful completion of the exercise, several members were discussing room for their own improvements, having had their first exposure to the new role that is expected of them in future planned force protection training exercises.

"The exercise came together well with all participants putting in a great effort to coordinate the interaction of the various sections" added Lieutenant (Navy) Robin Whitney.

Members of HMCS Malahat now turn to the next planned Force Protection exercise, set to occur in later in the year. There is always a continued emphasis on skill development and readiness for Naval Reserve members. The local focus on enhancing force protection training will ensure that HMCS Malahat continues to be prepared for future naval operational priorities such as the Naval Security Team providing force protection for our marine assets both at home and abroad.