Able Seaman Sebastien Barsetti

Atlantic Region News / December 4, 2017

Hometown Heroes:

Crew Spotlight

On August 8, 2017, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Charlottetown and its crew of 240 departed Halifax to join Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) for Operation REASSURANCE. SNMG1 is a naval force made up of ships from various allied countries, all working together to demonstrate NATO and Canada’s ongoing commitment to international security and cooperation.

One member of this crew is Able Seaman Sebastien Barsetti from Mirabel, Quebec. He is employed as a Naval Communicator and member of the Operations Department about HMCS Charlottetown.

In an interview conducted aboard HMCS Charlottetown while the ship was patrolling in the Mediterranean Sea, he had this to say about his deployment and experiences in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN):

Have you ever deployed before?

I did sail before on the West Coast—to San Diego and Hawaii, which were both great experiences. However, this is my first sail even close to an operation. I am thankful that I can be a part of this operation, and I sure enjoy every moment of it.

What do you do onboard?

On board the ship, my first duty is Naval Communicator. However, I have secondary duties as well. I am the Operation Department Safety & Environment Representative, and also an active member of the ship Naval Boarding Party team, which is without a doubt the best part of my job.

What did you expect the deployment to be like?

Honestly, I didn’t have much by way of expectations; however, I was expecting it to be a little bit long, because of the fact that I had to leave my wonderful fiancé and the kids behind for almost six months. But with her support from home, and the fact that so many people are in the same situation, and also considering all the amazing port visits we get to do, this deployment is going pretty well: fast, and a lot easier than I thought it would. As it is my first deployment though, it makes me realize how much the support of your friends onboard, and even more so of your family at home, is important.

What is the best part of your job?

There are two things, honestly. The first is the opportunity of visiting so many countries of the world that I would have probably never went to on my own before—countries like Croatia, or even Poland—and visiting them with the friends that I have developed a strong comradery with over the course of my time on board. The second one is being part of the Boarding Party Team. As “A6,” my position on the first wave of the team, I get to be the first member of the team to climb on board. Even though I haven’t conducted an operational boarding, I know that even just when we do it on training it still gives me a feeling of excitement that I don’t think I could get doing anything else.

Describe the most exciting part of Naval Boarding Party?

The most exciting part of Naval Boarding Party training is when I climb down into the rigid-hulled inflatable boat, and we split off the side of our own ship, to go over to the vessel we will be boarding. Every time, at this exact moment, all worries or thoughts are gone and all I can think about is how thankful I am to be there and to get to do this as my job. Of course after that moment, it is time to refocus on the mission again!

What do you do for fun on and off the ship?

On the ship, when I am off watch, I like to spend a little time doing Word Searches, then look at pictures of my family, say a prayer, and go to bed. The routine helps me reconnect with myself. I also like to sit down in the mess and watch a movie just before bed. It helps me think of something else besides the long working days we do onboard.

When I’m off the ship, I like to go walk around the amazing ports we get to be in, to discover the places and enjoy a good meal with my friends. I also like to video calls home with my fiancé, to talk with her and thank her for her important support. It helps me reconnect with myself, with her, and refocus on the upcoming days at sea.

What is one great thing about your ship?

The greatest thing about HMCS Charlottetown is without a doubt the crew. It is so easy to talk to people and feel like they really listen. Considering that we also are all on the same boat, literally, everybody is so willing to help each other, and it is beautiful to see. It is for sure, the best crew I have ever worked with, and the best working team I ever had in any job.

For more information about Op REASSURANCE, please visit:

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/operations-abroad/nato-ee.page

To view photos of HMCS Charlottetown’s deployment on Op REASSURANCE, please visit:

http://www.forcesimages.ca/default.aspx?aid=6176