New Commander focused on people and the future

Navy News / June 19, 2019

By Ryan Melanson

It was a blustery day at HMC Dockyard in Halifax on June 12, but Vice Admiral Ron Lloyd wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The strong winds out of the north reminded him of his first sailing days in Halifax with HMCS Iroquois and made for the perfect setting to end both his tenure as Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy and his 38-year Canadian Armed Forces career.

The Change of Commander Ceremony saw VAdm Lloyd hand over command of the RCN to his long-time friend and shipmate, VAdm Art McDonald, in front of a crowd that included serving and retired Admirals and flag officers, colleagues from industry and government, including Deputy Minister of National Defence Jody Thomas, sailors from the Atlantic Fleet and Naval Reserve Division HMCS Scotian, and other friends of the Navy.

“I have been exceptionally blessed to finish my career as the Commander of the RCN. The Command Chief and I have had the pleasure and privilege of witnessing firsthand the incredible difference that Canadian sailors are making globally on behalf of Canada and Canadians,” VAdm Lloyd said during his outgoing address to the Navy community.

“I’ve had the pleasure of being Art’s shipmate when we commissioned HMCS Calgary together, and I had the privilege of being Fleet Commander to watch him lead HMCS Halifax so brilliantly,” he added, also mentioning VAdm McDonald’s time as Commander MARPAC, which saw highlights in submarine operations and planning for the future fleet.

“The RCN couldn’t be in better hands.”

The ceremony was presided over by Gen Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, who referenced a number of recent RCN milestones in recalling VAdm Lloyd’s three years at the head of the organization. Progress on shipbuilding files saw the launch and official naming of HMCS Harry DeWolf, along with the start of construction on the first Joint Support Ship; the first deployments for the CH-148 Cyclone and NRU Asterix showed off new RCN technologies and capabilities; and RCN ships operated at a high tempo around the world, including increased Arctic operations, multinational exercises, and the first-ever RCN visits to ports in West Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.

“Recent years have seen the Royal Canadian Navy growing, adapting to meet the challenges of the modern world, and setting the course for what comes next. That success was all underpinned over the last three years by VAdm Lloyd’s guidance, but it’s also consistent with the long line of superb commanders who preceded him,” Gen Vance said, adding his confidence that successes will continue with the RCN under the command of VAdm McDonald.

The ceremony also included the Change of Appointment for the RCN Command Chief Petty Officer, with CPO1 David Steeves taking over the Navy’s senior NCO role from outgoing Chief CPO1 Michel Vigneault, who’s now retiring after his own 35-year RCN career. Both VAdm Lloyd and VAdm McDonald welcomed CPO1 Steeves to the RCN command team while lauding CPO1 Vigneault for the leadership he brought to the office. In fact, VAdm Lloyd made his final administrative act as Commander RCN at the podium, signing a Commander RCN Commendation Award and presenting it to CPO1 Vigneault in front of those assembled.

For the new RCN command team, the focus will be on continuing the people-first approach that has guided the Navy in recent years and preparing for a revitalization that will see an average of one new ship delivered each year for the next 15 years.

“We’ll ensure together that the great people-delivered successes for which the RCN is known can continue to be realized,” said VAdm McDonald, who is the first Cape Breton-born sailor to become Commander RCN.

“Despite the significant and enduring transformation that’s coming, we remain steadfastly committed to affording maximum optionality to government via our naval readiness.”

VAdm McDonald credited his wife Sabina for years of support and sacrifice, and thanked the many naval mentors, including VAdm Lloyd, who helped him reach this point. He expressed pride in the Navy in particular for pursuing innovation in training and equipment as they look to the future, and for prioritizing efforts to become recognized as a diverse and inclusive employer.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve done, but I’m equally proud of the way we’ve become known as a Navy for doing it, for evolving our business,” VAdm McDonald said.

“I’ve already asked so much of my shipmates as we’ve grown and leaned in together, and they remain those whom I’ll continue to rely on as Commander, as we continue to celebrate, champion and enable sailors and their families.”

Courtesy of Trident Newspsper.