Sailor works with Irish Naval Service on REGULUS program

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Navy News / January 19, 2017

By Acting Sub-Lieutenant Jason Teichroeb

In the early hours of a cold September morning in 2016, our ship lingered off the southern coast of Ireland. I stood in the glow of the radar screen, scrutinizing the radar contact some 20 nautical miles to the east: our target vessel. Our consort ship also lay in wait 20 miles further east of our target. We had both been tracking it throughout the night, carefully monitoring its movements and plotting its position as it approached the Irish coastline. In just a few hours we would appear together on the horizon with the rising sun, both crews brought to boarding stations.

Three years ago, I never would have imagined participating in a maritime interdiction exercise off the Irish coast with the Irish Naval Service (INS). I was teaching junior high school in rural Alberta when I made the decision to join the Canadian Armed Forces as a maritime surface/subsurface (MARS) officer in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). I was drawn by the opportunities for leadership development, a team environment and the chance to travel abroad. The REGULUS program certainly delivered.

As a new officer, I jumped at the chance to participate in the REGULUS program, an officer exchange program between the RCN and foreign navies that provides opportunities for young sailors to build their skills and gain valuable international experience. Three other junior officers from across Canada and I participated in the REGULUS program by joining the INS in Ireland for a period of three months in the fall of 2016. We were placed on various patrol ships where we received beneficial training and integrated with the ship’s companies. Not only was the experience valuable for us, but it was an opportunity to build relationships between the two navies.

The INS showed itself to be an adaptable, vigilant and professional organization. Our patrol ship participated in maritime security patrols, fisheries enforcement and search and rescue, as well as fleet operations with the Royal Navy and a maritime interdiction exercise with a civilian research vessel. The breadth of operations taken on in just a few weeks of sailing by one vessel revealed the versatility of their platforms.

I participated in these operations as an officer in training, conducting pilotage navigation and officer of the watch duties, and assisting the bridge team during gunnery and fleet exercises. Standing as acting officer of the watch during the maritime interdiction exercise alongside our consort and the research vessel was the high point of my experience on the bridge. 

The interdiction exercise was a success due to the professionalism and teamwork of the crew of the INS ships. The experience I received was invaluable, the relationships I formed with the crew were unforgettable and the views of the rugged coastline breathtaking. I have a great appreciation for the work of the INS and I am proud to have been a part of REGULUS, an opportunity I would recommend to any member of the RCN.