Your Navy Today - August 2020

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Your Navy Today is a monthly newsletter highlighting your Royal Canadian Navy’s current Operations, stories about our sailors and historic naval heroes, new equipment and technology and the top photos and videos. Click here to subscribe to the monthly email.


OPERATIONS UPDATE

HMCS Regina

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HMCS Regina, second from front, sails in formation during RIMPAC 2020.

HMC Ships Regina and Winnipeg represent Canada at RIMPAC 2020

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Regina and Winnipeg participated in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020 from August 17 to 31 around the Hawaiian Islands. The biennial exercise is designed to foster cooperative relationships amongst participants and is usually the largest annual international maritime warfare exercise in the world. Canada is one of only three nations which has participated in each iteration since the exercise’s inception in 1971.

The exercise was reduced in scope this year in response to the threat posed by COVID-19. In an effort to mitigate these risks, each of the ships formed its own “bubble” to avoid contact with members from other participating nations.

Over the course of the exercise, HMC Ships Regina and Winnipeg, and their embarked Cyclone helicopters, participated in a number of capacity-building serials, including multinational anti-submarine warfare scenarios, maritime interception operations and live-fire training events.

Ten nations, 22 ships, one submarine, and more than 5,300 personnel participated in the event.

After concluding their participation at RIMPAC, HMCS Winnipeg deployed on Operation PROJECTION Asia-Pacific, which demonstrates Canada’s ongoing commitment to global peace and demonstrates how the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is ready to defend Canada’s interests in the region. HMCS Regina began its transit home to Esquimalt, B.C.

HMCS Toronto’s Naval Boarding Party

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Members of HMCS Toronto’s Naval Boarding Party conduct small arms training with 2 Royal Canadian Regiment in Latvia.

HMCS Toronto deployed with Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 on Operation REASSURANCE

HMCS Toronto is deployed to the Baltic region of Northern Europe with Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 while on Op REASSURANCE. The ship and its embarked Cyclone helicopter have been conducting maritime security patrols to support NATO assurance and deterrence measures in the region.

HMCS Toronto and Navio da República Portuguesa Corte-Real conducted a port visit in Riga, Latvia and hosted Canada’s Ambassador to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Kevin Rex, along with members of Task Force Latvia, NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group.

The port visit provided an opportunity for NATO soldiers to tour HMCS Toronto and get a better understanding of how their maritime colleagues operate. Additionally, members of HMCS Toronto’s Naval Boarding Party were able to train with members of 2 Royal Canadian Regiment at their small arms ranges.

RCN sailors

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Members of the RCN conduct boarding serials during Operation NANOOK- TUUGAALIK 2020.

HMC Ships Ville de Québec, Glace Bay and MV Asterix participate in Op NANOOK-TUUGAALIK 2020

HMC Ships Ville de Québec and Glace Bay and MV Asterix were in the Arctic region participating in Operation NANOOK-TUUGAALIK 2020 in August.

The ships and crews conducted sea trials, helicopter serials and boarding scenarios with Her Danish Majesty’s Ship Triton, the United States Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma, and the United States Ship Thomas Hudner. The ships also traversed the Arctic Circle and performed the traditional Crossing the Line ceremony on August 17.

The operation to exercise Canada’s sovereignty over its northernmost regions takes place each year and involves Indigenous, federal, provincial and territorial governments, along with Northern partners.

HMCS Whitehorse

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HMCS Whitehorse tows a sailboat through rough seas into Winter Harbour, B.C., after receiving a distress signal on August 16.

HMCS Whitehorse rescues two sailors from high seas off Vancouver Island

On August 16, a distress call was issued by an 11-metre sailing vessel that had been caught in a storm in the northwestern waters off Vancouver Island.

HMCS Whitehorse, a Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel, was conducting a planned search-and-rescue deployment in North Island waters and was able to come to the distressed boat’s assistance.

Whitehorse successfully tied lines to the mast of the sailboat, and over the course of four hours, towed the boat through the raging water to the safety of Winter Harbour.

Twice a year, RCN ships participate in search-and-rescue deployments in the waters off Vancouver Island, accompanied by a Coast Guard liaison.

BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC

AB Harrison

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Studio portrait of AB Harrison taken at HMCS Cornwallis in 1944.

Battle of the Atlantic Heroes: Able Seaman William Thomas Harrison

My late grandfather, who passed away in the summer of 2011, served in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) late during the Second World War.

William Thomas Harrison of Halifax enlisted into the RCNVR on June 14, 1944 at the age of 19. He was an Anti-Submarine Detection Investigation Committee (ASDIC) operator, or submarine detector, aboard the Bangor-class minesweeper His Majesty’s Canadian Ship Georgian (J144). ASDIC was an early form of sonar.

FEATURE STORIES

Lt Robert Hampton Gray

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Lieutenant (Lt) Robert Hampton Gray

Sixth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship to be named in honour of Canadian naval hero Robert Hampton Gray

The RCN’s sixth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) will be named in honour of Lieutenant (Lt) Robert Hampton Gray, a Canadian naval hero of the Second World War.

Lt Gray joined the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1940 and served as a pilot in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. He embarked in His Majesty’s Ship Formidable with 1841 Squadron, joining the war in the Pacific as part of Operation ICEBERG, the invasion of Okinawa, Japan, in April 1945.

Lt Gray was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for courage and determination in carrying out daring air strikes on the Japanese destroyer His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Ship Amakusa.

The names of the six Harry DeWolf-class ships honour prominent Canadian naval figures who served Canada with the highest distinction. For the first time in its 110-year history, the RCN has named a class of ships after Canadian naval figures, proudly honouring their leadership, achievements and heroism while serving Canadian interests at sea. The other five AOPS are named Harry DeWolf, Margaret Brooke, Max Bernays, William Hall and Frédérick Rolette.

Canadian and British POWs

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Canadian and British prisoners of war liberated in Hong Kong by the boarding party from HMCS Prince Rupert, August 1945.

Royal Canadian Navy marks 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific Day

Large crowds gathered across Canada on August 15, 1945 to celebrate the end of the Second World War. Victory in the Pacific Day was declared and brought to a close more than six long years of fighting across the globe.

Weeks earlier, as millions of people were celebrating the Victory in Europe, Canada was readying for the final push to end conflict in the Pacific, with important contributions from the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). Nearly 80,000 Canadians volunteered to join the Pacific forces, including 60 ships crewed by 13,500 men.

Of particular note was the service of Lieutenant Commander (LCdr) William Lore, the RCN’s first Chinese-Canadian officer and the first officer of Chinese descent to serve in any of the Royal navies of the British Commonwealth. LCdr Lore served in England, Sri Lanka and Myanmar during the Second World War, and helped liberate Canadian prisoners of war in Hong Kong. LCdr Lore was the first Allied officer to enter Hong Kong since its capture in 1941.

SPECIAL REPORTS

RCN sailors

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Members of the RCN’s junior ranks stand at attention.

RCN Rank Change Initiative poll results and rank designation change decision

The results are in! The poll seeking advice regarding a change to junior sailors’ rank designations received a great amount of engagement. Approximately 18,000 responses were provided, overwhelmingly from the junior ranks who will be most impacted by this change.

Beyond the advice provided by those who participated, it was impressive to see the deck-plate conversations occurring in cubicles, offices, shops, flats, messes and online about our culture, where it is headed, and who we are as a service.

The results indicate that the rank change initiative is seen broadly as long overdue, welcome and necessary. After reviewing all the submissions, Commander Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is incredibly pleased and excited to announce that the RCN’s junior ranks will be known as Sailor 3rd  Class (formerly Ordinary Seaman), Sailor 2nd Class (formerly Able Seaman), Sailor 1st  Class (formerly Leading Seaman) and Master Sailor (formerly Master Seaman).

All will be referred to as “sailor” -- with the exception of Master Sailor, which merits the full “Master Sailor” in routine conversation -- unless formality or need for specificity drives the more fulsome title.

These new rank designations became effective upon the issuance of a CANFORGEN on Friday, September 4. At that point, as we began referring to shipmates using the new rank designations, we took another in our incremental steps to build a more inclusive workplace that appropriately represents our values as a Navy, Force and Nation.

SPOTLIGHT ON SAILORS

S2 Scott Peasley

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Sailor 2nd Class (S2) Scott Peasley.

Meet Sailor 2nd Class (S2) Scott Peasley. He is one of the RCN sailors selected to participate in the National Sentry Program for 2020, which sees Canadian Armed Forces members standing sentry at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located in front of the National War Memorial in Ottawa.

“The Sentry Program means so much to me because it is such an honour to [remember] the fallen soldiers of Canada in such a special way,” says S2 Peasley.

GETTING SOCIAL

VIDEOS OF THE MONTH

PHOTOS OF THE MONTH

Special Announcements

Isabelle Turner

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Isabelle Turner and friends pose socially distanced prior to one of their rides for the fourth annual Navy Bike Ride.

The Royal Canadian Navy concludes its fourth annual Navy Bike Ride!

The Royal Canadian Navy concluded its fourth annual Navy Bike Ride August 30, 2020 after moving to a virtual format due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Over 2,750 riders of all ages from across the country participated in the Battle of the Atlantic Challenge, a free virtual event spanning the summer months.

In honour of the 25,000 voyages Canadian Naval and Merchant Navy forces conducted during the Second World War's Battle of the Atlantic 75 years ago, this free event encouraged participants to help cycle towards the goal of 25,000 rides from June 13 through August 30. Together, participants cycled a total number of 26,270 rides while raising $59,266 for Support Our Troops and the Royal Canadian Naval Benevolent Fund.

Congratulations and thank you to all those who participated. Bravo Zulu for a job well done.