Your Navy Today - November 2020

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OPERATIONS UPDATE

HMCS Winnipeg and JS Shimakaze

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HMCS Winnipeg and JS Shimakaze perform a farewell pass after the conclusion of a KAEDEX on November 17, 2020.

HMCS Winnipeg resumes patrols on Op NEON before chopping into Op PROJECTION Asia-Pacific

After completing participation in Exercise KEEN SWORD with the Japanese Self-Defense Force and the United States Navy on November 5, 2020, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg resumed monitoring duties to identify suspected evasion activities such as ship-to-ship transfers of fuel and other commodities, in support of UN sanctions on North Korea as part of Operation NEON.

Winnipeg was joined by a Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment with a CP-140 Aurora long range patrol aircraft, which further enhanced the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) contribution to monitoring efforts in the region. Canada is conducting this work alongside other countries, including Australia, France, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

On November 17, Winnipeg and its embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter conducted an exercise, named KAEDEX, with the Japanese Ship Shimakaze and its maritime helicopter that included a cross-deck landing, additional operations training, and a gift exchange before conducting a final farewell pass. The name KAEDEX was proposed by the Japanese in honour of Canada’s involvement, as “kaede” is the Japanese word for maple.

On November 18, Winnipeg concluded its rotation of surveillance operations as part of Op NEON and returned to duty on Operation PROJECTION Asia-Pacific, conducting forward naval presence operations in the region.

HMCS Winnipeg will be in the Asia-Pacific region until December.

Members of HMCS Toronto's Air Detachment

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Members of HMCS Toronto’s Air Detachment pose in front of the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter after completing their first flight above the Arctic Circle on November 19, 2020.

HMCS Toronto participates in Norwegian Navy exercise with SNMG1 during Op REASSURANCE

HMCS Toronto is currently deployed with Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) on Operation REASSURANCE as part of NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe.

On November 3, after a two-week rest and maintenance period in Portsmouth, England, Toronto returned to sea to begin the second half of its operation. On November 9, while transiting the North Sea, Toronto bid farewell to the Belgian Naval Ship Leopold I that had joined SNMG1 at the end of September.

On November 14, members of the ship’s company crossing into the Arctic for the first time were inducted into King Neptune’s court, which included tests of their steely resolve and a baptism in the icy cold waters of the Norwegian Sea.

From November 16 to 27, HMCS Toronto took part in the Royal Norwegian Navy’s exercise FLOTEX SILVER 20 off the coasts of Norway above the Arctic Circle.

The exercise provided training opportunities designed to test a wide range of skills, including anti-submarine warfare, in challenging conditions. The demonstration and maintenance of the operational effectiveness of NATO forces is an important part of the deterrent value of NATO and promotes cooperation and interoperability between allies.

During the exercise, Toronto’s Air Detachment completed its first flight with the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter above the Arctic Circle, a great milestone for the CH-148 fleet.

A Royal Canadian Navy member launches a Puma unmanned aerial system

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A Royal Canadian Navy member launches a Puma unmanned aerial system off HMCS Summerside during Operation CARIBBE on November 9, 2020.

HMCS Summerside conducts security patrols on Op CARIBBE

HMCS Summerside was deployed during the month of November on Operation CARIBBE and participated in detection and monitoring duties in the Caribbean Basin.

Summerside was responsible for finding and tracking vessels of interest so that United States Coast Guard law enforcement teams could approach and intercept them.

The purpose of the operation was to suppress trafficking in international waters. Over the past 14 years, the CAF has contributed to the disruption or seizure of approximately 105 metric tonnes of cocaine and over 6.7 tonnes of marijuana.

Summerside concluded its deployment and returned to Halifax in early December.

BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC

A close-up of the face of the Fern Blodgett Sunde bronze

Gerald M. Moses, Library and Archives

A close-up of the face of the Fern Blodgett Sunde bronze monument titled Making Waves.

Battle of the Atlantic Heroes: Fern Blodgett Sunde

In 1941, during the Battle of the Atlantic, the Admiralty sent a secret letter to the Norwegian Shipping Mission expressing appreciation for the outstanding services rendered to the Allied cause by three Norwegian cargo ships. The letter praised the ships’ radio operators for the “exemplary manner” in which they followed route instructions and diversions designed to keep the merchant ships out of danger.

The Mosdale, one of the ships praised, did in fact have a remarkable radio operator. Her name was Fern Blodgett, a young Canadian who was the first woman ever to serve deep sea as a wireless radio operator, also known as a “Sparks.”

Fern grew up in Cobourg, Ont., dreaming of sailing the high seas, even though she knew that ships at the time were not for girls. When the Second World War broke out, she was determined to serve Canada. Although some radio schools were reluctant to train women, she persisted and became the first Canadian woman to earn a second class wireless operator’s certificate.

Rear-Admiral Leonard Murray presented awards to crew members

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On July 29, 1942, Rear-Admiral Leonard Murray presented awards to crew members of His Majesty’s Canadian Ship St. Croix, which sank enemy submarine U-90 earlier the same month.

Rear-Admiral Leonard Murray: One of Canada’s most important wartime commanders

“Experience had taught me this: to find out what you’re capable of it is only necessary to get a chance to do it, and someone else must have enough confidence in you to provide that chance.”

Rear-Admiral Leonard W. Murray, who penned these words, was given that chance.

From humble beginnings he went on to become the only Canadian officer to command a theatre of war during the Second World War.

FEATURE STORIES

A CH-149 Cormorant helicopter lowers a Search and Rescue Technician aboard HMCS Harry DeWolf

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A CH-149 Cormorant helicopter lowers a Search and Rescue Technician aboard HMCS Harry DeWolf on November 18, 2020.

HMCS Harry DeWolf trials new capabilities at sea

HMCS Harry DeWolf sailed under Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) command for the first time in early October 2020, and has since been at sea regularly, with the crew conducting training, testing and trials onboard the new vessel.

The work is part of a normal process to incrementally test Harry DeWolf and its systems, and as sailors gain experience with this first-of-class ship, they’re also making an immediate impact on RCN business, explains the ship’s commanding officer.

“Tests and trials can be a limiting description. The ship is in naval service, and it has been since July 31, 2020,” said Commander (Cdr) Corey Gleason, referencing the official date Harry DeWolf was delivered to the Department of National Defence this past summer. That delivery was followed by an initial alongside work period before heading to sea.

While trials will continue over the next 12 months, they will be taking place alongside naval operations, Cdr Gleason added. During the most recent proficiency sail to Newfoundland and Labrador, for example, the ship contributed to Canada’s maritime domain awareness while also gaining proficiency with the new platform.

“We’re providing sovereignty through presence in Canada’s domestic waterways. As we encountered aircraft and surface vessels, we identified them, tied their broadcasted information with their registry and compared our own recognized maritime domain picture with our maritime command component ashore,” he said, noting the ship is also ready to respond as a backup search and rescue asset locally.

Through the remainder of the fall and winter, Harry DeWolf will conduct both cold-weather and warm-weather trials as it continues building operational capability. The ship will work with Cyclone helicopters and Puma unmanned aerial vehicles, trial its main 25 millimetre gun, and continue operating its small boats, among other tests. In the spring, the crew plans to conduct its first replenishment-at-sea, which will prove the ability to remain at sea for months at a time.

HMCS Regina fires two RGM-84 Harpoon Surface-to-Surface Missiles

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HMCS Regina fires two RGM-84 Harpoon Surface-to-Surface Missiles during RIMPAC 2020.

RCN keeps ships COVID free and ready to help Canadians, lead operations

The RCN has kept its ships COVID free while continuing to conduct operations at home and abroad by introducing new procedures on ships and bases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Close collaboration with Canadian Forces Health Services, regional Surgeon’s offices and health authorities played a significant role in developing the RCN’s COVID policies and facilitated COVID testing in order to get our ships to sea.

Increased cleaning routines, personal hygiene, quarantining before embarking on board a ship and testing for COVID are the main precautionary measures that are maintaining a COVID-free bubble, allowing for normal socialization while onboard.

“This approach is allowing us, as a maritime force including our CH-148 Cyclone helicopters, to have unimpeded operational availability in response to requirements at home and overseas,” said Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander RCN.

A close-up view of the brass fuse box

A close-up view of the brass fuse box plate in a special box created by maritime technicians aboard HMCS Toronto.

Brass fuse box plate salvaged near wreck of wartime HMCS Regina

A small piece of Canada’s naval history was recently salvaged near the wreck of His Majesty’s Canadian Ship Regina (K234), which was sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of England on August 8, 1944.

A brass fuse box plate was retrieved by a local diver and turned over to the United Kingdom’s Receiver of Wreck, which is responsible for salvaged artifacts. The Receiver of Wreck researches owners of wreck material, works with the finder and owner to return recovered material, and collaborates with other interested parties, such as archeologists and museums.

In this case, the brass fuse box plate, which measures approximately six inches, was turned over to the RCN through the Canadian High Commission in London.

Camilla Moore, Receiver of Wreck, presented the fuse box plate to Commander Jeff Dargavel, Commanding Officer of HMCS Toronto, on October 29.

“It is my duty to attempt to return wreck material to its owner, and I am delighted that we were able to assist in returning the plate from HMCS Regina to the RCN,” said Ms. Moore. “It is particularly poignant given the circumstances of the vessel’s loss and the significance of the Battle of the Atlantic in its 75th anniversary year.”

After the brass plate makes its last transit across the Atlantic on board Toronto when it returns to its homeport of Halifax later this year, it will be transferred to its rightful home on board the modern-day HMCS Regina in 2021.

 

SPECIAL REPORTS

Admiral’s Statement: We need cultural change to combat racism and promote inclusion

Shipmates,

The RCN and the CAF are committed to combating racism in our ranks and organization. Roused by the recent and ongoing outcry against racial injustice echoing throughout Canada and around the world, we’ve had cause to reflect on our shortcomings as an institution. What is clear is that racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny and discrimination exist within our ranks and organization, despite the efforts of many to combat it. We all need to acknowledge this, completely hoist it aboard, and then commit to fixing it. We must be inclusive by creating a sense of belonging for all who join and serve in our Navy.

This is no small task. It will take a concerted effort by each and every one of us. It will require that we help one another as we listen, learn and act. It will require a cultural change.

To these ends, I have directed that the RCN will promote institutional culture change through an aggressive series of engagements with mid-level leadership (i.e., from Master Sailor to Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class, and from Lieutenant (Navy) to Commander). These engagements, which will be complementary to ones already held for naval executives at ranks of Chief Petty Officer 1st Class and Captain (Navy) as well as Flag Officers, are designed to combat racism and promote inclusion, and will be completed by the end of this calendar year. These engagements will enable this important leadership cohort to hear victim testimonials, and receive guidance from experts in the field.

Each of you has a huge impact on our culture and morale. Through your actions and example, you are defining who we are, and only through you can we get better and get right! You can help promote change. In fact, it’s not possible without you. And so, I ask you to do this – with your leadership, support and influence, we can work together to make this, our RCN, a better work place and home away from home for all our sailors.

The introductory message from the Command Chief and me for these important sessions is available at the following links:

In the RCN, we must all have each other’s back and together forge a diverse and inclusive workplace environment. We must combat racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny and discrimination. We must listen, learn and act.

We must pursue institutional culture change. With these engagements, you will be empowered to be an engine of that change.

Yours Aye,

Vice-Admiral Art McDonald
Commander RCN

SPOTLIGHT ON SAILORS

PO2 Sara Harris

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Petty Officer 2nd Class Sara Harris

Meet Petty Officer 2nd Class Sara Harris. She is a Financial Services Supervisor aboard HMCS Winnipeg, and shared why marking Remembrance Day is important to her.

S3 Kilian Soch

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Sailor 3rd Class Kilian Soch

Meet Sailor 3rd Class (S3) Kilian Soch. He is a Boatswain onboard HMCS Winnipeg, which is currently deployed on Operation PROJECTION Asia-Pacific.

“I joined the RCN because I’ve always wanted to be a part of something greater than myself, to serve Canada and protect my friends and family,” said S3 Soch.

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