Your Navy Today - April 2021

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OPERATIONS UPDATE

##MCECOPY##Standing NATO Maritime Group One and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One warships conduct fleet manoeuvres

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Standing NATO Maritime Group One and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One warships conduct fleet manoeuvres in the Baltic Sea on April 1.

HMCS Halifax conducts training with Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One as flagship of Standing NATO Maritime Group One

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Halifax continues its rotation as flagship for Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) while on Operation (Op) REASSURANCE.

SNMG1, currently under the command of Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) Commodore Bradley Peats, and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1) are two of four NATO Standing Naval Forces on continuous active duty that contribute to the alliance’s collective defence on a permanent basis.

As the core of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (Maritime), they provide constant high readiness maritime capabilities that can quickly and effectively respond across the full spectrum of operations in support of any NATO operations.

SNMG1 and SNMCMG1 conducted three days of training off the coast of Latvia and Estonia. Both groups conduct operations in Western and Northern European waters that include the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea.

HMCS Calgary, HMA Ships Anzac and Sirius, and the Japanese Ship Akebono

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HMCS Calgary, HMA Ships Anzac and Sirius, and the Japanese Ship Akebono conduct manoeuvres during a passing exercise (cooperative deployment) in the Indian Ocean, April 8.

HMCS Calgary begins rotation on Op ARTEMIS

On April 15, 2021, HMCS Calgary began its participation in Op ARTEMIS, where it is working with Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 to combat smuggling operations that primarily fund terrorist activity. CTF 150 has been under the command of the RCN’s Commodore Dan Charlebois since January 27.

Before chopping into ARTEMIS, Calgary participated in a cooperative deployment with Her Majesty’s Australian Ships Anzac and Sirius, as well as the Japanese Ship Akebono, on April 8 and 9 while on Op PROJECTION.

“It was great working with the Royal Australian Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force,” said Commander (Cdr) Mark O’Donohue, Calgary’s Commanding Officer.

“Cooperative deployments like this bolster partnerships and improve interoperability.”

Serials conducted focused on electronic warfare, manoeuvring, helicopter and communications exercises, and a replenishment-at-sea.

Twenty-nine bales of cocaine totalling 870 kg

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Twenty-nine bales of cocaine totalling 870 kg were seized on Op CARIBBE and craned onto HMCS Brandon, in partnership with U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 103, in the Eastern Pacific Ocean on March 21.

HMC Ships Saskatoon and Brandon seize large quantities of narcotics while deployed on Op CARIBBE

HMC Ships Saskatoon and Brandon continue patrolling the Eastern Pacific Ocean while contributing to multinational counter-narcotics efforts under Operation CARIBBE.

On March 21, HMCS Brandon assisted the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in the capture and seizure of 870 kg of cocaine with an approximate street value of USD $33M.

“The ship’s company of HMCS Brandon is proud to see mission success on Operation CARIBBE in support of our allies, USCG Law Enforcement Detachment 103,” said Lieutenant-Commander (LCdr) Maude Ouellet-Savard, Commanding Officer of HMCS Brandon.

Just two days later on March 23, HMCS Saskatoon was able to intercept a suspicious vessel of its own, and assisted in the capture and seizure of 250 kg of cocaine and 45 kg of marijuana. This contraband has an approximate street value of USD $11M.

“I am very proud of the crew of HMCS Saskatoon, including USCG Law Enforcement Detachment 108, for their tireless efforts throughout Operation CARIBBE,” said LCdr Nadia Shields, Commanding Officer of HMCS Saskatoon.

Bravo Zulu to all involved!

SPECIAL REPORT

The command badges for the Royal Canadian Navy (left) and the Royal Canadian Air Force (right)

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The command badges for the Royal Canadian Navy (left) and the Royal Canadian Air Force (right).

A message from the Commanders of the RCN and RCAF on the unveiling of the Stalker 22 memorial

A year ago, we lost six members of our team in a tragic accident. Today, we pay tribute to our fallen as we unveil a memorial at the Shearwater Aviation Park at 12 Wing Shearwater in Nova Scotia, and remember their dedication, commitment, and devotion to serving their country, and their communities.

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and RCN hold their family and friends in our thoughts, and we grieve with them knowing that they continue to mourn the loss of their loved ones. We stand with you and continue to offer our unwavering support.

We are also thinking of the crew of HMCS Fredericton and 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron, who demonstrated great compassion and resilience.

And again, we would like to convey our gratitude to our Allies who worked tirelessly to provide their assistance during the difficult days that followed this accident.

As we remember our fallen, we look to the many tributes from across the nation, and around the world, knowing they will never be forgotten.

As we bow our head heads in silence, we will remember:

  • Master Corporal Matthew Cousins, Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator, from Guelph, Ont.
  • Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, Marine Systems Engineering Officer, from Toronto, Ont.
  • Captain Kevin Hagen, Pilot, from Nanaimo, B.C.
  • Captain Brenden MacDonald, Pilot, from New Glasgow, N.S.
  • Captain Maxime Miron-Morin, Air Combat Systems Officer, from Trois-Rivières, Que.
  • Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke, Naval Warfare Officer, from Truro, N.S.

Vice-Admiral C.A. Baines
Commander RCN

Chief Petty Officer First Class D.H. Steeves RCN
Command Chief Petty Officer

Lieutenant-General A.D. Meinzinger
Commander RCAF

Chief Warrant Officer J.R.D. Gaudreault
RCAF Command Chief Warrant Officer

Depth charge explodes astern of HMCS Ottawa (H31) during trials

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Depth charge explodes astern of HMCS Ottawa (H31) during trials.

Battle of the Atlantic Sunday, May 2

2021 marks the 76th anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Atlantic. Due to the current pandemic environment the RCN commemorated this important event virtually, as we did last year.

Virtual commemorations were held on the RCN Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. To learn more about the Battle of the Atlantic and the heroes that served during this historic event, point your browsers to the RCN Battle of the Atlantic web page.

CANADIAN NAVAL HEROES

PO2 Craig Blake

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PO2 Craig Blake

PO2 Craig Blake first RCN member killed in Afghanistan

It’s been nearly 11 years since Petty Officer 2nd Class (PO2) Douglas “Craig” Blake, was killed in Afghanistan. He was the first RCN sailor to be killed in Afghanistan, leaving behind his wife and two children.

PO2 Blake, a member of Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic), died after an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated about 25 kilometres southwest of Kandahar City in Panjwai district on May 3, 2010.

The RCN remembers PO2 Blake as a hero for his service and sacrifice to Canada. He is remembered as a devoted family man who loved coaching hockey and sharing stories about his kids.

FEATURE STORIES

Soldiers of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry

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Soldiers of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry joking with a sailor while aboard HMCS Nootka.

Battle of Kapyong 70 years later

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong. The battle, which took place from April 23 to 25, 1951, is recognized as one of the most consequential events contributing to the end of the Korean War (1950-1953) with a signed armistice.

The 700 Canadians who fought in the battle were severely outnumbered by a better equipped 5,000-strong Chinese force. Bombarded through the night by enemy mortar fire, the Canadians ordered artillery to fire “danger close”, risking their own safety to stop the enemy. The accurate artillery fire successfully stopped the advancing Chinese forces as they retreated, ending the battle.

While not directly involved in this battle, the role of the RCN during the Korean War was focused on escort duties, supplies, transport, and shoreline patrols. This also meant tasks such as mine detection and destruction, forming blockades to prevent enemy ships from manoeuvring in waters, and resupplying allied ships in the UN coalition.

The RCN destroyers that served off the east coast of Korea were part of the “Trainbusters Club”, known for bombarding enemy rail lines. The terrain in that part of the country often forced railroad tracks to hug the coast, which made trains tempting targets. Canadian naval guns stopped many enemy trains from delivering their cargo.

It was a difficult job and danger was always close by. On October 2, 1952, HMCS Iroquois was exchanging fire with an enemy gun battery on shore when the ship took a direct hit.

Three Canadian sailors died and 10 were wounded in the explosion.

HMCS Harry DeWolf

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A layer of ice could be seen on the bow of HMCS Harry DeWolf as it returned to Halifax on March 3 after cold weather and ice trials.

HMCS Harry DeWolf conducts ice trials

HMCS Harry DeWolf was designed to navigate the Arctic and sail through ice, cutting through first year ice over one metre thick. The Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) class will enable the RCN to extend its reach and presence in the North, and will also be capable of participating in a wide variety of international operations such as anti-smuggling, anti-piracy, and international security and stability.

Harry DeWolf left Halifax on February 9 and returned March 3, after testing the ship’s performance in the icy waters off of Labrador and Nunavut. Accompanying the crew were representatives of Irving Shipbuilding.

Cdr Gleason, the Commanding Officer of the RCN’s first AOPS, mentored the future crew of HMCS Margaret Brooke using the lessons learned.

“It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that this was a very big deal for any ship, and not just the RCN, to be this far north at this time of year,” Cdr Gleason said, noting the -40C weather and Harry DeWolf’s first runs through real ice.

LCdr David Dallin, CPO1 Carl Dixon, Lt(N) Blythe McWilliam, the new Command Cultural Advisor, and Cdr Landon Creasy

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LCdr David Dallin (left), CPO1 Carl Dixon (centre left), Lt(N) Blythe McWilliam, the new Command Cultural Advisor, and Cdr Landon Creasy (right) at the Command Culture Advisor Town Hall to brief new members of the ship’s company.

Culture becomes major focus in HMCS Regina

Meet Lieutenant (Navy) (Lt(N)) Blythe McWilliam, the RCN’s first, and currently only, Command Cultural Advisor (CCA). CCA is a brand new position created by the command team of HMCS Regina as a way of addressing cultural issues onboard.

Cultural aspects include gender, sexuality, family background, religion, or anything related to the unique, personal aspects of a person.

“My job is to keep an ear out and look for instances where members of the crew are being hindered at their job because of some cultural aspect,” said Lt(N) McWilliam.

“I then advise the ship’s command team on the issue and I can help provide input to them making a decision.”

The CCA role in Regina was modelled after the Gender Advisor role that has been implemented in many headquarters and operational planning groups.

Under Cdr Landon Creasy, culture has become a major focus as he has formalized it in a “Fighting Culture” statement, a document frequently referred to in the ship’s internal communications, and he formalized the CCA position in his standing orders.

“If there is one baseline across all the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), it’s culture. Culture is the single most important line of defence. If we want to improve as a military, we have to be prepared to have difficult discussions in this area,” said Cdr Creasy.

SPOTLIGHT ON SAILORS

S2 Samantha-Lee Epstein

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S2 Samantha-Lee Epstein

Meet Sailor 2nd Class Samantha-Lee Epstein. She served aboard HMCS Moncton as a boatswain on Op CARIBBE, and highlights the support from shipmates and the CAF to help prepare for deployment.

Lt(N) Wilson Gonese

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Lt(N) Wilson Gonese

Meet Lt(N) Wilson Gonese. He joined the Navy in 2018 and serves as a Chaplain aboard HMCS Calgary. During his deployment, he successfully defended his doctoral thesis via Zoom.

A/SLt Marianne Forest

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A/SLt Marianne Forest

Meet Acting Sub-Lieutenant (A/SLt) Marianne Forest from Montreal, who joined the Naval Reserve in 2017. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, A/SLt Forest felt honoured to participate in the 2019 Montreal pride parade representing HMCS Donnacona.

GETTING SOCIAL

VIDEOS OF THE MONTH

PHOTOS OF THE MONTH

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Navy Bike Ride Virtual Harry DeWolf Challenge

Looking for more information on this year’s Navy Bike Ride virtual Harry DeWolf challenge?

Check out this episode of Defence Team News where Cdr Gord Roy, the Director of Navy Bike Ride, shares information on this new challenge.

Haven’t registered yet? It’s not too late!

Registration is free for this fun physical fitness event that runs from June 12 to August 29.

Together we ride. Together we make waves.

2021 Canadian Naval Memorial Trust Essay Competition

Canadian Naval Review (CNR) will be holding its annual essay competition again in 2021. There will be a prize of $1,000 for the best essay, provided by the Canadian Naval Memorial Trust. The winning essay will be published in CNR. (Other non-winning essays will also be considered for publication, subject to editorial review.)

Essays submitted to the contest should relate to the following topics:

  • Canadian maritime security;
  • Canadian naval policy;
  • Canadian naval issues;
  • Canadian naval operations;
  • History/historical operations of the RCN;
  • Global maritime issues (such as piracy, smuggling, fishing, environment);
  • Canadian oceans policy and issues;
  • Arctic maritime issues;
  • Maritime transport and shipping.

If you have any questions about a particular topic, contact cnrcoord@icloud.com.

Contest Guidelines and Judging

  • Submissions for the 2021 CNR essay competition must be received at cnrcoord@icloud.com by Wednesday, 30 September 2021.
  • Submissions are not to exceed 3,000 words (excluding references). Longer submissions will be penalized in the adjudication process.
  • Submissions cannot have been published elsewhere.
  • All submissions must be in electronic format and any accompanying photographs, images or other graphics and tables must also be included as a separate file.

The essays will be assessed by a panel of judges on the basis of a number of criteria including readability, breadth, importance, accessibility and relevance. The decision of the judges is final. All authors will be notified of the judges’ decision within two months of the submission deadline.