2020: Year in Review
December 29, 2020 - Defence Stories
Newfoundland residents are happy to see our Canadian Armed Forces troops out, helping those in need following a snow storm. We are here to help the province in their time of need through Op LENTUS.
Credit: 5th Canadian Division
It’s been a long and challenging year for Canadians and the Defence Team. We worked to adapt, to pull together, and to find ways to be resilient as our environment shifted in real time. Let’s take a moment to reflect on 2020.
- After a record setting blizzard, CAF members help residents of Newfoundland and Labrador dig out as part of Operation LENTUS.
- RCAF, working with United States Air Force, Australian Air Force, and New Zealand Air Force, assists with Australia bushfire relief efforts by providing a CC-177 Globemaster to deliver fire retardant and airlift support.
- Corporal (Retired) Clarice Shen, an ex-Army reservist, volunteers to treat Canada’s first identified case of COVID-19.
Sub-Lieutenant Amélie Bergeron, Intelligence Officer on Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Radisson, listens to songs performed by a resident of Centre d'hébergement Nazaire-Piché in Montreal, Quebec.
- DND/CAF support the repatriation efforts of 200-plus Canadians stranded in China from the coronavirus by hosting returning Canadians at CFB Trenton for a 14-day self-isolation.
- Chief Warrant Officer David Ridley, Regimental Sergeant Major of the Canadian Forces Military Police Academy (CFMPA), is honoured with the Liz Hoffman Memorial Commendation, which recognizes Defence Team members who go above and beyond in helping colleagues to resolve a problem or bring about positive, lasting change.
- On March 2, the Chief of the Defence Staff activates Phase 2 of Operation LASER: Pandemic Alert. Phase 3, Pandemic Response, is activated on March 13.
- DND/CAF responds to the nationwide COVID-19 shutdown with resilience, creativity, and innovation, finding ways to continue to support our mandate to protect Canadians and Canadian interests.
Canadian Rangers from the 2nd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (2 CRPG) in Nunavik mobilize in support of Operation LASER in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on 3 April 2020.
- Supporting the whole-of-government response to the pandemic, CAF members help in a variety of ways under Operation LASER:
- Members enter long-term care facilities in Ontario and Quebec
- CAF dental officers, hygienists, and technicians assist Public Health Ontario with contact tracing.
- Canadian Rangers provide support to communities in Quebec, Saskatchewan, Northern Ontario, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.
- Canadian Rangers continue to support Op LASER in a variety of communities across Canada.
- Construction is completed on the new Naval Training Facility at CFB Halifax.
The sanitary block, including toilets and showers, after renovations in June 2020.
- Canadians deployed on Op CROCODILE in the Democratic Republic of Congo finish building a sanitary block at a Congolese orphanage.
- The 2020 Celebrating Excellence Awards took place virtually during National Public Service week. 26 awards were handed out, including the DM Award for Excellence to Inderjit Nijjar and the CDS Distinguished Achievement Award to Sandra Campbell and Raewen Pappas.
HMCS Harry DeWolf
- After 39 years of service, including five years as the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance announces his plans to retire.
- Government of Canada receives first new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, designed to patrol Canada’s offshore waters and northernmost regions.
- As part of the Esquimalt Harbour Remediation Project, the remediation at the Y-Jetty & Lang Cove site is completed.
- Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander Royal Canadian Navy, announces the RCN Rank Change Initiative poll results and rank designation change decision.
Seargeant Brigite O’Driscoll.
- Danielle Simard, leader for Classification and Organizational Design at the DND, is awarded the HR Leader Award by the Human Resources Council of Canada.
- Sergeant Brigitte O’Driscoll becomes the first woman in the Canadian Armed Forces to be certified as a Master Door Gunner.
- Canada receives its first new fixed-wing search and rescue CC-295 aircraft for life-saving missions across Canada’s challenging territory.
- As part of Operation HONOUR, CAF releases The Path to Dignity and Respect: The CAF Sexual Misconduct Response Strategy, a comprehensive culture change strategy to prevent and address sexual misconduct.
- Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander Royal Canadian Navy, issues Naval Order on Hateful Conduct to drive racism, discrimination and hateful conduct from RCN ranks.
- Lieutenant-Colonel Sarah Heer takes command of Joint Task Force-Ukraine, and is the first woman in the role. Fittingly, the change in command takes place during Women’s History Month.
CAF members load COVID-19 vaccines for distribution.
- CAF responds to multiple Requests for Assistance for COVID-19 in Neskantaga First Nation, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, and Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation.
- CAF begin Operation VECTOR, the Canadian Armed Forces’ support to the Federal, Provincial, and Territorial governments for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to immunization sites across Canada.
- CAF responds to additional Requests for Assistance in Shamattawa First Nation, Fond-du-Lac Denesuline First Nation, and Red Sucker Lake First Nation.
This year we tragically lost several members of our Defence family working on Exercises or Operations. We honour and remember their service and sacrifice.
The Crash of Stalker 22
On April 29, 2020, six members of the Canadian Armed Forces were killed when a Royal Canadian Air Force CH-148 Cyclone helicopter crashed while conducting maritime surveillance operations. The helicopter was deployed with HMCS Fredericton under Operation REASSURANCE as part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2. This tragic accident cost the lives of several Defence Team members, including:
- Captain Brenden MacDonald;
- Captain Kevin Hagen;
- Captain Maxime Miron-Morin;
- Master Corporal Matthew Cousins;
- Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke; and
- Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough
CF Snowbirds Accident
On May 17, during a cross-country tour to uplift the spirits of Canadians during the pandemic, a Snowbird crashed in Kamloops, BC. We lost Captain Jennifer Casey.
Wainwright Training Incident
In an accident during a live-fire training exercise at CFB Wainwright on October 30, we lost Cpl. James Choi of the Royal Westminster Regiment.
HMCS Winnipeg Incident
On December 14, Master Sailor Duane Earle went missing while deployed in Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg. On December 15, the active search was concluded and he was sadly not found.
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