Your Navy Today - Volume 4 Issue 1

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Commander Royal Canadian Navy change of command ceremony January 12


Then-VAdm Art McDonald (left), General Jonathan Vance (centre) and VAdm Craig Baines (right) during the Commander Royal Canadian Navy change of command ceremony January 12.

Vice-Admiral (VAdm) Craig Baines assumed the duties of Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy (CRCN) from then-VAdm Art McDonald on January 12, in a virtual change of command ceremony presided over by General Jonathan Vance, the now former Chief of the Defence Staff, at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.

VAdm Baines, the 37th CRCN, has served in a variety of command and staff roles over the course of his career, most recently as Deputy Vice Chief of the Defence Staff.

“As I assume command from (then) Vice-Admiral McDonald, I would like to recognize the significant leadership that my shipmate has provided to the RCN throughout his command,” stated VAdm Baines.

“It goes without saying what an honour and privilege it is to become the 37th Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. Without question, the biggest part of this honour, is continuing to serve with a group of outstanding Canadians who wear a uniform on behalf of their country, often serving in a complex environment far from home.”

The outgoing CRCN has since been promoted to the rank of Admiral and succeeded General Vance as the 20th Chief of the Defence Staff in a ceremony held two days later.

Vice-Admiral Craig Baines


Vice-Admiral Craig Baines, Commander Royal Canadian Navy

Shortly after the change of command ceremony that made VAdm Craig Baines the 37th commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, he communicated his vision and priorities for the RCN under his leadership through his Flag Hoist Signal.

His vision’s keystone objective is respect. Respect for the RCN, respect for yourselves as members of the RCN, and most importantly respect for our fellow shipmates.

Additional priorities include the ongoing innovation the RCN is undertaking in the data and digitization spaces, as the overall digital vision of the RCN will enable everything we do as a service.

These priorities will be accomplished under the framework of “S3Charlie”, the shorthand for the four overarching priorities and themes of VAdm Baines’ tenure as CRCN. These themes are:

You can read the full Flag Hoist Signal on the RCN website.

HMCS Winnipeg’s ship’s company


HMCS Winnipeg’s ship’s company gathers in formation to honour and pay their respects to MS Duane Earle.

On December 19, 2020, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg and its embarked Cyclone helicopter returned home after spending 139 days deployed on Operation PROJECTION Asia-Pacific and Operation NEON.

During that time Winnipeg was able to intercept 17 vessels of interest and observed 13 ship-to-ship transfers. When not conducting security patrols, Winnipeg visited Japan and the United States, operated with nine partner navies and participated in three multinational exercises.

In total HMCS Winnipeg transited 29,178 nautical miles.

On December 14, during the transit home to Esquimalt, B.C., Master Sailor (MS) Duane Earle went missing. An extensive search, involving the ship’s Cyclone helicopter, a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CP-140 Aurora, a United States Coast Guard (USGC) C-27J search and rescue aircraft and a California Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft, was conducted over an area approximating 2,000 square nautical miles. The search took place over a period of 30 hours, and regretfully concluded unsuccessfully on December 16.

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is conducting an investigation into the circumstances of how MS Earle went missing.

To the loved ones of MS Earle, you remain part of the HMCS Winnipeg and the RCN family. We love and support you, fiercely and forever.

HMCS Toronto return


HMCS Toronto coming into port in Halifax.

HMCS Toronto concluded its deployment with Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) on Operation REASSURANCE as part of NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe and returned to Halifax on December 23, 2020.

During its 152 days on operation, Toronto participated in four major multinational exercises, operated with 14 partner nations and transited over 32,000 nautical miles.

HMC Ships Calgary, Whitehorse and Nanaimo


HMC Ships Calgary, Whitehorse and Nanaimo during TRIDENT FURY 20.

HMC Ships Calgary, with an embarked Cyclone helicopter, Regina, Nanaimo and Whitehorse participated in Exercise TRIDENT FURY 20 from November 30 to December 13, 2020, alongside Fleet Diving Unit Pacific, the Navy Tactical Operations Group, and assets from the RCAF and USCG.

Serials focused on the RCN’s interoperability with the RCAF and USCG, mine countermeasures training, as well as a full spectrum of air and sea tactical warfare training to enhance Canada’s ability to respond to offshore threats and unlawful acts from within a coalition environment. Personnel practised enhanced individual unit training and combat readiness, which included live fire, seamanship, maritime interdiction operations, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare, air defence, mine countermeasures and small boat defence events.

HMCS Calgary also used the exercise as an opportunity to complete its pre-deployment training in preparation for rotations on Operations ARTEMIS and PROJECTION in early 2021.

In order to safely proceed to sea in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, members embarking on Pacific fleet ships observed a pre-sail protocol designed to mitigate the risk of bringing the virus on the ship. The protocols involved quarantine periods and COVID-19 testing.

HMCS Halifax departure


The ship’s company of HMCS Halifax wave to family and friends while departing for a rotation on Op REASSURANCE.

HMCS Halifax departed its namesake city New Year’s Day to participate in a six-month rotation on Operation REASSURANCE in a quieter-than-normal departure ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Halifax will serve as the flagship of SNMG1 for the entire duration of its deployment, as Canada will be in command of the task group throughout the course of 2021.

This commitment demonstrates Canada and the RCN’s continued leadership as an agile fighting force and steadfast partner within the NATO alliance.

HMCS Halifax is the 15th Canadian warship to deploy on the operation since 2014 and demonstrates Canada’s commitment to peace and security in the region.

Signalman Roland Chalifoux


Signalman Roland Chalifoux at his post on board HMCS Milltown.

Roland Chalifoux served in HMCS Milltown, a Bangor-class minesweeper from 1942 to 1945 as a signalman. HMCS Milltown was part of the 31st Minesweeper Flotilla which served in the Battle of the Atlantic, Battle of the St. Lawrence and the Invasion of Normandy. As part of his service, he received the 1939-45 Star, the Atlantic Star, the France-Germany Star, the Canadian Volunteer Medal and the 1939-45 War Medal. In 2014, he was admitted as a Knight of the French Légion d’Honneur for his service during D-Day and the Liberation of France.

When under attack, Chalifoux would operate an Oerlikon 20mm anti-air canon. He also actively volunteered for other duties when his shipmates were injured or sick. As such, he at times sacrificed his rest time to take the role of helmsman or Very High Frequency (VHF) radio operator.

Chalifoux wanted to join the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve because he felt he could not just sit idly by while people needed help overseas. In order to join, he lied about his age so he could start training and ship out. That’s how important this was for him.

HMCS Harry DeWolf sails in Conception Bay, N.L.


HMCS Harry DeWolf sails in Conception Bay, N.L., on November 16, 2020.

Canada’s first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) spent much of October and November 2020 at sea, conducting readiness training and trialing new capabilities.

The ship departed Halifax on November 13 to circumnavigate Newfoundland, where it also visited ports outside of Nova Scotia for the first time, beginning with three days at anchor near Conception Bay South, N.L., from November 16-18.

The ship and its crew are continuing with an intensive trials and training program that has it on track to be commissioned and fully deployable by the summer of 2021. One focus on this particular trip was to introduce the long range over-the-horizon capabilities of the new multi-role rescue boats and the ship’s landing craft.

“This is establishing a new ‘away team’ concept that will give significant reach to any domestic patrol,” said Commander Corey Gleason, HMCS Harry DeWolf’s Commanding Officer. He added that these successful trials were in addition to ship handling, turning and speed trials, along with crane and rigging tests, which were completed earlier in the fall.

The two-week trip also included a chance to work with members of the 5th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group while sailing near the community of Bonavista, as well as an at-sea memorial for the victims who died aboard the SS Caribou, a passenger ferry sunk by a German submarine just off Port-aux-Basques in October 1942. There was a short stop in St. John’s on November 24 to embark Commodore Richard Feltham, Commander Canadian Fleet Atlantic, before returning to Halifax.

HMCS Glace Bay’s participation in Op NANOOK in 2020


Protecting the Arctic ecosystem during northern deployments, such as during HMCS Glace Bay’s participation in Op NANOOK in 2020, is part of the Navy’s Green Strategy.

The RCN is committed to achieving the energy and environmental objectives required to meet its commitments under the Defence Energy and Environment Strategy (DEES), while maintaining a naval force that is “Ready to Help, Ready to Lead, Ready to Fight.”

In order to meet these objectives, the RCN has developed a Green Strategy to help improve environmental stewardship by setting out a vision for an embedded green culture across all its bases, activities and business, which will result in reducing the Navy’s environmental footprint. This includes initiatives that will contribute to improved energy efficiency, enhanced environmentally sustainable operations, increased green procurement and expanded sustainable workplace practices.

The RCN is committed to achieving the goals and objectives set out in the DEES, as well as contributing towards achieving broader Government of Canada commitments outlined in the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy and the Greening Government Strategy. This will result in a steady state where the RCN’s sailors and ships can operate globally with minimal negative impact on the environment.

The RCN is applying its greening agenda to the operation of its current fleet and the transition to its future fleet, while implementing numerous specific environmental initiatives that support its Green Strategy.

S1 Christine d’Assylvas


S1 Christine d’Assylvas

Meet Sailor 1st Class Christine d’Assylvas. She has been in the RCN for seven years, and is a medical technician on board HMCS Ville de Québec.

S1 Nicolas Graham


S1 Nicolas Graham

Meet Sailor 1st Class Nicolas Graham. He is a marine technician in HMCS Summerside, which returned from Operation CARIBBE in the Central Caribbean in early December 2020.


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