Your Navy Today - Volume 4 Issue 9

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A sailor on board HMCS Harry DeWolf handles seized narcotics


A sailor on board HMCS Harry DeWolf handles seized narcotics during Operation Caribbe.

Since deploying on Operation (Op) Caribbe, Canada’s first Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf, and its embarked United States Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment, have completed two successful drug interdictions in the Eastern Pacific.

The first bust occurred on November 8, 2021, when a vessel of interest was intercepted under darkness and resulted in the seizure of 1,300 kg of cocaine, intelligence about a transnational criminal organization, and the disruption of an identified smuggling route.

Only 10 days later in the early morning of November 18, Harry DeWolf identified a “go fast” vessel of interest roughly 26 nautical miles from its position. The ship’s crew calmly prepared their Multi-Role Rescue Boats and the pursuit was on. Once stopped, the search of the vessel yielded 1,289 kg of cocaine.

The deployment to Op Caribbe is part of the ship’s larger, months-long circumnavigation of North America. Harry DeWolf will soon begin its transit up the Eastern Seaboard by way of the Panama Canal, to arrive home to Halifax in time for the holidays.

HMCS Winnipeg sails in formation


HMCS Winnipeg sails in formation at the beginning of Annualex 2021.

HMCS Winnipeg, currently deployed to the Asia-Pacific region on Operation Projection, participated in an annual exercise in the Philippine Sea from November 21-30.

In addition to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), participating navies included the Royal Australian Navy, German Navy, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Navy.

An opportunity to enhance interoperability, the exercise focused on areas such as enhanced maritime communications tactics, anti-submarine warfare operations, air warfare operations, replenishments-at-sea, cross-deck flight operations and maritime interdiction manoeuvers.

“The Royal Canadian Navy is proud to be part of this significant exercise that serves to enhance interoperability and integration among allied and partner nations,” said Commander Doug Layton, Commanding Officer of HMCS Winnipeg.

“Our combined efforts during Annualex help to build confidence in operating with one another and maintain the highest levels of readiness between like-minded navies.”

Sailor 2nd Class Alicia Campbell stands ready to fight a simulated fire


Sailor 2nd Class Alicia Campbell stands ready to fight a simulated fire in sleeping quarters aboard HMCS Fredericton during an air defence exercise as part of Operation Reassurance.

Early in the morning of November 18, while deployed on Operation Reassurance off the coast of Norway, a fire occurred in the forward engine room of HMCS Fredericton.

When the crew discovered the fire, they took action immediately and extinguished it. No one was injured.

After inspecting the ship and confirming there was no continued threat, the ship proceeded under its own power to Trondheim, Norway, for inspections and repairs. Throughout the episode, Fredericton was assisted by several other NATO warships that were part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, as well as Her Danish Majesty’s Ship Triton and the Norwegian Coast Guard.

At the time of writing, the ship is still alongside in Trondheim, concluding its initial investigation and planning repairs to the engine with support from back in Canada. Fredericton is expected to return home to Halifax as planned for the holiday period.

This incident is another stark reminder that, both alongside and at sea, fires in ships are a constant threat every sailor must be ready to fight.

Sailors 2nd Class Audrina N’Guessan and Patrick Pilon made regular video calls to grade four students


As part of the Ship to Shore program, HMCS Calgary’s Sailors 2nd Class Audrina N’Guessan and Patrick Pilon made regular video calls to grade four students at Douglasdale School in the city of Calgary while the ship deployed in 2021.

While conducting a counter-terrorism mission in the Arabian Sea on their last deployment, sailors on board HMCS Calgary paused from their work or got out of their racks mid-sleep to answer questions from grade school students back in Canada.

“Essentially, we got up in the middle of the night while deployed to do video conferencing calls with students in grades four to six from four different public schools around the city of Calgary,” said Sailor 2nd Class (S2) Audrina N’Guessan, a boatswain by trade and one of the roughly 20 sailors on board Calgary who participated in the innovative Ship to Shore program this year.

“We also talked to them by email and they sent us questions and we answered them on the call. We sent them imagery and videos of the ship. It was a way for the children to learn about what their Navy does,” she said.

The Ship to Shore program started in the 2019-2020 school year as a collaboration between the RCN, the Calgary Board of Education and other stakeholders, with the intention of giving children a unique opportunity to learn about what their Navy does while also fostering good relations between HMCS Calgary and its namesake city. Also participating in the program was Naval Reserve Division HMCS Tecumseh, based out of the city of Calgary. A success in its first year, the program continued in 2020-2021 and satellite internet on ship permitted them to continue while deployed.

Navy divers lift old ordnance


Navy divers lift old ordnance from sunken Second World War-era freighters.

Beneath the icy blue water off Bell Island, NL, are the remnants of naval history – four Second World War-era sunken ships.

It’s a favourite spot for recreational divers, but as with any sunken warship, there are dangers associated with unexploded ordnance and ammunition.

This summer, a team of clearance divers from Fleet Diving Units Pacific and Atlantic, and Combat Divers from 4 Combat Engineer Support Regiment, spent three weeks finishing the removal of these items, which began in 2019.

Clearing the site of hazards will allow the Government of Canada to declare the shipwrecks a national historic site.

The sunken relics are all freighters, Steam Ships Saganaga, Lord Strathcona, Rose Castle, and PLM 27. In the Second World War, they were equipped with weaponry and explosives for protection against German U-boat attacks during the Battle of the Atlantic. They were tasked with carrying iron ore from Bell Island’s mine to steel mills in Nova Scotia as part of the war effort. Over 60 sailors died when German submarines sunk the ships.

A walrus perches on a large slab of ice.


A walrus perches on a large slab of ice.

During their transit through the Arctic last fall, sailors on board HMCS Harry DeWolf came in contact with more than just icebergs and vast open skies. Encounters with wildlife unique to the region were a highlight of this portion of their circumnavigation of North America.

One remarkable sighting began as nothing more than an odd dot on the horizon for sailors dispatched in Harry DeWolf’s Multi-Role Rescue Boat to photograph a particularly large ice berg.

“We slowly inched closer to this brown and black dot on the horizon, it just completely stood out from its surroundings,” said Medical Officer Major Lili Zhang, one of the sailors in the boat. “We maintained a safe distance from it, but it was unmistakeable, a lone walrus was perched on a large slab of ice.”

Thanks to Sub-Lieutenant Karen Winzowski who had supplied the crew with her own copy of an arctic wildlife field manual, crew members have been reading up on the wildlife they have encountered.

During the transit through Canada’s storied Northwest Passage on Operation Nanook 2021, every member of HMCS Harry DeWolf has had their own wildlife sighting story.

In order to better meet the needs of ill and injured members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), changes have been approved to Compensation and Benefits Instructions (CBI) 211.

The Attendant Care Benefit (CBI 211.04), the Caregiver Benefit (CBI 211.05) and the Spousal Education Upgrade Benefit (CBI 211.06) are now available to all ill and injured members, regardless of where they’ve been injured while on duty, following an assessment by a CAF medical officer or authorized civilian physician.

Changes to the reimbursement process for the Home Assistance Benefit (CBI 211.03) are also being made.

For more information, read the full story in The Maple Leaf.

In an effort to reduce personal and family stress for CAF members during difficult life situations, new sub-types of compassionate leave have been included in Chapter 7 of the Canadian Forces Leave Policy Manual (CFLPM).

Also, two new short leave sub-types have been introduced in Chapter 9 of the CFLPM.

For information on the leave policy amendments, read the full story in The Maple Leaf.

Please remember that in challenging personal situations you can talk to your chain of command, or request confidential counselling through the Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program.

PO2 Jacob Russell


PO2 Jacob Russell

Meet Petty Officer 2nd Class (PO2) Jacob Russell. PO2 Russell is a Weapons Engineering Technician – Sonar and was selected for this year’s Remembrance Day Sentry Program.

“I was truly shocked when my coxswain announced that I was selected for the Remembrance Day Sentry Program. I have been attending Remembrance Day ceremonies since I was a young child, and it is a privilege to be able to honour those that have given the ultimate sacrifice.”

CPO1 Peggy Bradford


CPO1 Peggy Bradford

Meet Chief Petty Officer 1st Class (CPO1) Peggy Bradford, an advisor with the Naval Reserve Support Branch at HMCS Scotian. She joined the Naval Reserve in 1981, and had no idea she had found her lifelong career — she was just a Grade 11 student thrilled to have landed a great summer job.

“I’ve loved it all the way and I’m still enjoying what I do,” said CPO1 Bradford,

“Being in the military helps to bring out skills you didn’t even know you had. You learn so much and have lots of opportunities for leadership. I think it’s a wonderful career.”

The morale patch MS Gauthier designed for the 20th anniversary.


The morale patch MS Gauthier designed for the 20th anniversary of Victoria-class submarines.

Meet Master Sailor (MS) Allan Gauthier. When he is not on the job as a Weapons Engineering Technician with Her Majesty’s Canadian Submarine Victoria, he is in his studio with pencil or brush in hand.

“Even before the pandemic began, everything on the news seemed to be negative and there were so many people saying hateful things,” said MS Gauthier.

“The one thing I can control in my life is my artwork and the pandemic gave me an opportunity to refocus on myself and take time to do what I enjoy doing.”


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