Your Navy Today - Volume 5 Issue 8

Your Navy Today

Your Navy Today is a monthly newsletter highlighting your Royal Canadian Navy’s current operations, stories about our sailors and historic naval heroes, new equipment and technology and the top photos and videos. Click here to subscribe to the monthly email. Read our stories as they’re released by joining the Your Navy Today Facebook group.

Operations Update

RCN joins Operation Lentus


HMCS Margaret Brooke sailors listen to a resident of LaPoile, N.L., explain the damage caused by Hurricane Fiona.

Following the significant impact of Hurricane Fiona in Newfoundland and Labrador, Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) sailors in the Atlantic region were glad to join the hurricane relief effort as part of the Canadian Armed Forces' Operation (Op) Lentus.

Just days before coming back home from Op Nanook in the Canadian Arctic, the crew of His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Margaret Brooke was reassigned to Op Lentus.

Margaret Brooke’s sailors assessed damage and checked on citizens in semi-isolated communities only accessible by boat along the southwestern coast of Newfoundland.

The sailors were able to provide clean-up efforts in other communities. The crew was amazed to be greeted by grateful Canadians.

Naval Reserve sailors also assisted with relief efforts and clearing debris in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), and Newfoundland and Labrador.

In P.E.I., Charlottetown’s Naval Reserve Division, HMCS Queen Charlotte, opened its doors as a central operations and housing base, providing operational and logistical support to members as they worked tirelessly in recovery efforts.

HMC Ships Kingston and Summerside provide mine
countermeasures during Op Reassurance


Sailor 1st Class Shaun McManus is a sonar operator who used an autonomous underwater vehicle to track down underwater mines.

After illustrating Canada’s commitment to Op Reassurance – NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures in European waters – HMC Ships Kingston and Summerside return to their home port of Halifax today.

During their time on Reassurance, the ships sailed with Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 in the Baltic Sea and had an opportunity to hone their mine hunting skills.

“I never imagined I'd have the opportunity to hunt mines. It was really great to track down some real mines and destroy them,” said Sailor 1st Class (S1) Shaun McManus, a sonar operator.

Kingston-class vessels brought unique mine countermeasures capabilities to the table during Op Reassurance, including a clearance diving team and autonomous underwater vehicles.

Vancouver and Winnipeg continue making a
difference in the Indo-Pacific region


HMCS Winnipeg’s diving team gears up, inspects and maintains the ship while at a port in Thailand during Op Projection.

Deployed since last June, HMC Ships Vancouver and Winnipeg continue making a difference in the Indo-Pacific region.

Both warships are participating in Op Projection, illustrating Canada’s ongoing commitment to global peace and security. During the operation, the ships had the opportunity to train with international allies.

Lately, HMCS Vancouver has also supported Op Neon, Canada’s contribution to support the UN Security Council’s sanctions against North Korea in the Indo-Pacific.

The group of ships and aircraft from allied navies are tracking the potential evasion of maritime sanctions by North Korea, including ship-to-ship transfers of fuel and other items.

This is the seventh time since 2018 that the RCN has deployed to support Op Neon.

Divers deploy to Korea for Multinational Mine Countermeasures Exercise 22

From October 4 to 14, divers from Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific) deployed to the southern region of the Republic of Korea to participate in Multinational Mine Countermeasures Exercise 22.

The exercise involved a variety of operations to enhance the RCN’s mine countermeasures capability and to effectively integrate with allied and Korean forces. The exercise also increased an understanding of the mine warfare environment.

HMC Ships Montréal and Fredericton depart with Naval Replenishment Unit Asterix for exercise with US 2nd Fleet

HMC Ships Montréal and Fredericton departed with Naval Replenishment Unit Asterix on October 31 to participate in a training exercise with the U.S. Navy’s 2nd Fleet and the Gerald Ford Carrier Strike Group. Nine countries are participating in the exercise, which takes place off Canada’s East Coast until November 27.

The exercise provides opportunities for the RCN to maintain operational readiness and integrate with NATO allies.

Naval reservists participate in Ex Waking Giant


Naval Reserve sailors participate in Ex Waking Giant.

From September 24 to 25 in Thunder Bay, Ont., the multi-organizational exercise Waking Giant allowed over 140 participants to hone their military skills. The exercise, led by the Naval Reserve Division in Thunder Bay, Ont., HMCS Griffon, involved Canadian Coast Guard personnel, search and rescue technicians from 17 Wing Winnipeg, local army units, and members from each Naval Reserve Division in Ontario and Manitoba.

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HMCS Calgary honoured for record drug seizures


Members of HMCS Calgary stand with seized contraband during counter-smuggling operations in the Arabian Sea, which took place in June 2021 as part of Operation Artemis.

HMCS Calgary was recently recognized for its drug-seizing efforts during Op Artemis 2021. The ship was awarded the highest unit honour given in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the Canadian Forces Unit Commendation, for halting the flow of 33,573 kilograms of illicit narcotics in Middle Eastern waters. Learn more about how these unprecedented seizures greatly enhanced Canada’s standing as a valued partner in defence.

HMCS Margaret Brooke commissioned into service


Sailors board HMCS Margaret Brooke after the ship's commissioning ceremony in Halifax on October 28.

On October 28, the RCN officially welcomed HMCS Margaret Brooke into naval service with a commissioning ceremony.

This ceremony is a long-standing naval tradition and a special event for the ship’s company – proud sailors who have recently returned from the ship’s first deployment. The Commanding Officer, Commander Nicole Robichaud, was presented with the commissioning pennant.

The RCN’s ability to enforce sovereignty in Canadian waters is further enhanced, now that the second Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship is officially part of the fleet.

COVID-19 policy updated for military members

The RCN will continue to maintain COVID-19 vaccination requirements for all sailors deployed or assigned to our ships, to ensure that the RCN is prepared at all times to meet the needs and requirements of the Government of Canada.

Our sailors operate in a unique environment when deployed on ships, as they work and live in close quarters where comprehensive medical support is not readily available. Cases of severe illness or death have the potential to significantly impact the RCN’s operational readiness and effectiveness.

In addition to Government of Canada commitments, the RCN has a NATO requirement to have five ships and their crews ready to deploy at any time, and these crews must be ready in terms of both health and ability to act. In these circumstances, illness is a hazard to both sailors and the mission itself.

Vaccination is the most simple and efficient way to protect our workforce and the mission. Accordingly, unvaccinated sailors will not be authorized to serve on board warships.

Sailor reflects on a lifetime in uniform


Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Andy Hewlett at sea in HMCS Halifax earlier this summer.

Growing up in Newfoundland and Labrador, a career with the CAF was Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class (CPO2) Andy Hewlett’s dream from the moment he saw an air cadet handing out poppies at a local grocery store.

Over his past two decades of service, CPO2 Hewlett has seen a lot of changes, especially surrounding diversity and inclusion — and he’s played a key role in championing that change.

Sailors pay tribute to fallen at HMCS Kootenay ceremony


Sailors from across Canada came together on October 23 to honour and remember their shipmates who were killed in the HMCS Kootenay explosion, which happened in 1969.

On October 23, 53 years ago, HMCS Kootenay’s crew experienced the RCN’s worst peacetime accident. Kootenay was in transit from Plymouth, England, to Halifax when an explosion in the engine room resulted in an intense fire, which quickly spread to other parts of the ship.

“The ship’s crew courageously fought the fire and eventually brought it under control, but paid a terrible price,” said Captain (Navy) Retired (Capt(N) Ret’d) John Montague, an assistant weapons officer on board Kootenay in 1969. Nine sailors lost their lives and 53 were hospitalized with burns and smoke inhalation.

“Although we live and they have passed on, we will always remember them because ‘We are as one’,” said Capt(N) Ret’d Montague, quoting Kootenay’s motto.

HMCS Vancouver sailor inspires family to join


Sailor 1st Class Gabrielle Bissainthe (left) fires a .50 calibre gun, just like her father Paul did while serving in the U.S. Navy many years ago.

For S1 Gabrielle Bissainthe, 22, a naval communicator sailing in HMCS Vancouver, the RCN has become a family business.

After growing up listening to her father Paul talk about his time as a gunner’s mate in the U.S. Navy, she decided to try the Canadian Navy out for herself. What she didn’t realize at the time, however, was that her sister and father were interested too.


HMCS Donnacona wins the Commodore Cup


The Commander of the Naval Reserve, Commodore Patrick Montgomery, awarded the Commodore Cup to HMCS Donnacona.

The ship’s company of Montreal’s Naval Reserve Division, HMCS Donnacona, has been awarded the Commodore Cup for its contributions to domestic operations, support for operations abroad, dedication to community outreach, incredible leadership and recruiting the most members.

Bravo Zulu to the sailors and officers of HMCS Donnacona on a job well done! Its sailors are now entitled to wear the Commodore Cup patch on their uniforms.

Accelerated promotions to sailor 1st class / corporal to be the norm

The Commander RCN is committed to ensuring personnel working with the Navy full time are recognized for the performance of their duties. Commanding officers shall now consider every sailor 2nd class/private (trained) for accelerated promotion to sailor 1st class/corporal as being the norm, instead of the exception.

For full details, read the recently released Naval General Message on the subject (available internally only).

RCN’s Ken Nicholson retires after 50 years of public service 


Ken Nicholson (left) receives a Long Service Award recognizing his 50 years of service to the Department of National Defence and the Government of Canada from Rear-Admiral Chris Robinson (middle), Commander Maritime Forces Pacific. Mr. Nicholson's wife, Betty Jean, joins them.

After 50 years working with the Department of National Defence, Ken Nicholson is retiring. Ken grew up on the West Coast and joined the Naval Cadets at 13 and then transferred to the Naval Reserve at HMCS Malahat in Victoria.

In 1972, Ken left the Naval Reserve and began working full-time in the Public Service. His five-decade career began at the Canadian Forces Experimental Test Range and ended at the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, B.C., IT Service Management Centre.

Ken currently resides in Langford, B.C., with his wife Jeannie. They have three daughters and two grandchildren. The entire RCN family wishes Ken all the best in his retirement. Fair winds and following seas, Ken!

Be a part of the National Veterans’ Week Speakers Program 

Share your story by taking part in the National Veterans’ Week Speakers Program. To participate, complete the registration form located on the Defence Team’s program intranet page.



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