Lieutenant (Navy) Tristan Lapointe

Sailor Profile / May 24, 2018

There’s a first time for everything, and for Lt(N) Tristan Lapointe of Saint-Jérôme, Québec, deploying with the Royal Canadian Navy on Op Projection provided him with a couple – his first time in Africa, and his first time sailing in a different class of ship.

“I’ve never sailed on a Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel before,” said Lt(N) Lapointe. “I have more experience on the frigates, but learning about a new platform and how the ship handles itself in the water is really exciting.”

Lt(N) Lapointe, is a Naval Warfare Officer onboard HMCS Summerside. He’s been deployed since January 26, 2018 to West Africa as part of Op Projection – a strategic engagement with regional nations to support capacity building and foster relationships with partner navies. The deployment consisted of port visits to seven different West African countries, including several community relations events.

“I’ve never been to West Africa before. Learning about the culture and sharing quality experiences with the local communities is amazing. I feel very fortunate to be part of this operation,” said Lt(N) Lapointe.

In addition to learning about West Africa, Lt(N) Lapointe is honing his navigation skills during the deployment. He’s the Navigation Officer, which is also known as the “Pilot.” “I’m in charge of the safe navigation of the ship at sea, especially when coming in and out of harbours,” said Lt(N) Lapointe. He’s practicing these skills during Op Projection in anticipation of an important navigation course he’s taking this summer in Esquimalt, B.C. “Learning about navigation is definitely my favourite part on this operation, especially since I’m planning the navigation passages for the West African ports,” added Lt(N) Lapointe.

Lt(N) Lapointe’s interest in the military started at a young age. “After I joined the Royal Canadian Army Cadets at 12 years old, I realized the military lifestyle was always something that I admired,” said Lt(N) Lapointe. He wanted to be a leader, so after graduating high school from École Polyvalente in Saint-Jérôme, he went on to Royal Military College in Kingston, ON, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Military Strategic Studies.

When asked about what he loves about his job, Lt(N) Lapointe has many. “Being at sea, driving warships as a Bridge Watchkeeper, and having the opportunity the travel the world on the water, it doesn’t get much better than this! I also love the people I meet and work with. I’m still a junior officer, so I learn every day from experienced sailors, both members of the ranks and officers. I fuel on challenges and enjoy overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles. I also learn new things about myself regularly as I progress through my career,” said Lt(N) Lapointe.

Lt(N) Lapointe returns to his hometown of Saint-Jérôme three to four times a year, for at least one week at a time. “I am the person that I am today because of my friends, family and entourage from Saint-Jérôme and la region des Laurentides.” 

Despite having an experience of a lifetime in West Africa, Lt(N) Lapointe says that he’ll always “miss my home and my country, always.”