Leading Seaman (LS) Robert Dykstra

Atlantic Region News / October 24, 2017

Leading Seaman (LS) Robert Dykstra, a Weapons Engineer Technician onboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Montréal, grew up in Pictou, Nova Scotia, which he still visits every two to three months when he’s not sailing.

After graduating from Northumberland Regional High School, LS Dykstra attended university, but realized his original plans for the future wasn’t what he really wanted to do. A friend who was in the Navy at the time encouraged him to enlist and Dykstra accepted the challenge.

“I have enjoyed the challenge and diversity of the job ever since,” he says. “I love being able to work with both the mechanical aspect of my equipment, as well as the electronic side. Seeing something work on a computer is well and good, but there’s nothing like seeing your weapons systems successfully complete a gunnery exercise.”

In September 2017, HMCS Montréal deployed to Western Europe to participate in NEPTUNE TRIDENT 17, a Royal Canadian Navy deployment. While onboard HMCS Montréal, Dykstra’s duties include maintenance of the gun and crane systems on the ship, including a 57 Mark III, Close in Weapons System, Multi Ammunition Softkill System, deck cranes, and the Rubber Hull Inflatable Boat Davitt crane system. He also serves as a member of the Combat Systems Engineering Department, acting as a first responder for any shipborne Hazardous Material incident.

Dykstra considers being bilingual an important skill for his job. He took French Immersion all through school, beginning in grade four and graduated in grade 12 with a French Immersion diploma. During NEPTUNE TRIDENT 17, the ship stopped in Brest, France for a port visit, and while touring the city, he was able to help translate for other colleagues who only spoke English. “It was a challenge to learn back in the day, but I’m glad that I persevered through it,” Dykstra said.