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Crowsnest - Fall 2013 / November 4, 2013

Peter Bissonnette joins the Royal Canadian Navy as Honorary Captain

President of Shaw Communications Peter Bissonnette is the Royal Canadian Navy’s newest Honorary Naval Captain, affiliated with the office of the Commander Maritime Forces Pacific, in Esquimalt, B.C.

“I am humbled and proud to be appointed Honorary Naval Captain and look forward to working with my new shipmates in the navy,” said Mr. Bissonnette. “Having spent the better part of my career at Shaw, I see the power that relationships, family values, conviction and commitment can have in making an organization successful.”

He added that “as an Honorary Naval Captain, I will have the opportunity to see first-hand the significant role the navy plays in international and domestic affairs, and promote the virtues that make it such a great institution. I am grateful to the navy’s leadership for nominating me and for providing the opportunity to appreciate the tremendous efforts and sacrifice that each member of the navy makes on behalf of all Canadians.”

Mr. Bissonnette’s experience in telecommunications and as a former Canadian Armed Forces member has helped him forge strong successful relationships in his business, community and personal life.

Honorary Naval Captains act as a bridge between military and civilian communities, and help link diverse areas of Canadian society – from politics and business to journalism and the arts. They bring with them unique skills and connections that help strengthen the navy’s ties to Canadian communities in order to promote a better understanding of maritime defence issues.

Honorary Naval Captains are quite visible, attending significant naval, Canadian Armed Forces, and public events and ceremonies in uniform across the country. The Minister of National Defence, on the recommendations of the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Commander Royal Canadian Navy, is the approving authority for all appointments.


Park renamed in honour of clearance diver

By Captain Tyrone Grande

A park in Dartmouth, N.S., has been renamed in honour of a navy clearance diver who was killed by an improvised explosive device on May 4, 2010 while serving in Afghanistan.

Family and friends gathered on the grassy field of Montebello Park September 21 to remember Petty Officer 2nd Class Craig Blake. As a clearance diver at Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic (FDUA) in Halifax, PO2 Blake was trained and deployed as a highly specialized explosive ordinance disposal professional. Just over two weeks into his time overseas, his vehicle sustained an explosion on the way back to base that killed him and severely wounded a fellow comrade and friend. 

“PO2 Blake wasn’t just a member of the Royal Canadian Navy, he was also an active member of his community participating as a local hockey coach and triathlete. He was also a loving father and husband to his wife and two sons,” said Dartmouth city councillor Darren Fisher at a ceremony to rename Montebello Park the PO2 Craig Blake Memorial Park.

The ceremony, led by the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and PO2 Blake’s wife and two sons, Priscilla, Ty and Cain, was well attended by much of the local community where PO2 Blake resided, including HRM city officials, colleagues from FDUA and members of PO2 Blake’s former cycling club and the Dartmouth Whalers hockey team where he had volunteered as a coach. 

 “A navy doesn’t stand alone without the support of its community,” said Rear-Admiral John Newton, Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic. “Ceremonies like this help us to remember the continued dedication of our sailors and members of our community like PO2 Blake who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to Canadians. It is our communities who enable us to continue serving at home and abroad. Thank you so much for your support.”


Chilean Navy presents Arturo Prat Award to Canadian naval officer

By Lieutenant (Navy) Daniel Turcotte

The Chilean defence attaché to Canada, Captain (Navy) Ramiro Navajas, presented the Arturo Prat Award to Lieutenant (Navy) Andrew Foran June 7 during a ceremony held at Canadian Forces Fleet School (Québec). The award, now in its third year, is given to the top candidate on the navy’s coastal operations course, phase three, at the school.

“The Arturo Prat Award not only symbolizes the professional connection and friendship between our two navies, but also recognizes the academic success of our young officers,” said Capt(N) Jill Marrack, Deputy Commander of the Naval Reserve of Canada. “It is an elegant way to acknowledge the dedication they have shown to the Royal Canadian Navy and the pride they take in wearing its uniform.”

During the ceremony, with almost 100 military members on parade, Capt(N) Ramiro Navajas said, “This ceremony expresses the friendship and collaboration that have been built between the navies of Chile and Canada that will continue into the future with wind in the sails.”

This year’s recipient, Lt(N) Foran, is an operations officer on board HMCS Summerside, a Kingston-class maritime coastal defence vessel. A native of Summerside, P.E.I., he joined the navy in 2003 as a maritime surface and sub-surface officer. In the fall of 2012, he completed the coastal operations course, phase three, which evaluates students during operations specific to Kingston-class ships, both in a simulator and at sea.

By distinguishing himself on the course, Lt(N) Foran became the third recipient of the Arturo Prat Award, which recognizes leadership skills, seamanship and strong character – values embodied by Chilean naval hero Arturo Prat. Prat perished on May 21, 1879 at Iquique, Chile, during a famous naval battle in which his ship, an 868‑tonne wooden corvette, was pitted against the Huáscar, a 1,200‑tonne Peruvian armoured turret ship. Realizing that his vessel’s manoeuvrability had been reduced by enemy fire, Prat surprised the Peruvians by ordering his decimated crew to board the Huáscar.


Submarine contract extended

Babcock Canada Inc. has been awarded a five-year extension on its contract to refit and maintain Canada’s Victoria-class submarines.

The extension exercises the first five-year option period of the Victoria In-Service Support Contract that was competitively awarded in 2008. This contract extension has a value of approximately $531 million. The contract includes a number of extension options that could bring the contract duration to 15 years, with a potential maximum value of $1.5 billion.All heavy maintenance work covered by the in-service support contract will take place at Victoria Shipyards Co. Ltd., in Esquimalt, B.C. Work under the contract includes planning and managing the refit periods of the submarines; materiel acquisition; all maintenance activities, including extended docking work periods; and engineering services. An extended docking work period involves the comprehensive maintenance, repair, overhaul or upgrading of each of the submarine's more than 200 systems.