PO2 Jacob Russell: A privilege and an honour

Navy News / November 5, 2021

“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,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class (PO2) Jacob Russell.

Born and raised in Halifax, NS, PO2 Russell always had an affinity for sailing and the ocean. As a young boy of six years old, he still clearly remembers his amazement watching the warships return following the Gulf War in 1991.

“Having no immediate family members in the military, I knew very little about the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). When I was ten years old however, I attended my first Air Show and saw young boys and girls dressed in well-ironed uniforms and highly polished boots. I had to wait until I was 12 to join Cadets,” he recalls.

After enrolling in a Bachelor of Arts Program at Saint Mary’s University he left to enroll in the Royal Canadian Navy. Even though he had left university, the importance of education was not lost on him so he asked the recruiter which Non-commissioned member trade involved the most education and was directed to pursue his career as a Weapons Engineering Technician - Sonar.

“I found the navy enticing for three reasons,” said Russell.

“I liked the idea of travel and adventure, the posting potentials were all great cities, and lastly I watched my father struggle entrepreneurially, and the job security provided by the CAF was not lost on me.”

After completing his basic and initial trade’s training PO2 Russell was posted to the West Coast and immediately began sailing.

PO2 Russell has served on Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships Winnipeg, Regina, Ottawa and Vancouver, participating in Operations Podium, Artemis, Carribe, Exercise Rim of the Pacific 18 and many other unnamed missions.

“During these deployments I have boarded boats in the Arabian Sea as “Alpha Six” with the boarding party, enjoyed many banyans and led dozens of flight deck fitness classes.”

PO2 Russell enjoyed his posting to Naval Fleet School Pacific where he had the opportunity to instruct Weapons Engineering Junior and Sonar application phases.

“While preparing the next generation of technicians for the fleet, this posting also gave me a chance to finish some studies of my own.”

He finished a Bachelors of Arts in Justice Studies at Royal Roads University, graduating in 2016.

PO2 Russell is presently posted at the Personnel Coordination Centre Pacific, where he has been stationed since July 2020.

The Remembrance Day Sentry Program was created in 1998 as a way of publicly acknowledging exemplary Regular Force and Reserve Force sailors, soldiers, aviators, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers.