Reservists experience POSEIDON CUTLASS 17 on HMCS Ottawa

The naval reservists onboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Ottawa with Commander Sylvain Belair, commanding officer and Chief Petty Officer, First Class Alden Darragh, coxswain, on POSEIDON CUTLASS 17. Photo: Royal Canadian Navy Public Affairs.
The naval reservists onboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Ottawa with Commander Sylvain Belair, commanding officer and Chief Petty Officer, First Class Alden Darragh, coxswain, on POSEIDON CUTLASS 17. Photo: Royal Canadian Navy Public Affairs.

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By Sub-Lieutenant S. Mairi Anderson and Acting Sub-Lieutenant Robyn Hawco

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Ottawa will return shortly to Esquimalt after POSEIDON CUTLASS 17, a five-month deployment in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

POSEIDON CUTLASS 17 supported regional peace and security and strengthened Canadian diplomatic and defence relations in the region. It also provided the necessary time at sea and in port for Force Generation for both Regular Force members and eight naval reservists from across Canada.

The integration of naval reservists on major deployments is the result of the successful transition of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) to the one Navy concept. An important part of the concept is the continuing re-alignment of the Naval Reserves towards a model in which Naval reservists are trained to supplement the Regular Force at home and abroad through part-time and full-time service.

“I have been impressed by the professionalism and seamless integration of the naval reservists onboard HMCS Ottawa,” says Commander Sylvain Belair, Commanding Officer of HMCS Ottawa. “On Ottawa we don’t have Regular and Reserve Force members; we have well-trained, enthusiastic and professional sailors working together as one team to achieve mission success. I am proud that this deployment has proven that we are one Navy, able to employ both Regular and Reserve Force sailors on important international missions.”

Able Seaman Andrew Scott, boatswain, is also enjoying his time onboard HMCS Ottawa. AB Scott, a member of HMCS Carleton, the Naval Reserve Division in Ottawa, Ont., is making progress on his on-the-job progression record. So far the experience is beyond his expectations. His time aboard has included a number of replenishments-at-sea, deck evolutions, weapons shoots and small boat handling. These kinds of experiences are exactly why AB Scott joined the RCN.

“I’m getting to learn a lot,” he says. “Our busy schedule includes a lot of deck work that I need to progress in my training, and I’m really enjoying the routine aboard a frigate.”

For some, like AB Mitchell Keay, a naval communicator from HMCS Star in Hamilton, Ont., the experience has been eye opening. He previously sailed aboard Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels where naval communicators spend much less time on the bridge. Being on HMCS Ottawa has opened his eyes to the role of the maritime surface and sub-surface (MARS) officers.

“After I complete my education, I would like to get my commission, so it’s been great seeing first-hand the role that MARS officers play onboard ship.”

Prior to this sail, AB Keay enjoyed port visits to much colder climates like Greenland and Canada’s Arctic. The port visits on POSEIDON CUTLASS 17 have been very different.

“The old saying really is true; join the Navy, see the world,” he says. “This trip has really opened my eyes to other cultures,” he adds.

As the crew of HMCS Ottawa returns home in August after sailing over 29 000 nautical miles, the concept of Regular and Reserve Force has been erased; the Naval Reservists are simply sailors, just like the 211 other sailors on board.

Image gallery

  • Able Seaman Andrew Scott, a boatswain onboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Ottawa, performs upper deck maintenance as the ship transits the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Hawaii on POSEIDON CUTLASS 17. Photo: Royal Canadian Navy Public Affairs.
  • Able Seaman Mitchell Keay, a naval communicator onboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Ottawa, bends on flag Golf as the ship transits the Pacific on POSEIDON CUTLASS 17. Photo: Royal Canadian Navy Public Affairs.
  • Leading Seaman Donald Meacham, a supply technician and casualty clearer onboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Ottawa, practices his bag valve mask technique in sick bay during a simulated casualty exercise on POSEIDON CUTLASS 17. Photo: Royal Canadian Navy Public Affairs.
  • Leading Seaman Marius Czechowski, a marine technician onboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Ottawa conducts rounds in the engine space of the ship during POSEIDON CUTLASS 17. Photo: Royal Canadian Navy Public Affairs.
  • The naval reservists onboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Ottawa with Commander Sylvain Belair, commanding officer and Chief Petty Officer, First Class Alden Darragh, coxswain, on POSEIDON CUTLASS 17. Photo: Royal Canadian Navy Public Affairs.
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