HMCS Charlottetown had a change of command during Operation REASSURANCE

Three men sit at a table and sign papers
Kiel, Germany. September 8, 2017 – Commander Jeff Hutt, Commodore Craig Skjerpen, and Commander Nathan Decicco sign certificates during the Change of Command ceremony on board Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Charlottetown while during Operation REASSURANCE. (Image by Corporal J.W.S. Houck - Formation Imaging Services)

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By Lieutenant (N) Meghan Jacques, Operation REASSURANCE Maritime Task Force Unit Public Affairs Representative

On Friday, September 8, 2017—one month after HMCS Charlottetown departed Halifax, N.S., for Operation REASSURANCE—command of HMCS Charlottetown was passed from Commander Jett Hutt to Commander Nathan Decicco. Cdr Decicco was previously the Executive Officer of HMCS Charlottetown. This was HMCS Charlottetown’s second “in-theatre” change of command, making Charlottetown the veteran of operational command changes for the Canadian Atlantic Fleet.

The change of command ceremony was held in Kiel, Germany, in the hangar of HMCS Charlottetown. It was attended by every department of the ship’s company, with each presenting a special gift to the outgoing Commanding Officer in recognition of his remarkable leadership during his command tour. The official ceremony and signing of the change of command certificate was overseen by the Reviewing Officer, Commodore Craig Skjerpen and the Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic.

Enacting the contingency plan put into place prior to the deployment, the ship’s company and the new commanding officer remain in all respects ready to carry out the mission, despite the departure of Commander Hutt. The role of Executive Officer, left vacant by Commander Decicco’s appointment, is now filled by Lieutenant-Commander Paul Mountford. He previously commander HMCS Kingston. LCdr Mountford joined the ship following the ceremony to integrate into the Charlottetown team.

Although Cdr Jeff Hutt is required to return to Canada for medical reasons, he knows he is leaving the ship in capable hands. In statements both to the crew and sent out to the families, he explained clearly how he knew that the newly promoted commander was the right man for the job: “He knows this ship, the mission, and most importantly, he knows your loved ones extremely well and places their safety, security, and wellbeing as his highest priority.”

“This is not a sad day,” Cdr Hutt said in his address. In fact, he iterated that it was a day to “celebrate.” This sentiment was echoed by Cdr Decicco, who said that the fact that he was able to step into operational command of a deployed, high readiness ship was indicative of “everything right about the Navy.” With careful planning and deliberate training, HMCS Charlottetown has remained a fully-forged team, ready to face all upcoming challenges.

To date on its deployment, HMCS Charlottetown has steamed over 6400 nautical miles, completed four replenishments-at-sea and five NATO photo exercises with ships from the navies of more than seven different countries, and logged 100 flying hours with its embarked CH-124 helicopter. The crew expects to accomplish no less under their new command team, and wish their outgoing commanding officer good health, fair winds, and following seas.

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  • A man stands in front of a crest and speaks to an audience
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  • Three men sit at a table and sign papers
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