CAF Story | Mom and Dad in Command of the Same Ship

Commander Victoria Margaret De Vita and Lieutenant-Commander Christopher Michael De Vita

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(VD): I was fortunate to know just slightly ahead of Chris that he was getting HMCS Glace Bay. I just really felt proud of my husband. There was no thought at being a first in the fact that both my husband and I had commanded the same ship.

(CD): Absolutely nothing, sir. Do you want a better answer than that? Still nothing.

I would say my style of command is transformational leadership.

(VD): Oh no! You used my term.

(CD): Yeah. I’ll use that word. I’m trying to give them my intent and what I would like to have them to have accomplished. And then, empowering those people to come up with decisions.

(VD): There are individuals onboard doing this job. But their potential for the next job and to grow in their own trade has to be addressed. To be a commanding officer of any ship is an honour. It was so much fun for those two years that I was in command. I am Commander Victoria Margaret De Vita. I was commanding officer of HMCS Glace Bay from July of 2013 to July of 2015.

(CD): It’s been somewhere between fantastic and amazing. There is such a motivating crew here. And when you work with great people, you can’t help but have great expectations and a great time. I’m Lieutenant-Commander Christopher Michael De Vita and I’m Glace Bay’s current commanding officer. With Glace Bay, she and I can talk about the quirks of the ship in particular, which is quite the advantage. The interesting disadvantage though is that there’s always a bit of a friendly jab here and there in terms of “what you’re doing” and “I would have done it this way or that way.”, or that kind of thing. But mainly, that has been a good nature. Most of the time.

(VD): Most of the time. There are people onboard HMCS Glace Bay that were here when I was in command. And Chris has mentioned a couple of times and even with me, they have mentioned that it’s nice to have both mom and dad in command of the same ship.

(CD): And then I got a very beautiful Christmas card and it said something to the effect that: “Mom let us get away with more.” So I think at this point, it’s particularly… It’s just good banter. And I think it highlights a little bit about how much the Navy can be a family. Not only with Vicky and I, but within the ship itself and within the Navy as a whole.

There have been a couple of times where we have both been deployed at the same time. And sometimes that can be tricky to stick handle in terms of the parenting roles.

(VD): We have talked to our children many times about what mom and dad do for a living. They are very proud of what we do. They understand that we are out there trying to either help someone else or be that difference that we want to be. They become very strong and independent children. I’m very proud of them.

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