LCdr Woodburn was Engaged in the World on Op PROJECTION
The engagements we had over West Africa really focused on maritime security. And maritime security is not just a West Africa problem, it’s an international problem. And Navy works best when they’re in task groups and working with their allied partners, but those partnerships take time to foster. So, being over there, Canada now had two years a row where we’re learning how the West African regions work, not just at Navy, but also ashore in their operation centres. And we’re finding ways to incorporate ourselves into that.
I’m LCdr Matt Woodburn. I’m the commanding officer for HMCS Kingston here on the East Coast.
HMCS Kingston and HMCS Summerside had sailed in January for a deployment over Africa, West Africa region. The first part was very diplomatic centric. So, we want to show the Canadian flag, the Royal Canadian Navy presence over in the West African region. So, that involves several different African countries where we linked up and worked closely with her ambassadors and high commissioners and their staffs to showcase what it is, the Navy and Canadians, are all about.
Another big part was the women in non traditional roles. The two ships that I’ve already mention, HMCS Kingston and Summerside, our command teams, collectively, we’re 50% male and 50% female. Just demonstrating that we have women here that are mechanics, that we have women here that are in leadership roles. We have women that, you know, in the greater CAF that fly airplanes. They do anything. There’s no trade that’s off limit.
But there was also opportunities for us to just do cross training so that we see how they operate and they see how we operate. And then, we put that together and go out and do certain tasks together. So, a lot of what we were involved with involved maritime interdiction operations or boarding operations where their teams would come over, we would be a target of interest. So, we would stick on a certain profile, we would have actors made up the ship’s company, providing certain roles in a role-playing so that when their teams come on board, they didn’t know what to expect. So that they could get true training and true capacity-building out of it. And then, we could have a dialogue afterwards to say what we saw that we do very similar and what we saw that we don’t necessary do similar and maybe query why they did that.
And the flexibility is a big key role to that engagement. The flexibility of the Navy offers. When we sail out the door with a train, people that we have on board and the training we receive, it’s very flexible. We can go out the door for one mission and then, if something changes in short order, we can reroll in theatre with our allied partners and really bring that effect in short order.
Canada and the Canadian Navy is a globally deployed force. And we’re over there to show the strength and commitment that we, as Canadians, have all over the world.
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