Montréal, Québec — For almost 25 years, the Great Lakes Deployment (GLD) has been teaching Canadians about the key role played by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and the Canadian Forces (CF) in their daily lives. And so each year the CF press one of the RCN’s 12 frigates into service.
Not just sailors aboardThe crews that man RCN ships are not limited to sailors. In fact, when you take a closer look, you quickly notice that some of the crew members wear epaulettes from the Canadian Army. Warrant Officer Mark McLennan, a physician assistant aboard HMCS Montréal, is a good example.
“I’m a member of the Army, which I love,” he pointed out. “I’ve spent most of my career on campaigns and missions. So it took me a bit of time to adjust when I had to go and work on a ship. With a little luck, I seem to have done okay.”
Leading Seaman Jean-Claude Lebel, a former member of the Canadian Army, is now a cook aboard HMCS Montréal.
“When the sea gets a bit rough and the ship’s rolling and so on, you have to make adjustments,” he said. “You have to batten everything down, something you don’t have to do in a mobile kitchen! It took me about a week to really get used to the shifting floors aboard ship, but you do adjust and learn to work with it.”
Other members of the crew, such as clerks and supply techs, also come from the Canadian Army. And some of the firefighters on the ship are members of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
“I’m really happy to have Canadian Army personnel aboard,” notes Petty Officer 1st Class Michel Vigneault, the coxwain aboard HMCS Montréal. “I like the different perspectives they bring to the crew.”
What really distinguishes the Canadian Army from the RCN is the work environment. All in all, the crew members from the Army seem to adapt well to life at sea and have earned the respect of the crew.
Article: MCpl Jean-Nicolas Minville, Army News, Montréal
Photos: Cpl Martin Roy, Imaging Services, Halifax, Nova Scotia.