A fond farewell and warm welcome for HMCS Margaret Brooke

Chief Petty Officer Cavel Shebib (left), the Maritime Forces Atlantic Fleet Chief, gives the “guiding principles of a Coxswain” plaque to CPO1 Charles Landry (right), the incoming Coxswain onboard HMCS Margaret Brooke, during the ship’s Change of Appointment Ceremony on June 16.

A fond farewell and warm welcome for HMCS Margaret Brooke

By Mikela Thoms,
Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP)

From left, outgoing Coxn CPO1 Steve Clark, HMCS Margaret Brooke CO Cdr Nicole Robichaud, and incoming Coxn CPO1 Charles Landry.

On June 16, HMCS Margaret Brooke officially received its third Coxswain, with outgoing Coxn Chief Petty Officer, 1st Class Steve Clark passing the baton to CPO1 Charles “Chuck” Landry. To mark the occasion, a Change of Appointment ceremony was held on the ship’s flight deck in front of loved ones and former and current crew. 

In his farewell address, CPO1 Clark thanked the crew, his wife, Andrea, and their two daughters for the support they provided over the busy period with Margaret Brooke.

“Wow, what a quick two and a half years…It has been a privilege to be a Coxn; I will not forget my time on board MAR and sailing with all of you. I can’t wait to see the ship get away from the wall and back out to sea this fall,” he said.  

During CPO1 Clark’s time as Coxn, he experienced the ship’s first trip to sea, first port visit, arctic and warm weather post-acceptance trials, first deployed operation (Nanook), an affiliation ceremony with Nunatsiavut, and wellness checks to several Newfoundland communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona. 

In addition to his work in Op Nanook, COP1 Clark said he was especially pleased to take part in the ship’s naming and commissioning ceremonies. CPO1 Clark was always bothered about “just missing out” on the commissioning ceremony for HMCS Halifax when he was posted to the ship in 1992.

A further highlight for CPO1 Clark has been the ship’s arctic capabilities. HMCS Margaret Brooke’s design allows for icebreaking. This meant that CPO1 Clark and the rest of the team experienced being on an ice floe, which is something that has historically been very unusual for Navy ships.  

“All you could see was white. It looked like you were on the moon,” he said with a grin. 

To the incoming Coxn, CPO1 Clark said, “Enjoy it, the time will go fast… Take care of the ship’s company and they will take care of you.” 

Commanding Officer for HMCS Margaret Brooke, Cdr Nicole Robichaud, emphasized the significance of this day for both chiefs, and elaborated on the importance of the Coxn role when she said: “Being a Coxn is the pinnacle of a sailor’s career, it takes years, decades of hard work, dedication, sacrifice and leadership.” 

Cdr Robichaud commended CPO1 Clark’s leadership as Coxn, and acknowledged the friendship they cultivated during his time aboard HMCS Margaret Brooke. In her address to the new Coxn, CPO1 Landry, she said: 

 “We know you come to Margret Brooke with a wealth of knowledge, experience and leadership, you’re going to be forced into similar but different challenges… you’ll be a key factor in keeping the crew motivated and focused.” 

CPO1 Landry has proudly served more than 25 years in the CAF, and during his first address as Coxn, he stressed the importance of his support system, which includes his wife and son, for allowing him to get where he is today.

“Behind every success story lies networks of mentors, families, friends and colleagues who offer guidance, encouragement and unwavering belief in our abilities, their presence has been pivotal in shaping our journey…We should all cherish and celebrate the remarkable people that stand by our side… they’re the ones who truly make this achievement worthwhile,” he said.