Old shipmates reunited as CANFLTLANT welcomes new Fleet Chief
By Ryan Melanson,
While he may be new to Atlantic Fleet headquarters, CPO1 Darcy Burd won’t be among strangers as he assumes the role of Fleet Chief. He and Cmdre Richard Feltham have previously served together on HMC ships Skeena, Preserver, Charlottetown, and Toronto, and now they’ll be working together again as they prepare to lead CANFLTLANT through a pivotal moment.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to assume the duties and responsibilities of Fleet Chief Atlantic,” CPO1 Burd said during a ceremony held at HMC Dockyard on June 5. While the Change of Appointment took place in person, the crowd was limited to key personnel and family members and attendees remained physically distanced from each other. CPO1 Burd thanked his wife Vicky and his children for the support that allowed him to reach this career highlight, noting he’s been posted to 13 different units in 13 years, with plenty of moves and other disruptions along the way.
He said he was excited to be returning to the Fleet and working alongside an old friend. With the ongoing efforts to maintain readiness levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also preparing for the first of the RCN’s future fleet of ships to be received later this year, he noted that unique challenges likely lie ahead.
And Cmdre Feltham expressed confidence that his new Chief will be the right person to handle those challenges.
“It’s wonderful to see such dedicated work and professionalism over the years culminate in this very important appointment for Chief Burd. We will benefit from his NDHQ experience, his operational experience, and now his leadership in the Fleet,” he said.
The Commodore also had praise for his outgoing Fleet Chief, CPO1 Tom Lizotte, who will be remaining close by as he prepares for his next appointment as MARLANT Formation Chief. He described him as a supportive colleague, a great advocate for non-commissioned members, and someone who will be able to provide great counsel to RAdm Craig Baines, as well as incoming MARLANT Commander RAdm Brian Santarpia.
“He led by example in all facets of his duties, and he always ensured the sailors’ interests were top of mind,” Cmdre Feltham said about CPO1 Lizotte.
The outgoing Chief listed off a number of Fleet highlights from the past year, including busy programs for the MCDV Fleet and HMCS Oriole on top of the Halifax-class taking part in exercises and operations around the world. He specifically lauded the ship’s company of HMCS Fredericton for continuing to fulfill Canada’s NATO commitments overseas after suffering a tragedy at sea with the loss of its Cyclone and six crew, as well as HMCS Ville de Quebec and HMCS Moncton, who remain ready to respond as part of Operation LASER.
“It’s tremendous to have our ships available to be that ready force for Canada during the pandemic we’re going through. Everybody in the fleet should be very proud of the things that are happening,” he said.
To his successor, CPO1 Lizotte offered words of encouragement, and ensured CPO1 Burd that his expertise, coupled with the dedication of the Atlantic Fleet’s sailors, will lead to success.
“You have some challenges ahead of you, because the situation we find ourselves in is not an easy one, but with your wisdom and experience, you’ll lead the Fleet through it.”