Change of Command at FDU(A)

From left, outgoing CO LCdr Patrick Fournier, Cmdre Richard Feltham, and incoming CO LCdr Neville Lockyer sign the Change of Command certificates during a ceremony at FDU(A) on June 30.

Outgoing FDU(A) Commander credits team for tackling challenges

By Ryan Melanson,
Trident Staff

In a farewell address to his crew, the Commanding Officer of Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) described the intense pace of work like a flashbang – one that went off when he was appointed to the position two years ago, and never let up.

“It’s like a freight train coming through with no way to stop it. The only thing we can do is steer it in the right direction,” said LCdr Patrick Fournier, as he formally handed over command to his successor, LCdr Neville Lockyer, during a ceremony at FDU(A) on June 30.

He described his 24 months in charge as being full of unprecedented challenges for the busy unit, including equipment issues with rebreathers, jetty and boat troubles, and of course, the disruptions brought on by COVID-19. LCdr Fournier said the adaptability of his people was impressive to witness, and he was sure to credit not only the unit’s divers, but the military and civilian support staff that make up about half of the FDU(A) team.

“They might think they’re just doing their jobs, but they are all absolutely contributing to the incredible mission success of FDU.”

He also gave an emotional thank you to his wife and two children for their support during his busy command, and for the support they’ll continue to provide as he prepares for a move to Ottawa and a new role within CJOC.

Cmdre Richard Feltham, Commander CANFLTLANT, welcomed LCdr Lockyer back to the tight-knit FDU(A) community that he’s previously been a part of, and also thanked LCdr Fournier for leading the unit’s recent successes.

“FDU has always been relied upon to contribute to difficult and dangerous missions on short notice. That continued, all over the world, under Patrick’s leadership The unit never flinched,” Cmdre Feltham said.

In addressing his new unit for the first time as Commander of FDU(A), LCdr Lockyer recalled completing his ship’s team diver course in 2004, a turning point in his career that inspired a move from the Reserve to the Regular Force.

“I knew then that the clearance diving community, with these highly motivated individuals, was what I was looking for, and what was missing from my career,” he said.

“For the past 16 years, I’ve dreamed of standing exactly where i am right now.”

LCdr Lockyer expressed gratitude to LCdr Fournier for his work over the last two years, and said he’s excited for the hard work, challenges and surprises that lie ahead for the unit.