Commander MARLANT Christmas Message

Commander MARLANT Christmas Message

By Rear-Admiral Josée Kurtz,
Commander, Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic


The Holiday season is upon us and as such, I would like to extend my heartfelt wishes to every member of Maritime Forces Atlantic’s Defence Team, with my sincere hope that we all take this season to rest and connect with our loved ones. You have overcome enormous challenges this past year, accomplishing countless feats of excellence at sea and ashore, of which I am immensely proud. Every individual’s effort has contributed to our collective success. Well done and thank you!

The deployments of His Majesty’s Canadian Ships Fredericton, Halifax, Montréal, Harry DeWolf, Moncton, Summerside, Shawinigan, Goose Bay, Oriole, and Naval Replenishment Unit Asterix spanned the globe in support of six national and international operations on behalf of Canada. Those ships and crews could not have achieved the level of success they did without the tireless dedication of units and defence team members ashore, ensuring that the hulls were ready, the logistics support in place, the teams training accomplished, and every other minute detail taken care of.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention the dedication and support provided to Atlantic Canada by the Joint Task Force Atlantic team. In the face of historical fires and floods, it was an exceptional season of domestic support and rescue operations that resulted in countless lives saved, and support to our local communities, and in some cases, our own homes. These achievements are exceptional, and a testament to the strength of the team we have here in the Atlantic region.

Admittedly, we can not continue to do these herculean tasks without the unwavering dedication of our families, friends, and community. They shoulder a burden every time we let go lines, take a duty watch, work late, and report to our units for an operational requirement. I hope this Holiday season can bring welcome rest and relief to those around us who support us everyday from ashore.

As we look to 2024, I know we are facing yet another challenging year. Together we will continue to manage the impacts of our changing and ageing fleet, an evolving security environment around the world, and the economic realities at home. These concerns are at the forefront of my mind everyday. I have confidence in each one of us to weather these uncertainties together.

I also recognize that the Holiday season can be a period of stress. For those who may be struggling, please know that there are a variety of mental health services available to Defence Team members and their families 24/7, 365 days a year. If you’re a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member, reach out to the Member Assistance Program (1-800-268-7708) and the Family Information Line (1-800-866-4546) at anytime. Connect with a local Chaplain on weekdays at 902-721-8660 and during evenings and weekends at 902-427-7788. Appointments with the mental health unit at the Base clinic can be arranged by calling 902-721-8607. For Department of National Defence (DND) members, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available 24/7 at 1-800-663-1142, or 1-888-384-1152 (for people with hearing impairments). Contact our local EAP Office at 902-240-8251 or call/text the newly established, Canada-wide, three-digit Suicide Crisis Helpline (9-8-8). Remember, support is always available.

Upon returning in January, we have many exciting things to look forward to as we prepare for the departures of HMCS Margaret Brooke and HMCS Charlottetown on operations, and for a busy year in MARLANT and JTFA.

As we take this special time to rest and relax, I wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.

Rear-Admiral Josée Kurtz
Commander, Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic