Comd MARLANT/JTFA New Year’s Message
By RAdm Craig Baines,
As we head into 2020, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone on the Maritime and Joint Task Forces Atlantic teams a Happy New Year. 2019 was a busy year and I hope you were able to rest and enjoy some quality time with your loved ones over the holidays.
This past year was one of the busiest in recent memory as we had ships deployed on a number of operations in our own waters and across the oceans of the world. At home, we deployed two ships to the Great Lakes region as our RCN ambassadors and welcomed over 40,000 Canadians onboard, demonstrating the best Canada’s Navy has to offer. Internationally, the excellent efforts by the whole team, both home and deployed, to support OPERATION REASSURANCE, OPERATION ARTEMIS, OPERATION NEON, OPERATION PROJECTION Indo-Asia Pacific and West Africa, OPERATION NANOOK, TRADEWINDS and OPERATION CARIBBE helped deliver the strategic effects of those missions. Our people did a fantastic job representing Canadians around the world as they contributed to international stability while bolstering interoperability with our partner nations.
On that note, CUTLASS FURY 2019 also provided outstanding opportunities to work and train alongside our allies. It was the largest gathering of RCN and NATO ships off the Atlantic coast in several years. Thank you to all that worked tirelessly to support the success of this world-class exercise.
From assistance to flood relief in New Brunswick, to Hurricane Dorian relief in Nova Scotia, to the many Search and Rescue (SAR) and humanitarian missions conducted all over the Maritimes, we continued to play our part in keeping Canadians safe in 2019. Canadians were very grateful for your assistance, compassion and professionalism. This speaks to your dedication and commitment to ensure that we are able to provide the support needed whenever the Government of Canada calls on us.
Looking further into the past, the RCN commemorated some significant milestones in 2019. In June, we celebrated the RCN’s contribution to the Normandy landings, the beginning of the end of the Second World War. In October we marked the 50th anniversary of the HMCS Kootenay explosion, the worst peacetime accident in the history of the RCN which claimed the lives of nine of our shipmates and injured 53 more.
Over the past year we also witnessed the first sea trials for the future HMCS Harry DeWolf, the launch of the future HMCS Margaret Brooke as well as the initial construction and steel cutting on the third and fourth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels. Receiving the first of this new class of ship in 2020 will mark the beginning of a new phase for the RCN, as we welcome the first of this new capability to the Fleet.
The coming year promises to be as exciting and thoughtful as we mark the 75th Anniversary of the end of The Battle of the Atlantic. We will honour our past by looking back at the tremendous efforts of the RCN and our Allies and we will reflect on who we were as a Navy to reinforce our path forward and our commitment to the safety, security and defence of Canada at home and abroad.
2020 will no doubt bring us new opportunities and challenges and we will not be able to succeed without the contributions of our civilian workforce. The outstanding work that you do, both here at home and overseas, is key to our operational successes.
With the New Year upon us, I would like to thank each and every one of you, as well as your families, for your dedication and hard work over the past 12 months. I hope that you all take great pride in our collective achievements and your critical roles in helping achieve our mission.
I wish you all the best for 2020.