FMF Cape Scott Change of Command

From left, incoming CO Capt(N) David Benoit, Cmdre Craig Skjerpen, Commander CANFLTLANT, and outgoing CO Cdr Andrew Forbes sign the documents marking the Change of Command at FMF Cape Scott,

FMF Cape Scott ready for busy period with new CO at helm

By Ryan Melanson,
Trident Staff

While Cdr Andrew Forbes spent less than a year as Commanding Officer of Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Scott, that was plenty of time to understand the crucial nature of the work done by FMF personnel every day in support of the RCN.

Successfully sending a Navy ship or submarine to sea takes an incredible amount of effort from the command team, crew and training staff, but the maintenance and repair work that happens behind the scenes can be equally important.

Capt(N) David Benoit delivers his first address as the new Commanding Officer of FMF Cape Scott on August 10.

“What sometimes gets overlooked is the work of the FMF technicians and engineers, who work late into the evenings and weekends to make sure ship sailing schedules are maintained, both alongside in the Dockyard and around the world,” Cdr Forbes said, during a change of command ceremony for Cape Scott held outside D201 on NF Jetty on August 10.

“A change of command event for a large shore-based unit like this is as much about recognizing the accomplishments of the entire team as it is about the two people handing over the command responsibilities,” he added, before highlighting some of the recent projects undertaken by FMF’s largely-civilian staff.

These included changing the gearbox idler out of a Halifax-class ship, a first for FMF, as well as the change out of a diesel engine power plant while a ship was deployed in theatre, requiring 40 FMF public servants to travel to carry out the work. The unit also supported HMCS Windsor this past spring during a deployed maintenance period, completing 6,000 hours of maintenance work abroad, allowing the RCN to sustain the deployment of the sub for an extended period.

Projects in the near future, he said, will include the conversion of HMCS St. John’s to be compatible with the CH-148 Cyclone, and the transition to a new operating cycle for the Victoria-class subs, requiring an estimated 300,000 hours of work from FMF personnel.

“These examples represent large scale projects that would be challenging to achieve for a single company on its own,” he said. As relationships with private industry and in-service support contracts continue to evolve, this work will also ensure the expertise of FMF staff continues to be used properly through the coming years.

Cdr Forbes thanked RCN and MARLANT senior leadership for the opportunity to temporarily lead the facility, including Cmdre Christopher Earl, Director General Maritime Equipment Program Management (MEPM), who came from Esquimalt to attend the ceremony. Plenty of credit was also given to Capt(N) Stéphane Lafond, who served as CO of Cape Scott from 2014 until earlier this year, for setting a new standard for leadership at the facility.

FMF’s new CO, Capt(N) David Benoit, comes prepared for the role as a former MEPM Fleet Management Section Head and former Chief of Staff for MEPM in Ottawa. He said he plans for his time in command to be defined by innovation, inclusive diversity, technical excellence and respect, underpinned by the wider values of RCN of the CAF.

He added he was excited to be working with his RCN colleagues, as well as civilian management and union leaders, as the facility responds to new challenges and changes in the coming years.

“I look forward to seeing firsthand the stellar output and high calibre of the hard-working women and men who have decided to serve their country in this unique, demanding and very direct way,” he said.