Sisters AB Montana Cross and AB Madison Cross pose on their final training day aboard HMCS Vancouver prior to deployment.

Naval Security Team enhances ship protection on Op REASSURANCE

By SLt M.X. Dery

The Naval Security Team (NST) deployed to Greece in mid-September 2018 where it joined HMCS en in order to allow members of the ship’s crew to take leave. The ship is half way through its six-month deployment on Operation REASSURANCE.

A rigid hulled inflatable boat from HMCS Ville de Québec carrying the Boarding Party members comes alongside while sailing in the Mediterranean Sea during Operation REASSURANCE on September 17, 2018. 

The NST is a scalable, flexible, and deployable Naval Reserve team that provides enhanced force protection for the safety and security of deployed Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ships.

The team takes over the responsibility of force protection, which frees up personnel to support other tasks such as ship maintenance, and they provide an extra layer of enhanced land and sea-based force protection capability and expertise to support those deployed RCN assets.

This is the fourth time since its inception in 2017 an NST has deployed overseas.

“We’ve got 42 naval reservists from across Canada, from Ordinary Seaman all the way to Lieutenant (Navy),” said Lt(N) Jean Richer, Officer in Command of NST. “They have myriad experiences they bring to the table to better protect the ship and contribute to the team.”

For Lt(N) Richer, who joined the Naval Reserve in 2001, this will be the first time leading such a unit on a deployment and is a unique opportunity for him to “exercise command of a small team.”

Prior to departing, NST Greece trained at CFB Esquimalt, B.C., for three weeks to build unit cohesion and refresh on weapon’s handling, force protection, and rules of engagement.

“Then we trained on a ship for all the scenarios we might face in Greece, so we are ready to protect the ship,” said Lt(N) Richer about the final week of training and Sea Training’s final assessment.

Cmdre Angus Topshee, Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific, spoke to the NST Greece team following their final training exercise and was pleased with the results.

“It’s clear to me the training we provide you is high quality,” he said. “There is no doubt in my mind that you are ready to go off and perform the mission in Greece.”                                                         

NSTs are drawn from all Naval Reserve Divisions across Canada and are always looking for new team members. If you are a primary reservist, let your chain of command know you are interested in joining the NST on an upcoming deployment.