HMCS St. John’s awarded Admiral’s Cup after banner year
By Ryan Melanson,
After a whirlwind 2019 that included international exercises, commemorative ceremonies and public outreach, the crew of HMCS St. John’s has been awarded one of MARLANT’s top honours. The ship received the 2019 Admiral’s Cup during a presentation on February 7, with RAdm Craig Baines, Commander MARLANT and JTFA, and Formation Chief CPO1 Derek Kitching, visiting the ship to hand over the coveted trophy.
The Admiral’s Cup is presented annually to the the ship that demonstrates the best efficiency, morale and leadership during the previous calendar year, while excelling in all of its assigned tasks. For St. John’s, this was no small order, as the ship was kept extremely busy with a variety of short deployments throughout 2019.
“We’ve done a tremendous amount for a normal readiness ship, and that wasn’t the plan or what we expected. The crew has had an outstanding ability to move with the punches and adapt to changing situations,” said Cdr Peter Sproule, the ship’s Commanding Officer.
The busy year for St. John’s included:
- Exercise FORMIDABLE SHIELD – The ship departed Halifax in mid-April for this multinational NATO exercise held off the west coast of Scotland. St. John’s participated alongside twelve ships from nine countries, focusing on defense against ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles, with a highlight of successful live missile firings during the exercise. The trip also included port visits in Scotland, Ireland, Portugal and Denmark.
- D-Day commemorations – In June, St. John’s represented Canada as part of commemorations overseas marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The ship was in Portsmouth, UK on June 5, served as a cross-channel escort for a cruise ship carrying Second World War veterans to France, and patrolled off Juno Beach to act as a backdrop during ceremonies on June 6. Crew members also visited and paid their respects to monuments at Beaumont Hamel and Vimy Ridge.
- Run the Rock – St. John’s conducts the Run the Rock charity fundraiser in Newfoundland each year, with sailors running across the province while visiting cities, towns and villages to raise money for the Children’s Wish Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador chapter. The effort typically raises a substantial amount for the charity, and 2019 was no different, with the team bringing in a total of $111,629.
- Exercise CUTLASS FURY – This was the largest multinational exercise to be hosted in Atlantic Canada in more than 24 years, and St. John’s was able to join in for the final operational scenario and free play portions after returning from Europe. The ship took part in anti-surface, anti-submarine and anti-air exercises, and also conducted replenishment at sea training with MV Asterix.
- Great Lakes Deployment – St.John’s visited five Canadian cities through October and November as part of the 2019 Great Lakes Deployment, which is meant to show off Canada’s Navy to Canadians who don’t often get the chance to interact with sailors and warships. The ship visited Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City and Sept-Îles in Quebec, as well as Windsor, Ontario. Highlights included tours for the general public, VIP receptions, citizenship ceremonies, and CAF enrollment ceremonies. The public nature of the deployment can be difficult, and the ship’s company was praised for being excellent representatives of the RCN.
Cdr Sproule said he was thrilled to house the Admiral’s Cup trophy in St. John’s for the next year, and added that it wouldn’t be possible without great leadership from the command triad and other senior members, along with the hard work of sailors in all departments of the ship.
St. John’s will continue with a busy schedule and plenty of sea time over the next nine months before beginning to ramp down for the ship’s Docking Work Period this coming fall.
-With files from SLt Kyle Pedersen