Submariners receive medals for 2018 European deployment
By Ryan Melanson,
Prior to entering its current period of maintenance and repair, HMCS Windsor spent nearly four years as a workhorse for the Royal Canadian Navy’s submarine fleet, culminating in a 133-day deployment to Op PROJECTION Euro-Atlantic through the spring of 2018.
Windsor was officially recognized for its success during that deployment on March 3, with the Commander of the Canadian Submarine Force, Capt(N) Stéphane Ouellet, visiting Halifax to present OSM-Expedition medals to each member of the submarine’s crew.
“These medals are to recognize their hard work, dedication and sacrifices, as well as the sacrifices made by families and the hard work they also did to maintain the homefront,” Capt(N) Ouellet said.
The OSM-Expedition medals are awarded to personnel who serve in or provide support to overseas operations, with ribbons that acknowledge the specific theatre or task. The submariners from Windsor were awarded for their work during NATO Operation SEA GUARDIAN, which focused on developing a maritime situational awareness picture and combating terrorism, as well as Exercise DYNAMIC MANTA, during which they worked alongside Standing Nato Maritime Group 2 in anti-submarine warfare exercises off the coast of Italy. This was also the first ever deployment to the Mediterranean for a Victoria-class submarine.
“This was also the third time we had sent Windsor to Europe since 2014, so that was a very high op tempo for the submarine, which is impressive,” Capt(N) Ouellet added.
Along with Cdr Peter Chu, the CO of Submarine Sea Training, Capt(N) Oullet presented a medal to each individual member of the crew. One was also presented to Cdr Chu, who was the CO of Windsor at the time of the deployment. There was also one promotion during the ceremony, with LS Mike Benjamin, a MARTECH aboard Windsor, being promoted to Acting Master Seaman.
This type of ceremony isn’t held often for members of the submarine fleet, and Capt(N) Ouelett said he was thrilled to be able to present the awards in person.
“The work we do is often under a bit of a veil of secrecy, which makes it so nice to actually be able to get together with friends and family to celebrate some of our achievements.”The extended docking work period for the submarine is expected to end this summer, when Windsor is set to head back to sea for trials with a new torpedo system.