Change of appointment brings new Fleet Chief to CANFLTLANT
By Virginia Beaton,
During a Change of Appointment ceremony on Thursday May 10, Fleet Chief Petty Officer CPO1 Dan Mercier, who is retiring from the RCN, was succeeded by CPO1 Tim Blonde.
During the ceremony, which was held in the hangar of HMCS Montreal, CPO1 Mercier noted, “The passion that the young sailors bring to the Fleet is what I’m going to miss the most.”
CPO1 Mercier’s career in the RCN has included postings in HMC Ships Nipigon, Ville de Quebec, Charlottetown, Montreal, Halifax, and Athabaskan. He has been Coxn in Halifax and in Sea Training Atlantic. A marine Electrician by occupation, he has also been posted to Fleet Augmentation Atlantic, CFNES, and in Ottawa, with Personnel Policy and as RCN Honours and Recognitions CPO1 for D Nav PERS/DGNP.
CPO1 Mercier outlined many of the changes that have occurred during his two years as Fleet Chief. It was a lengthy list that ranged from trade mergers, to crew swaps, to WiFi aboard HMC ships, “and the gym in HMCS Ville de Quebec.”
None of it would have been possible without the help and support of the coxns, he emphasized, saying, “Thank you for your hard work.”
He extended his thanks to the Admiral, the Commodore, CCFL and MOG5 staff, chiefs of staff, the command teams of the ships, MFRC staff, PSP staff “and especially Isaac [Habib] and Eileen [DuPlooy] for keeping the Fleet fit”, the Personnel Coordination Coordination Centre, and FMF Cape Scott.
“It’s been one big team effort,” stated CPO1 Mercier, adding, “It has been an honour to serve as your Fleet Chief.”
Cmdre Craig Skjerpen, Commander CANFLTLANT, thanked CPO1 Mercier for his advice, counsel, and support as Fleet Chief. Cmdre Skjerpen joked that when he was a young officer, “the Coxn is someone you have some fear of”, but added that the recognition of a Chief’s knowledge and experience allows command teams to run ships and shore teams effectively “ and I appreciate everything Dan has brought to the Fleet.”
Joined by CPO1 Cavel Shebib, Cmdre Skjerpen presented CPO1 Mercier with a Commander Royal Canadian Navy Commendation in recognition of his 29 years of service to the RCN. “Everywhere we went, Dan knew everybody,” stated Cmdre Skjerpen. He thanked CPO1 Mercier “for his energy and perseverance” and noted. “I’m going to miss the conversations, and the advice. Thanks, Dan, for everything. You did a great job.”
CPO1 Blonde thanked RCN leadership for the opportunity to be the new Fleet Chief, and stated, “I am thrilled to be in Halifax.”
“We are in exciting times,” observed CPO1 Blonde, noting that Asterix is now deployed, and HMCS Harry DeWolf will be launched later this year.
Previously posted to MARPAC, CPO1 Blonde stated that since he is relatively new to the east coast, he looks forward to getting to know CANFLEETLANT staff and Fleet sailors. “I invite everyone that if you see me, please come up and introduce yourself to me.”
Most recently, CPO1 Tim Blonde served as Coxn of HMCS Vancouver. He has also been posted to DCNI and before that, served in Calgary as Chief Engineer, bringing the first post-HCM IPMS ship out of refit and into operation.