LS Daryl Ross interacts with children from Diaraf Falla Paye, a local school in Dakar, during Operation PROJECTION West Africa.
Photo: FIS

West African deployment “eye-opening” for New Brunswicker

By Lieutenant (Navy) Linda Coleman,
MARLANT Public Affairs

Leading Seaman Daryl Ross is a long way from home. The sailor, from Oromocto, N.B., has been deployed in Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Summerside since January 26, 2018 as part of Operation PROJECTION West Africa – a strategic engagement with regional nations to support capacity building and foster relationships with partner navies.

“It’s been one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve ever had – probably my favorite deployment I’ve taken part in,” said LS Ross.

LS Ross joined the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) Reserves in 2014 as a Naval Combat Information Operator. “I joined for the amazing opportunities to travel across the world,” he said.

And seeing the world is exactly what he’s doing. “I am doing this challenge called #30by30, which means my goal is to visit 30 countries by the time I’m 30 years old,” he said. “After this deployment, I’ll have visited 23 countries out of 30, and I plan on visiting a lot more places in the near future.”

The RCN is certainly helping make his dream come true with Op PROJECTION West Africa taking him to seven West African countries (Cape Verde, Senegal, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Benin and Ghana) to conduct community relations, including interacting with children and helping with repairs at local elementary schools in need.

“Having the opportunity to visit some of the poorest countries in the world comes with a very humbling feeling. Seeing the smile on the kids’ faces when they see that they have someone to play with, or their reaction when they see the work we accomplished in the schools we visited, is incredibly satisfying,” added LS Ross.

During Op PROJECTION, LS Ross also participated in OBANGAME EXPRESS, a U.S. Naval Forces Africa-led engagement to conduct maritime security capacity building and develop a greater knowledge and understanding of operating conditions within the Gulf of Guinea region.

LS Ross is no rookie to international operations though. In his four years since joining the RCN, LS Ross has also deployed on Op CARRIBE and Exercise BOLD ALLIGATOR in the United States, and has deployed to Europe and the Arctic.

“I love that it’s challenging and very different from a routine job,” said LS Ross when asked what he loves about being in the RCN. “The friendships I’ve made in the military environment cannot be compared to any civilian job. Travelling across the world while earning a competitive salary is unbeatable.”