Sailor of the Quarter

From left, HMCS Fredericton Commanding Officer Cdr Blair Brown, Fleet Chief CPO1 Tim Blonde, LS Harveer Gill, and Cmdre Craig Skjerpen, Commander CANFLTLANT. LS Gill was named the Sailor of the Quarter for Q2 2018 during a ceremony at the Fredericton shore office in Shearwater on August 22.

Sailor of the Quarter represents RCN at home and abroad

By Ryan Melanson,
Trident Staff

Though LS Harveer Gill has only been a member of the Royal Canadian Navy for about three years, he’s quickly gaining recognition as an ambassador for his ship, HMCS Fredericton, and for the wider organization.

In just the last few months, LS Gill volunteered at the Bluenose Marathon as SONAR, the RCN Mascot, he’s cycled across New Brunswick with his shipmates as part of the Sailors for Wishes fundraiser in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation, and he was also the most junior sailor to represent the RCN and CAF at the 2018 International Four Days Marches Nijmegen.

That impressive resume of community involvement and outside activities is part of the reason LS Gill was selected as the CANFLTLANT Sailor of the Quarter for Q2 2018. Cmdre Craig Skjerpen, Commander CANFLTLANT, and Fleet Chief CPO1 Tim Blonde visited Fredericton’s shore office in Shearwater on August 22 to officially make the presentation, along with handing out promotions and medals to other members of the ship’s company.

“It’s nice to get the recognition, but it’s definitely a surprise. It’s always fun to be out and about in the communities and staying busy, and I just do these things as they come up, because I enjoy it,” LS Gill said.

With the Sailors for Wishes event, which wrapped up in New Brunswick in early August, he was part of an HMCS Fredericton team that raised nearly $70,000 for Children’s Wish from August 3-10. Cycling across a province, however, may have seemed like a breeze compared to the physical challenge of the Nijmegen marches, which LS Gill attended as part of the MARLANT team from July 17-20, marching 160 kilometres over four days through the Netherlands alongside thousands of military and civilian participants from around the world.

“It was absolutely the experience of a lifetime. Being the only Able Seaman from Canada was also special, with hard sea trades being notoriously under-represented in Nijmegen. I wasn’t just there representing myself, but also the Navy and the Fleet,” he said, adding that the camaraderie among the tri-service team helped ease the pain of the grueling training schedule and physically demanding 40km days.

“The training was difficult, but it was more than worth it in the end, and we’ll all be friends for life after going through it together.”

LS Gill was just promoted to his current rank weeks ago, and while his status as a junior sailor in a shore office means sea time has been limited, he’s still found ways to set himself apart as a member of the crew. He’s stepped up to promote fitness among the ship’s company as Fredericton’s Force Test Coordinator, and his work ethic as a junior Weapons Engineer has allowed him move through his training packages ahead of schedule. With his ship currently undergoing its scheduled docking work period, making progress on training becomes more difficult, LS Gill said.

“But if you’re a bit of a keener, and you can keep yourself motivated, you can give yourself a push and work a little harder. I’ve been making the most of the shore office.”

His shipmates agreed, and in nominating LS Gill for the award, his supervisor, PO2 Craig Baker, noted that he’s already been teaching other junior sailors aspects of his trade, and said he’ll be an exceptional help to Fredericton as the ship prepares for the reactivation of its CSE systems.

PO2 Baker said LS Gill’s professionalism and dedication have set an example for others to follow, and that he couldn’t think of a sailor more deserving of the recognition.

“He consistently performs at the highest standard and his dedication is a tremendous asset to Fredericton and the RCN.”