GREAT LAKES DEPLOYMENT 2011
By LS Brandon Bourne
Credit: HMCS SASKATOON
Commanding Officer of HMCS SASKATOON LCdr Montgomery and Unit Public Affairs Representative LS Bourne present Saskatoon Mayor with a photo of the ship's company during the official call on the mayor.
HMCS Saskatoon reconnects with namesake city
What is in a Namesake?
Looking back, the Royal Canadian Navy has named ships after cities or communities as far back as when HMCS SHEARWATER was transferred to the RCN from the Royal Navy in 1915. Many citizens sent care packages of hand- made clothing and confectionary to sailors at sea during the Second World War. Naming ships after for cities and communities created fostered a relationship between the namesake city, citizens, and sailors. onboard the ship. Because ships are often renamed after previous serving ships, many cities have had the opportunity to be the namesake for more than one ship. Saskatoon has been the namesake for HMCS SASKATOON twice, first with K 158 the flower class corvette K158 in service between 1941-1945, and currently with MM 709 the Kingston Class MCDV MM 709 in service since 1998. HMCS SASKATOON's ties to the city extend previous to 1998 and her own commissioning. As a result many warships and their namesakes have histories of relationships made prior to their own commissioning. Both the city and the ship's company benefit from the namesake city-ship relationship. Today's sailors have the opportunity of occasionally visiting their namesake on an annual basis, often times participating in local festivals and events, and; local charities often benefit from volunteerism and monetary donations made on behalf of the ship's company. More importantly, the namesake city relationship provides a platform to bring the navy back to Canadians, especially those Canadians in non-coastal cities particularly those who don't live in Esquimalt..
SASKATOON visits namesake city during Saskatoon Fireworks Festival
For Labour Day weekend, the Command Team Captain and crew members of HMCS SASKATOON participated in a namesake city visit to the City of Saskatoon during the Saskatoon Fireworks Festival 1-4.. As this was the first visit back to Saskatoon in over 2 years, emphasis was focused on re-establishing the namesake city relationship through citizenry and public exposure. Because HMCS SASKATOON in extended readiness for the previous two years and did not conduct annual namesake city visits, emphasis was focused on re-establishing the namesake city relationship through citizenry and public exposure. Although only a portion of the ship's company was able to attend, each department and mess was well represented. The local Naval Reserve Division, HMCS UNICORN, assisted through with the coordination of the itinerary and acted as a local point of contact and hosted , hosting a BBQ meet and greet between units, and a charity pancake breakfast. HMCS SASKATOON at both a BBQ meet and greet, as well as a charity pancake breakfast.
HMCS SASKATOON took full advantage of the opportunity to cultivate redevelop the namesake city relationships and as a direct result, the itinerary was very busy. HMCS UNICORN representatives greeted the crew of SASKATOON at the airport and hosted a barbeque meet and greet. The following day commenced with an official call on the Mayor of Saskatoon, His Worship Don Atchison, and followed by four a flurry of local radio station interviews. The crew of SASKATOON had the pleasure of joining HMCS Unicorn of attending the at the University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team home game opener and CF appreciation night during which .many local CF units attended in uniform and were thanked. The crew of SASKATOON was afforded the extra honor of being led onto the field at half time and introduced by name. This CF appreciation game raised $25, 000 for the "Soldier-On" program, making a significant contribution to CF members and families.
Opportunity was taken to connect with representatives of the ship's charity "Hope Cancer Help Centre" and to help raise funds and donations towards their cause. Through involvement with the Saskatoon Fireworks festival, private donations and a donation from the ship, HMCS SASKATOON was able to provide close to one thousand dollars to assist the Cancer Help Centre meet the needs of individuals in Saskatoon. An emotional but rewarding experience, SASKATOON has the Hope Cancer Help Centre as their ship's charity and presented their donation during the pancake breakfast at HMCS UNICORN.
Select members of SASKATOON were given the opportunity to visit residents of the Veteran's Village at Sherbrook Care Centre-a long term care centre for veterans. Spending an afternoon sharing stories and photos with the resident veterans was yet another rewarding experience for both the crew members and veterans alike.
Another highlight of the visit was a trip to the Saskatoon Forestry Park and Zoo to adopt a new mascot for the ship. Dobi, a 4 year old male lion, currently held in a temporary exhibit at the Saskatoon Zoo was the ideal candidate. An idea originally initiated by LS Elijah Fraser, the "adopt a critter program" supports the Saskatoon Zoo Society. HMCS SASKATOON was able to symbolically adopt Dobi as their mascot and the crew was given a full tour of Dobi's habitat, feeding area and cage.
"The namesake visit was a great success in meeting the community, and forging relationship with both HMCS UNICORN and the city of Saskatoon", explains HMCS SASKATOON's Commanding Officer. "A great deal of effort was put into the planning and execution, but it was well worth it. SASKATOON is already looking forward to continuing to strengthen those community ties envisioned during those early years of the RCN."
THE NATIONAL BAND IN VANCOUVER FOR THE VANIER AND GREY CUPS
By LS Émilie Giroux, HMCS MONTCALM
Credit: Sgt Nathaniel Senff
The National Band combined with the Regular Force Naden Band, the Royal Canadian Navy's band on the West Coast.
On November 24, 43 members of the Naval Reserve flew from four different provinces to Vancouver for a most particular session of operational training: they played the National Anthem for the Vanier Cup 2011 game, then took part in a street parade the following morning for the Grey Cup 2011 Parade. On this occasion, the National Band combined with the Regular Force Naden Band, the Royal Canadian Navy's band on the West Coast. The 40 musicians, two cooks and the Staff Officer Bands, LCdr Glenn Falconi, hailed from Naval Reserve Divisions HMC Ships TECUMSEH, CHIPPAWA, STAR, YORK and MONTCALM.
For the Vanier Cup event the National Band played for almost 25 000 fans present for the game, and that total does not take into account all those who lined the streets for the Grey Cup Parade the following morning. In addition, the Band played a mini-concert in front of the famed Olympic Flame of the 2010 Games, with the legendary sight of the Rockies in the background, where again a considerable number of people from across the country were present, come to see the weekend games. Many conversations were had with the public, and many photos were taken.
The musicians greatly appreciated having the opportunity to assemble to play music for the population, all fired up for the events of the weekend. LS Karine Matte of HMCS MONTCALM said: "It was an incredible experience to travel to the West Coast and join the excellent musicians of the Reserve Bands, and to combine with the Naden Band. It was very inspiring; give me more: it's in part for events like this that I joined the Reserve." For his part, LS Luca Di Franco, a cook in HMCS STAR who had never before had such an experience, will remember it always: "It's nice to see and experience new things with different Divisions within the Navy."
The four-day trip required an enormous amount of work and the collaboration of all, but unfolded without a hitch; as said PO 2 Étienne Gendron of HMCS YORK, one of the senior hands there: "What I really liked during the Vancouver NROTS was the group cohesion and spirit of camaraderie that were evident throughout our brief but intense stay in British Columbia. All musicians lent a hand to ensure the event was a success."
Finally, it can be said of such an event that, though it requires an enormous amount of time and preparation, is an incredible opportunity for the members of the Naval Reserve, given the great visibility it provides and the connections it builds with the community. Certainly an experience to repeat next year.