Former Protecteur sailors reunite with USS Michael Murphy

LCdr James Classen, (left) thanks USS Michael Murphy during their approach with MV Asterix. Bernard Wentzell, MV Asterix’s civilian master, is on the right. Photo submitted

LCdr James Classen, (left) thanks USS Michael Murphy during their approach with MV Asterix. Bernard Wentzell, MV Asterix’s civilian master, is on the right. Photo submitted

PO1 Nicolas Major, NRU Asterix ~

After a catastrophic engine room fire on board HMCS Protecteur left it adrift and without power on Feb. 27, 2014, USS Michael Murphy was first on the scene. 

When they arrived the day after the fire, it gave those on board Protecteur, including me, a sense of relief. Help had arrived.

After six days of towing by USS Michael Murphy, USS Chosin and USNS Sioux, Protecteur was brought alongside Pearl Harbor. The efforts of Michael Murphy earned them a CAF Unit Commendation for their immediate response to Protecteur and the ­family members embarked.

Four years later, during Exercise Kakadu 2018 off the coast of Australia, five former crewmembers from Protecteur supported replenishment at sea (RAS) operations to refuel USS Michael Murphy from Protecteur’s replacement, MV Asterix.

When I was told we would be transferring fuel to USS Michael Murphy during Ex Kakadu 2018, fond ­memories came back of the amazing support the American destroyer provided to us after the fire. Without hesitation, they sent over water, Gatorade and medical support. They even took care of our loved ones as they received 17 civilian family members that had embarked as part of a morale and outreach building tiger cruise. They expressed later that they were treated like family on board the American destroyer.

The five members of Naval Replenishment Unit Asterix – MS Bertrand Robillard, MS Andrew Clark, LS Robert Lalonde, LS Iain Gozzola, and I – were all at our stations during the Sept. 8 RAS. It was now our turn to provide a service to USS Michael Murphy.

LCdr James Classen, Commanding Officer NRU Asterix, was the first to welcome Michael Murphy. He passed words of appreciation to the U.S. crew over the radio while providing instructions to bring the ship into the RAS station.

After over 200 cubic metres of fuel were transferred, all five former Protecteur crew members felt a sense of gratitude to ship that shared with them a page in Royal Canadian Navy history.

On behalf of the former crew of Protecteur and the crew of MV Asterix, thank you again USS Michael Murphy for the service and support you provided to the sailors of the Royal Canadian Navy. We strongly believe your motto “Lead the Fight” suits you well.

Filed Under: Top Stories

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