2016: A year in review

2016: A year in review


  • HMCS Vancouver visits its namesake city, giving students and business leaders a guided tour of the vessel after completion of its Halifax-class modernization life extension upgrades.
  • DND announces the modernized, centralized Phoenix payroll system will be rolled out in February  with an expected completion in the Spring for all 102 federal departments.
  • The crew of HMCS Winnipeg receives NATO Article 5 medal for service in support of Operation Reassurance.
  • Six Second World War veterans are awarded France’s Legion of Honour medal for their role in the liberation of France.
  • The Tritons men’s hockey team advances to the CAF National Championship after a 2-0 series sweep of the Comox Totems in their regional qualifier.


  • Chief of the Defence Staff, General Johnathan Vance, announces the release of the Canadian Armed Forces progress report on inappropriate sexual behaviour. He implements a Code of Conduct as part of Operation Honour initiatives.
  • Former RCN supply ship HMCS Protecteur is towed from Esquimalt Harbour, bound for its final destination at a scrapyard in Port Mersey, N.S.
  • The 25th anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait is recognized with a commemorative ceremony at the Naden Drill Shed. Several past and currently-serving Gulf War veterans take part in the event.
  • During the annual Health and Wellness Expo, representatives from the United Way of Greater Victoria accept a $448,000 cheque for funds raised through the 2015 Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC).
  • HMCS Winnipeg returns to Esquimalt after an eight-and-half month deployment on Operations Reassurance and Caribbe.


  • Associate Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada, Kent Hehr, attends a ceremony on A Jetty unveiling the new remote naval weapons stations to be installed in Halifax Class ships.
  • The crew of HMCS Ottawa and over 400 other MARPAC personnel participate in SMASHEX 2016, a simulated search and rescue operation involving a submarine.
  • Goaltender PO2 Ken Simoneau of Canadian Forces Fleet School Esquimalt puts on a show for fans at Colwood’s Q-Centre during the Heroes Hockey Challenge. Unfortunately, his team of military veterans lost the match against a squad of Canucks Alumni including Dave ‘Tiger’ Williams.
  • The 100th anniversary of 13 Field Ambulance is celebrated with a Freedom of the Municipality Parade in Saanich.


  • The crews of HMC Ships Saskatoon and Edmonton assist in the seizure of 3,035 kilograms of cocaine as multi-national anti-drug smuggling effort Operation Caribbe 2016 concludes.
  • Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan attends a ceremony on A Jetty announcing the Pacific Fleet’s completion of the Halifax-Class Frigate Equipment Life Extension Project (FELEX).
  • Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton celebrates its 20th Anniversary.
  • Naden Band Conductor Lt(N) Matthew Clark accepts an invitation to join the prestigious American Bandmasters Association.
  • The Naval and Military Museum opens two new exhibits: a permanent exhibit on HMCS Esquimalt and a temporary First World War exhibit from the Royal B.C. Museum.


  • Port Operations and Emergency Services Branch employees are heralded for their quick work in reducing the impact of a massive diesel fuel spill in Esquimalt Harbour.
  • Former Iroquois-class destroyer HMCS Algonquin is towed from Esquimalt Harbour to Port Mersey, N.S. for scrapping.
  • MCpl (Ret’d) Adam Cyr wins a silver medal in Archery at the 2016 Invictus Games for wounded soldiers.
  • CFB Esquimalt athletes capture three out of five awards in the RCN’s national sports awards ceremony: basketball player SLt Connor Duke, swimmer AB Marjoline Plante and the Tritons women’s soccer team.


  • Vice-Admiral Mark Norman relinquishes command of the RCN and Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd takes charge during a Change of Command Ceremony in Ottawa.
  • Marine scientists confirm the identity of the wreck of Second World War era merchant marine vessel the Coast Trader. They also confirmed the ship was sunk by a Japanese U-Boat in Canadian waters.
  • Personnel from the base and Joint Task Force Pacific participate in Operation Staunch Maple, an earthquake readiness drill that also involved the provincial government of British Columbia.
  • Over 1,200 visitors attend Westshore Navy Days at CFB Esquimalt’s Colwood facilities to see demonstrations showcasing the jobs done by CAF members on a daily basis.


  • Campus Pacific is established as Canadian Forces Fleet School Esquimalt and the Naval Officers Training Centre are officially reconfigured to form Naval Fleet School (Pacific).
  • Rear-Admiral Art McDonald replaces Rear-Admiral Gilles Couturier as Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific and Joint Task Force (Pacific).
  • The CAF Mobile App is launched, featuring fully integrated social media, photo and video hubs.
  • MARPAC’s Nijmegen Marching Team wins the CAF’s Woodhouse Trophy at the Four Days International Marches Nijmegen in Holland.
  • HMCS Vancouver joins Australia’s HMAS Warramunga and the USS Howard of the United States for a live anti-ship missile defence test in Hawaii as part of Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016.


  • The Department of National Defence issues a security warning surrounding the popular mobile app Pokemon GO.
  • Approximately 1,500 Canadian Armed Forces sailors, soldiers and air personnel participate in Rim of the Pacific Exercise, an international effort involving 25,000 military personnel from 25 nations.
  • The CAF releases its second progress report on Operation Honour revealing that, between April and July 2016, 148 complaints of inappropriate sexual behaviour were reported with 30 individuals receiving disciplinary action.
  • Capt Mark Hynes of JTFP J3-Land wins gold medal in the 25 Metre Standard Pistol category at the National Pistol Championships in Cookstown, Ontario.


  • Formation Chief CPO1 Mike Feltham relinquishes command to CPO1 Gilles Grégoire in a Change of Appointment Ceremony.
  • Canadian Forces Auxiliary Fleet (Esquimalt) celebrates its 70th Anniversary; Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS) celebrates its 20th Anniversary.
  • Prince William and Catherine, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, entertain 16 military families from the Victoria area with a children’s tea party at Government House.
  • HMCS Uganda and the Quebec Veterans Association holds their last-ever reunion at the base and are given a tour of HMCS Ottawa.
  • Accent Inns President Mandy Farmer is appointed as an Honorary Captain, becoming the base’s new ambassador in the community.


  • Sixteen members of Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific) travel to the Republic of South Korea to take part in Operation Clear Horizon, a multi-national training exercise.
  • MARPAC becomes the largest organization in the province to take part in the Great B.C. Shakeout, an earthquake drill involving more than 740,000 B.C. residents.
  • Personnel from the base complete volunteer work on full-scale, $500,000 renovation of the Rainbow Kitchen with local non-profit Hero Work.
  • HMCS Vancouver arrives in Singapore for its first goodwill port visit of WestPloy16, an effort to build stronger ties between the RCN and navies of the Asia-Pacific.
  • Second World War POW and Victoria philanthropist Rudi Hoenson is presented with two war medals by the Government of the Netherlands in a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Lodge at Broadmead.
  • Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander Royal Canadian Navy, hosts a town hall meeting focusing on submarine readiness. MARPAC submariners as well as employees of Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton and Babcock Canada attend.
  • HMC Ships Ottawa and Winnipeg participate in U.S. military exercise SWATTEX, joining forces with Chilean and U.S. military off the coast of Southern California.


  • HMCS Vancouver assists New Zealand after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake strikes just before the vessel’s scheduled participation in the 75th Anniversary of the island nation’s naval forces.
  • Dr. James Boutilier, MARPAC Special advisor on Asia and the Pacific, becomes the 26th recipient of the Vimy Award, which honours individuals who have made a significant contribution to Canada’s security and defence.
  • Personnel from the base join students from Rockheights Middle School for a No Stone Left Alone Ceremony at God’s Acre Veterans Cemetery ahead of Remembrance Day.
  • Past and present CFB Esquimalt personnel are well represented at Remembrance Day ceremonies at the B.C. Legislature and across Vancouver Island.


  • The base mourns the loss of MS Guillermo Morales Castellon after the Base Logistics member dies from injuries suffered in an industrial accident at 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron.
  • The RCN announces the completion of the Halifax-Class Frigate Equipment Life Extension Project (FELEX). Halifax-based HMCS Toronto is the last ship to complete the upgrades.
  • The base holds it annual Veterans’ Dine with Service Personnel event.
  • Three Chinese warships visit Victoria.
  • HMCS Vancouver returns home after a six month deployment on RIMPAC and WestPloy.

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