A Change of Command for MARPAC

MARPAC Change of Command

Senior military staff were on hand last week to witness the change over of leadership at Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC).

Amidst grey skies and the rocky outcrop at Duntze Head, with musical accompaniment from the Naden Band and a sail past from submarine HMCS Victoria, the reigns of command for Maritime Forces Pacific were passed from one leader to the next.

Friends, family and distinguished guests gathered to bid farewell to RAdm Nigel Greenwood, and welcome RAdm Bill Truelove as he accepted command of the most senior naval position on the West Coast last Monday.

Among the assembled dignitaries were representatives from the Esquimalt and Salish First Nations, visiting officers of allied fleets, and the LGov of British Columbia, Steven Point.  

During the change of command ceremony, the Guard of Honour offered salutes to the official party, consisting of RAdm Greenwood, RAdm Truelove, and LGov Point, as well as presiding officers VAdm Paul Maddison, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, and LGen Walter Semianiw, Commander of Canada Command.

During his final address, RAdm Greenwood drew upon the sentiments of truth, duty, and valour.

“The truth of it is, I feel like a very lucky guy,” said RAdm Greenwood. “To be here, to have had this experience with the Navy, all the way from cadets, to Royal Roads, to my present position.”

To RAdm Truelove he said, “Our careers have intersected at different times. I know you’re going to be warmly welcomed, well respected, and you’re going to have a heap of fun in this position.”

For valour, he focused on HMCS Victoria. “It’s such a pleasure to see Victoria sailing out of this harbour, on cue, and that’s how it’s going to be from this day on. In my mind Victoria represents our navy: small, powerful, deployable and potent.”

Following his address, those gathered watched as RAdm Greenwood issued his last order, and CPO1 Paul Helston hauled down the Admiral’s distinguishing flag and presented it to the outgoing commander, officially signaling his departure from the post of Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific and Joint Task Force Pacific.

Along with a bouquet of flowers, RAdm Greenwood handed his flag to wife Deborah, who sat teary-eyed in the front row.  The day before the change of command, RAdm Greenwood renewed his vows with his wife of 25 years, whom he met through her father – Rear Admiral Yanow, who he served as a flag lieutenant. RAdm Greenwood and his wife plan to take a short break after his retirement before travelling to France.

As is customary, the official party signed over command to RAdm Truelove, who then took the podium to address the crowd as the incoming commander.

“I’m excited to be taking the helm as we move through the next phase of transformation across the Canadian Forces, while also navigating a complex period of fleet renewal, and at the same time ensuring this formation remains as it always has, ready aye ready to respond when called upon by our nation.”

RAdm Truelove recently returned from a one year tour in Afghanistan, and both he and his family are glad to be back on the West Coast.

“I’m excited to be rejoining this great community at a time when this formation continues to move forward,” said RAdm Truelove. “To see these great soldiers, sailors, air men and women doing what they do so well each and every day, as they serve their country: as we all do. It’s just really great to be back.”

Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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