Admiral joins cadets on Orca training sail

="RAdm Bill Truelove watches over two cadets at the helm of, Patrol, Craft ,Training, Vessel, Moose"

RAdm Bill Truelove watches over two cadets at the helm of Patrol Craft Training Vessel Moose.

On an overcast Sunday two weeks ago, Orca training vessels Moose and Raven slipped from the jetty at the Coast Guard Station in Deep Cove.

Lining the decks were naval cadets, cameras in hand snapping photos of the choppy gray water and sloping hills on the horizon before them.

But this sail wasn’t just for fun; the youth were on board to have the full experience of naval life.

At the sound of an alarm echoing throughout Moose, 18 cadets leaped into action. Oscar the man overboard dummy was in need of rescuing and its casualty retrieval was in the hands of the cadets.

Most cadets took their cues for action from the experienced crew members, or followed the direction of the older cadets, taking their place at the base of the zodiac crane, or passing out life jackets.

Some headed to the bridge, while others unfastened the zodiac for launching. For most on board, this was their first time in an Orca class vessel, and their first experience sailing in the waters off the B.C. coast.

“Now I see the practical use of all the training we’ve done at my corps back home,” said Comox resident PO1 Madelaine Desnoyers, 17. “It’s one thing to learn theory and then another thing to actually be on a boat. Now it all makes more sense.”

A few hundred metres away Oscar bobbed in the water in a bright orange life jacket as the crew lowered the zodiac from the ship to the ocean. A senior cadet drove the boat to Oscar who was plucked up by the cadet crew and returned to Moose.

Back on the bridge, the most senior naval officer on the Pacific Coast, RAdm Bill Truelove watched over the cadets as they took turns in the drivers seat, while other cadets stood watch, binoculars in hand, calling out navigation signals.

Then, the order was given to gather at the stern for the Admiral’s address, and cadets scrambled to straighten their uniforms and head outside.

“What’s amazing here is that we have a group of cadets who arrived from different places, don’t know each other, and who will be spending a week together getting an at-sea experience, learning about the class of ship, driving the zodiac, completing navigation, driving the vessel itself – then they’ll take that knowledge back to their units, and talk about their experiences,” said the Admiral.  

Cadets submitted applications to attend, and were selected regionally from across Canada. Roughly two to three cadets were chosen from each region, with a number of cadets from Ontario, the prairies, and B.C. Those selected attended the training trip free of cost, with all travel expenses covered. Participating cadets were expected to represent their units, and act as role models for their regions upon their return home.

“This is a classic navy experience,” continued the Admiral. “A whole bunch of people from all different backgrounds working together to learn how to deal with emergencies on board.”

Cadets gathered formally on the bow of the ship one final time to send off the Admiral, and take a crew photograph before heading out on a weeklong trip through the Gulf Islands. Lt(N) Tien Nguygen, who volunteered to take the picture, could barely hold the stack of smartphones deposited in her hands by cadets eager to capture the moment.

Before the Admiral departed, he expressed his gratitude to the cadets one final time.

“Thank you for being cadets,” he said. “Thank you for doing what you do.”


Rachel Lallouz,  Staff Writer

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.