Cadets visit to CFB Esquimalt stokes curiosity in Navy careers


Ordinary Cadet Brody Williams and Cadet Chief Petty Officer Second Class Shelby Pauls try their hands at the controls of a bridge simulator at HMCS Venture. Photos: Peter Mallett/Lookout

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer — The Alpha Bridge simulator at Naval Personnel and Training Group’s (NPTG) HMCS Venture enticed many ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from young cadets this past week.

Cadet Chief Petty Officer Second Class (C/CPO2) Shelby Pauls from Powell River called her hands-on training with one of Venture’s six Bridge simulators ‘terrific’.

“Learning how to navigate a ship from a bridge simulator was super cool,” she said. “It was all about learning from mistakes, training to be better and working as a team to overcome obstacles,” she said.

Pauls is the Coxswain of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps (RCSCC) 64 Malaspina. She is one of twenty-six cadets from RCSCC Malaspina and RCSCC 54 Admiral de Wolf who descended on CFB Esquimalt Jan. 31-Feb. 1 to get an up-close look at life in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).

The cadets, ages 12 to 18, and five adult staff members from 64 Malaspina were housed at Work Point barracks for their stay.

On Day One, the group visited the Damage Control Division and Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific) in Colwood and toured HMCS Ottawa and the Orca-Class training vessel Moose of the Patrol Craft Training Unit. The program concluded with Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB) rides at Naval Fleet School’s Seamanship Division in Naden.

Danny O’Regan, Navigation Bridge Simulator Manager, introduced the school’s Alpha Bridge on the second day. He said this was an excellent opportunity to showcase the RCN to an audience that has already demonstrated an interest in the maritime environment.

Pauls said the Bridge simulators at Venture piqued her interest in the RCN. She also said the tour was a valuable experience for her and the rest of the cadets.

C/CPO2 Aidan Parkin is also considering a career in the RCN after the Base visit.

“I really enjoyed my time on the Bridge and seeing all the equipment and technology,” Parkin said. He is interested in becoming a Naval Warfare Officer.

Acting Sub-Lieutenant (A/SLt) Michael Samuels, the cadets’ chaperone and Venture student, said Base tours are critically important to get the cadets and all Canadians interested in RCN career opportunities.

“When I heard a young cadet walk onto the Bridge simulator and exclaim ‘Cool, I want to join the Navy right now’, it made giving tours such as this all worth it,” said A/SLt Samuels. “We try to promote the RCN, get people excited about joining the armed forces and let them know this can be a rewarding career.”

After the Base visit, the cadets received a guided tour of the B.C. Legislative Buildings by Nicholas Simons, Powell River-Sunshine Coast Member of Legislative Assembly.


Cadets test out damage control equipment at the Damage Control Training Facility.

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