Calgary team takes Amazing Race win

Amazing Race

Naval Combat Information Operators from HMCS Calgary tackle bed making as part of the Amazing Race portion of the Admiral Yanow’s Skills Competition.

There was a lot of brain power at work last week when Naval Combat Information Operators (NCIOP) rolled up their sleeves and focused their efforts on the Admiral Yanow Skills Competition held over two days.

Following a series of tests – Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune – to determine certain proficiencies, teams from HMC Ships Calgary, Winnipeg, Regina, Protecteur, Algonquin and Ottawa then hit the pavement in an Amazing Race.

“All teams hit the competition running, but HMCS Calgary was the fastest and came in just over 40 minutes for the final task, sweating, puffing and trying to catch their breath. It was a very athletic endeavour,” said CPO2 John Haggis, Chief Fleet NCIOP.

Winnipeg and Ottawa came in second and third.

Teams were sent scurrying around the base following clues that led them to a location where they were given a task, or a trade related question in order to get a clue to their next location.

“It’s set up to challenge them interactively on general service knowledge and trade-related problems. This year eight stations were set up on a five kilometre route. Some of their tasks included identifying flags raised, making a bunk according to regulations, identifying history of the trade, demonstrating safe weapons handling and passing a codeword quiz,” explained CPO2 Haggis.

The trade is considered the “eyes of the fleet” and NCIOPs spend their days deep in the ship, rarely getting to see the light of day during their shift.

“We work in a dark space all the time in the operations room, so it’s nice to put a little light on people’s faces. When we do go to sea we know who we are talking to on the other ships and this creates a better working relationship between the ships and crew. It also builds on teambuilding, which is the way we approach problems when we are at sea,” says CPO2 Haggis. “Meeting sailors face-to-face and competing using the core skills of their trade is a great way to practice interactively. We had Ordinary Seamen competing alongside Petty Officers.”

On a ship, NCIOPS collect, evaluate, display and disseminate information that comes from different sources throughout the ship, internally and externally.

“We use radars as our primary source for surface and air search to provide a picture for command to make tactical decisions on fighting and keeping the ship safe,” said CPO2 Haggis.

Admiral Yanow’s NCIOP Skills Competition began in 1985 as a friendly competition between two and four squadrons. At the time, Adm Robert Yanow was the Admiral, so the skills competition took on his name.

Also included in this competition was an air controlling skills competition, which HMCS Ottawa’s LS Colin Forsberg won.

An awards presentation at the Canadian Forces Sailing Association and a barbecue funded by the Chief and Petty Officers’ Mess followed the competition.

Shelley Lipke, Staff Writer

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