Canada visit prize for New Zealand sailor

Leading Chef Brock West

Leading Chef Brock West was rewarded with a trip to Canada after being honoured as New Zealand’s Sailor of the Year.

Recognition for a good deed has sent one New Zealand sailor to Canada.

Leading Chef (LCH) Brock West of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) is in town to visit the Royal Canadian Navy on the Pacific Coast as part of his commendation.

The 24-year-old was honoured this year as the RNZN’s Sailor of the Year for heroic actions he took when troubles arose during a salvage operation.

LCH West and HNZS Rotoiti were aiding a salvage vessel with the break down of a grounded cargo ship when the seas got rough.

“We were approaching in our little inflatable boat and we saw a man fall from the ladder,” says LCH West.
The man fell five metres and landed on another person. It was then that the medically trained LCH West knew he had to do something.

“Instinct took over, and I jumped from my boat to theirs,” he says. “The man who’d fallen was okay, but the one he’d landed on was a banged up. I administered first aid and we got them back to our ship.”

Luckily both men came away with only bumps and a bruised vertebra.

LCH West admits he was just doing what he thought was right, but the recognition still feels good.
“If it was me I’d have wanted someone to do the same thing,” he says.

While at CFB Esquimalt he toured the base museum, took in naval life on the West Coast, and had coffee with the RAdm Bill Truelove.

“The Admiral is a great guy. We talked about the issues facing our two countries and the future of the navy,” he says.
The actions he took are nothing short of what would be expected of a member of the RNZN, says LCH West. His commendation reflects that point of view.

“Your friends always give you a hard time, but it’s always nice to get acknowledged for doing the right thing,” he says.

-Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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  1. Sgt Ken Hackshaw says:

    Leading Chief (LCH) Brock West, “Congratulations” for this eloquent gift of recognition for this “unselfish Act” to assist others. Your country has given you a most deserving gift! This will broaden your outlook of International Navies and culture of Canada and to experience part of our land and people. We (as people in general) certainly don’t get enough recognition in many fields of our employment.

    Victoria BC is a “very” small part of who we “Canadians” are. Vancouver Island certainly can keep you busy during your “short” stay. I would recommend you get a ticket to view our Naden Band perform at the Royal Theatre (10, 11, 12 of Dec 2012). Since timing is tight, I hope your Canadian guide can request a flight on the Seaking helicopter at 443(MH) Sqn, hopefully authorization can be approved before you return to New Zealand. Your commendation is Well Deserving!

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