Canadian warships in Oregon


HMCS Saskatoon comes alongside the sea wall as HMCS Whitehorse passes under the Burnside Bridge.

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) featured prominently during this year’s Portland Rose Festival Fleet Week festivities, with HMC ships Calgary, Whitehorse, Saskatoon, and Oriole participating.

Things kicked off with the arrival of Oriole last Tuesday, the first naval ship to arrive at the historic city. 

Although Oriole was greeted with a heavy downpour, it didn’t dampen the spirits of the Astoria Regatta Court, a group of young women from Astoria high schools who boarded the sailing ketch for a day sail.

Festival organizers welcomed the 10 ships from the RCN, U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard. 

“One of the purposes of Fleet Week has always been to celebrate and thank the active and reserve military personnel and all veterans,” said Portland Rose Festival Foundation CEO Jeff Curtis.

“Their arrival [navy ships] commemorates a relationship that has lasted more than 100 years, and over 80 years of visiting Portland during the Rose Festival. It is a significant commitment by the navy to make the Rose Festival Fleet Week one of the premier Fleet Week events in the country.”

Thousands of people toured the RCN ships, many entertained by a contingent from the Naden Band as they waited in line. Those who toured HMCS Calgary saw the latest in Canadian naval technology as the ship’s crew showed off the suite of upgrades.  

“Since we completed our upgrades, this ship has been very busy on operations and exercises, as well as testing  our new systems and supporting force generation activities,” said Executive Officer, LCdr Jake French. “The Rose Festival gives this crew a nice port visit as well as an opportunity to showcase to thousands of visitors the great work we do.” 

The Rose Festival attracts more than a million visitors annually.

With the RCN, USN and USCG ships all berthed in close proximity to each other, it was also an opportunity to highlight to those attending that the three services are interoperable, often working together in service of North Americans. 

For Whitehorse, it was an opportunity to remind people about the challenging work they’ve done on Operation Caribbe, Canada’s participation in the multinational campaign against illicit trafficking by transnational organized crime in the Caribbean sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean.

“People are genuinely interested in learning about the RCN ships,” said LCdr Chris Rochon, Whitehorse Commanding Officer.

“When we can link the RCN to operations they have heard of, such as our counter-drug work on Caribbe, it reminds them that the RCN is a reliable partner  for maritime operations.”

RCN participation wasn’t limited to the waterfront; a quartet from the Naden Band played at variety of venues throughout the week, including at Portland City Hall, where Mayor Charlie Hales took the opportunity to dance with this wife Nancy before they hosted a variety of guests, including sailors from the RCN, USN, and USCG.

LCdr Desmond James
MARPAC  PA Officer

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.