CFB Esquimalt Base Chief Change-of-Appointment

CFB Esquimalt Base Chief Change of Command Ceremony held in the Rainbow Room at the Chief’s and Petty Officer’s Mess, CFB Esquimalt on 22 August 2023.
Photo: Corporal (Cpl) Jay Naples, MARPAC Imaging Services, Esquimalt

Ashley Evans 
CFB Esquimalt Communications Officer

On Aug. 22, Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt thanked Chief Petty Officer First Class (CPO1) Al Darragh, Base Chief Petty Officer, for the past three years of service he provided while warmly welcoming CPO1 Susan Frisby into the role.

During his time as Base Chief, CPO1 Darragh maintained a dedicated focus on the people that make up the Greater Defence community, military and civilian members alike, as making a difference – big or small – he said, made the most profound impact.

The role of the Base Chief Petty Officer is to assist in ensuring the effective and efficient operations of CFB Esquimalt, as directed by the Base Commander. CPO1 Darragh came into the role at a unique time, only four months into the COVID-19 pandemic. The three years that followed were undeniably challenging, though he never shied away from that challenge, focusing on what mattered most at the Base.

“This role presents many challenges, most of which are extremely complex, and it can be slow to move towards solutions; making progress on many of the topics we face is a reward in itself,” said CPO1 Darragh.

“I received a phone call from the father of a junior sailor thanking me because we at CFB Esquimalt were trying to help our sailors find places to live. He expressed that his son had a roof over his head because of people like us who took the time and cared enough to help,” he continued. “Making a positive impact on my shipmates is very rewarding.”

CFB Esquimalt Base Chief Change of Command Ceremony held in the Rainbow Room at the Chief’s and Petty Officer’s Mess, CFB Esquimalt on 22 August 2023.
Photo: Corporal (Cpl) Jay Naples, MARPAC Imaging Services, Esquimalt

CPO1 Darragh joined the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in June 1988 as a Marine Engineering Mechanic. Throughout his career, he was posted to numerous ships and lodger units, including HMCS Fraser, Kootenay, Restigouche, Huron, Athabaskan, and Algonquin, and Canadian Forces Fleet School Esquimalt – MSE Division, and Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton. In 2012, CPO1 Darragh was promoted to his current rank and, in 2015, was appointed as Coxswain of HMCS Ottawa, where he was deployed to the Indo-Pacific.

A Chief, or CPO1, can often be referred to as the grandfather of the ship or unit they are posted to, which makes clear why the involvement with members of the Greater Defence community at CFB Esquimalt was an aspect of his role that came quickly to CPO1 Darragh, and one he so greatly appreciated.

Sharing with CPO1 Frisby, CPO1 Darragh said, “You need to see and be seen. It is paramount that, as the Base Chief, you get out and see what people are doing, what the conditions are like, and not just the physical work environment but the morale and attitudes. Our people need to know that you are invested in them.”

A focus on the Defence Team and community is a sentiment CPO1 Frisby holds close and a message she has received from the outgoing Base Chief.

“As in my previous postings, for me, it still comes down to the people. I look forward to building new relationships and working with Captain (Navy) Kevin Whiteside, Base Commander, to continue the work of the previous Base Commander and CPO1 Darragh, in fostering collaborative relationships with the communities that host CFB Esquimalt, it’s sailors, soldiers, and aviators, while doing what we as a team can do to improve the support provided to them.”

CPO1 Frisby comes to the Base Executive Branch from her previous posting as Coxswain of HMCS Winnipeg, where she most recently deployed to the Indo-Pacific.

“It is an amazing feeling to have been chosen for this position,” she said. “I am both humbled and excited for the opportunity to contribute to the RCN at this level and to continue to have the responsibility to do what I can for our members at this strategic level.”

In his parting words to the members of the Base, CPO1 Darragh said, “Ask others why they joined the Defence Team, then strive to receive what both you and they were looking for by advocating for, or influencing, the changes required to achieve those things. We are all a part of the team, and if we work together, great things can happen.”

We bid farewell while thanking CPO1 Darragh for his dedicated service as CFB Esquimalt Base Chief over the past three years. Fair Winds and Following Seas.

Filed Under: News Release


About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.