From PAT to Pacific


HMCS Calgary

A/SLt MacArthur, A/SLt Sweet, A/SLt Campbell and A/SLt Lavoie on their first week in HMCS Calgary.

HMCS Calgary 

Four students on Personnel Awaiting Training Platoon for their Naval Warfare Officer (NWO) level III course recently joined HMCS Calgary for a month-long sail to the South Pacific. The sail aided their work towards their Officer of the Day packages. 

The experience began with the four Acting Sub-Lieutenants – A/SLt Paula Campbell, A/SLt Luca Lavoie, A/SLt Scott MacArthur and A/SLt Sherri Sweet – being flown via a C-130 Hercules to Hawaii to meet up with the ship.

This opportunity rarely happens for students just beginning their training – a full month of sailing, a port visit, and firsthand experience in a frigate for the first time in their careers.   

Originally, the trainees were attach posted to HMCS Ottawa to work towards their Officer of the Day packages, an amazing opportunity in itself as most students don’t start this portion of their training until after their NWO IV course.

However, having only been attach-posted for one week, this made them the ideal candidates to partake in this sail and experience life on ship firsthand, while still working towards their qualifications and participating in essential training. 

Arriving in Pearl Harbor where it was 26 degrees hotter and immensely sunnier than Esquimalt, they took a brief ride to the jetty, joined up with Calgary, and enjoyed a crew-wide port visit, the first one since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Following a brief stay in Honolulu, the trainees returned to the ship and were encouraged by their new command team to take advantage of the experiences, evolutions, and opportunities to come their way, and to act like sponges, taking as much information in as possible. 

Their first day was spent spread across various departments, shadowing and learning about the different roles such as Technician of the Watch, Petty Officer of the Watch, Shipboard Electro-Optic Surveillance System Operator, and Marine System Engineer Rounds.

Each of these shadow roles gave a different perspective on how the ship is run on a day-to-day basis. Soon after, they were placed on a Watch on Deck Rotation for a week. This saw them participate either on the helm or as lookout, which allowed them to spend quality time with the Boatswains, soaking up the happenings on the bridge and around the boat decks. 

They also participated in a .50 calibre hammerhead shoot, part ship hands evolutions; a towing exercise; a cold move; anti-submarine warfare operations; torpedo counter measures manoeuvers; a dual Sig Sauer and C8 shoot; and person overboard evolutions.

In between evolutions, standing watches, and soaking everything in, trainees could be found huddled together studying their On-the-Job-Performance Records requisitions for their Officer of the Day Package. When they arrived in Calgary they had 19 requisites; they obtained 14 more while on board for a total of 33 out of 47, a healthy 70 per-cent completion of their Officer of the Day package.

Calgary’s crew was extremely welcoming and helpful and made integrating into the ship’s day-to-day operations an easy transition. On numerous occasions while working on the “Know Your Ship Book”, looking presumably lost, the trainees were approached by members of the crew offering assistance by way of knowledge, fire tours, or often times just a friendly “Hello”.

The trainees have now officially been attach posted to Calgary with the intent of sitting their boards this spring and staying with Calgary until their courses start late this summer. 

The opportunity for them to be placed in what might have been empty racks has given them a base for their training to build on.

HMCS Calgary

A/SLt Sweet and A/SLt Campbell observe the cable party as they secure the anchor cable while alongside Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

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