HMC Ships Brandon, Edmonton joined Portland Rose Festival

The Naden Quartet Band plays on Edmonton’s foc’s’le during a cocktail party.

The Naden Quartet Band plays on Edmonton’s foc’s’le during a cocktail party.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) outreach efforts were in full bloom again last week with HMCS Brandon and HMCS Edmonton’s participation in the Portland Rose Festival.

The two Kingston-class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels were moored at the Portland Seawall, June 7 to 12, as part of the Fleet Week segment of the month-long civic festival held each year in June.

Two United States Navy (USN) vessels, aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill, and Independence-class combat ship USS Jackson, along with three United States Coast Guard vessels – USCGC Alert, Bluebell and T/V Ironwood – also participated.

The company of all six warships gave guided tours during Fleet Week, an event that celebrates Portland’s more than 100-year relationship with the navy.

This was the fifth Rose Festival for LCdr Lucas Kenward, Commanding Officer of Edmonton, who said he relishes the opportunity to represent the RCN at this event.

“Portland is a wonderful city and as one would expect they really roll out the red carpet for our sailors with multiple events and activities throughout the Portland region during Fleet Week. The Seawall area in particular is abuzz with many uniformed personnel interacting with the citizens of Portland and its tourists, touring each other’s ships, and exchanging stories of times at sea.”

Brandon’s Commanding Officer, LCdr Jolene Lisi noted her ship’s company were “truly overcome by the hospitality of Portland” and also valued their interaction with USCG and USN crew in a social setting.

On June 10, the RCN ships co-hosted a Canadian reception with Consul General James K. Hill and Commander MARPAC, who was represented by Commander Michele Tessier, Commander Coastal Forces. Dignitaries such as Vice-Admiral Nora Tyson, Commander USN Third Fleet; Vice-Admiral Midgette, Commander Coast Guard Pacific Area; and Rear-Admiral Gary Mayes, Commander Navy Region Northwest, attended the event to name a few.

LCdr Kenward said one of his most interesting interactions during the week was with the United States Army Corps of Engineers who are tasked with dredging the U.S. portion of the 2,000-kilometre-long Columbia River, which originates near Revelstoke B.C. and ends in Clatsop County, Ore.

“Portland itself is actually situated on the Willamette River, a large tributary of the Columbia,” said LCdr Kenward. “You can imagine what a continuous and arduous task it is to keep such a large river open to seagoing traffic for such a significant distance, so speaking with the engineers who actually do the work was interesting.”

The RCN’s participation in Fleet Week is part of a multiple-event liaison with United States naval forces that also includes Los Angeles Fleet Week (Labour Day Weekend), San Francisco Fleet Week (Oct. 2 to 9), and the Seattle Seafair Fleet Week and Boeing Maritime Celebration (Aug. 1 to 6).

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