HMCS Calgary returns home after a challenging yet successful deployment

The ship’s company stand for a group photo in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, on March 30 while the ship was deployed on Operations Projection and Artemis.

The ship’s company stand for a group photo in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, on March 30 while the ship was deployed on Operations Projection and Artemis. Photo by Corporal Lynette Ai Dang.


Lt Jeff Klassen
HMCS Calgary

After seven months away from home, HMCS Calgary returned to Esquimalt Aug. 30 after two successful Operations: Artemis and Projection.

“For most of the ship’s company this was the most challenging deployment of their entire career. The success we had is a testament to their resilience,” said Commander Mark O’Donohue, Calgary’s Commanding Officer.

In January, the ship’s company went into quarantine before participating in intensive pre-deployment workups on Task Group Exercise 21-01 throughout February. Calgary left Esquimalt for their deployment on Feb. 28.

Deploying under COVID-19 conditions was challenging. The typical shore leave, crucial for sailors’ morale on long deployments, was reduced to restricted port visits, mostly confined to the ship or small isolated sections on the jetty.

From February to April, the ship journeyed through the Indo-Pacific on Op Projection, making restricted port visits in Hawaii, Guam, Brunei, Vietnam, and Singapore. During this time, the ship conducted cooperative deployments with the Bruneian Navy, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the Royal Australian Navy, and
the United States Navy, and transited through Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

Op Artemis began in late April in the Arabian Sea under the Canadian-led Combined Task Force 150, who are under the 34-nation Combined Maritime Forces. The ship was more successful in the counter-terrorism mission than any other ship in the operation’s history.

Ships on the operation perform maritime interdictions, stopping smugglers of illicit cargo that is intended to fund regional crime and terror. For Calgary, this involved using their embarked Cyclone helicopter air detachment and other assets to survey waters for suspicious fishing-type vessels, known as dhows, and then board and search them. The ship made the largest single heroin bust in the operation’s history and also set the record for the most successful interdictions by any ship on a single rotation of the operation’s history.

Most of Calgary’s successful interdictions were conducted with the use of their Naval Tactical Operations Group team, call sign Reef. However, during interdictions in the latter part of this operation, the ship had the unique opportunity to use their own organic boarding party, call sign Alpha Wave, who were also successful.

From June until August, the ship was again on Op Projection as they transited back from the Indian Ocean through the Indo-Pacific by way of Oceania. During this time, the ship made a visit to the United States Naval Support Facility on the remote island of the British Indian Ocean Territory of Diego Garcia; made restricted port visits in Indonesia, Australia, and Fiji; and participated in Exercise Talisman Sabre off the coast of Australia with the Royal Australian Navy, the United States Navy, the Republic of Korea Navy, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

After Talisman Sabre, the ship had its only free port visit of the deployment in Auckland, New Zealand, in early August. In order to have this visit, the ship needed to follow strict COVID health and safety procedures including spending 18 continuous days at sea with daily medical screenings and COVID testing of every member before going ashore.

While ashore, the ship’s company was hosted by the Royal New Zealand Navy at a traditional Powhiri ceremony, and in their time at sea before and after the visit, the ship participated in cooperative deployments with the Royal New Zealand Navy. Overall, the visit highlighted the strong relationship between Canada and New Zealand.

From New Zealand, Calgary transited home, but not before crossing where the equator and the 180th meridian (roughly the international dateline) meet. The ship crossing at this precise point is significant in naval tradition making every member of the ship’s company an official Golden Shellback.

“We are so happy to be back in Canada and with our families again. Difficult operations like this are only possible with the amazing support of our families and from people ashore,” said Commander O’Donohue.

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author:

RSSComments (1)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Henry Noll says:

    Magnificent! So very proud of you and proud to have such an incredibly talented Navy! Welcome home!

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.