HMCS Calgary showcases the Royal Canadian Navy

Photo by SLt Yeojin Kim, HMCS Calgary

Photo by SLt Yeojin Kim, HMCS Calgary

SLt M.X. Déry, MARPAC PA Office ~

High speed turns, fighting fires, the Royal Canadian Navy mascot Sonar, a Cyclone buzzing past and ice cream, could you ask for more?

HMCS Calgary pulled all the stops last weekend to show girls and women from Achieve Anything Foundation’s Operation This is You, and a host of VIPs from the City of Vancouver, everything that the navy has to offer.

“Sails like this are about awareness, about why a navy is important, about why Canada is a maritime nation, but most importantly about why the sailors you meet today love their job, love their country, love what they do,” said Cdr Jonathan Kouwenberg, Commanding Officer of Calgary.

The ship departed North Vancouver early Saturday morning and headed for Howe Sound as the nearly 200 guests were split into smaller groups to explore all aspects of life at sea. On the flight deck, guests donned bunker gear and watched mock firefighting hot door procedures.

In the hangar, members of the ship’s Naval Boarding Party fielded questions in full gear, while other groups were shown the ship’s multiple weapons systems on the upper decks, or the engineering compartments below deck.

Sonar made a quick appearance to dispense high fives to children and help in some of the tour displays.

After lunch and some ice cream, guests were treated to a Cyclone helicopter from 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron demonstrating its aerial prowess, followed by Calgary performing a man overboard exercise to highlight the warship’s maneuverability.

Throughout it all, the ship’s program was narrated by one voice, that of Lt(N) Samantha Bayne, Calgary’s Underwater Warfare Officer.

“It was a great experience being the voice of Calgary,” said Lt(N) Bayne. “Getting to showcase what we do in the navy, especially for the ‘This is you’ foundation, that really hit home, as one of the senior female leaders on the ship.”

Lt(N) Bayne joined the navy through her high school sports program; she spoke to coaches at the Royal Military College when her high school played in a basketball tournament at the college. Her athleticism has continued into her career, playing on numerous Canadian Armed Forces teams in basketball and volleyball. This and her senior role in the operations room made her the natural choice to MC the proceedings as a role model to girls and young women.

“It was an opportunity to expose a lot of women to different kinds of jobs and roles they can hold on a ship,” said Lt(N) Bayne. “Roles they might fill in the future.”

For Cdr Kouwenberg, the day sail was about creating connections between sailors and the public.

“It’s funny; you join the navy thinking that you’ll get to drive ships, shoot guns and travel the world, but what it ends up coming back to is people and relationships,” he said to the crowd before they departed Calgary. “Today was all about building those relationships.”

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