HMCS Ottawa aids USN in submarine course

Commodore Topshee and his staff pose as OTTAWA enters Pearl Harbor.

Commodore Topshee and his staff pose as OTTAWA enters Pearl Harbor.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

HMCS Ottawa has returned to Esquimalt after successful completion of a training exercise involving torpedo fire with vessels of the United States Navy (USN), and support to the Canadian Navy’s Operation Projection.

The Halifax-class frigate and its crew of 220 completed a month-long deployment on March 4 that included participation in a USN Submarine Commander’s Course (SCC), Feb. 20 to 22, off the coast of Hawaii.

Ottawa sailed to Hawaii Feb. 6 with HMCS Regina and Naval Replenishment Unit (NRU) Asterix. During their transit to Pearl Harbor, Ottawa served as the command platform for the initial task group under the leadership of Canadian Fleet Pacific Commanding Officer, Commodore Angus Topshee.

In Hawaii, they supported Regina’s and Asterix’s Operation Projection mission by working with partner navies and conducting key leadership engagements to enhance military cooperation and partnerships in support of Canada’s diplomatic efforts in the Asia-Pacific region.

Before taking part in the Submarine Commander’s Course, Ottawa was required to complete a Torpedo Readiness Inspection under the guidance of Sea Training Pacific (ST(P)). While on board, ST(P) staff helped the ship’s crew fulfil its Assisted Ship Readiness Training that included internal emergency response to fires and floods. 

Ottawa Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Tyson Bergmann said, “With the help of Sea Training Pacific, Ottawa’s crew sharpened their skills and learned critical lessons that will be valuable moving forward, and I am proud of our capable and competent crew.”

The USN Submarine Commander’s Course saw Ottawa engaged in exchange of torpedo fire between the ship and USN submarines. The exercise torpedoes fired by Ottawa allowed the ship to conduct real-world training safely with other units as these torpedoes did not contain a payload and were unarmed.

Ottawa was part of the combined task force designated to detect, track and engage U.S. submarines who were attempting to do the same to the surface ships involved,” said Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Mooney, one of Ottawa’s Bridge Watchkeepers. “The anti-submarine warfare team did an outstanding job detecting and prosecuting the submarines and together, with the help of our USN counterparts, Ottawa was able to conduct two successful torpedo firings.” 

Three USN submarines and a pair of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers – USS Wayne E. Myer and USS Michael P. Murphy – were involved in the exercise along with MH60R Seahawk helicopters and a P3 Orion fixed wing, anti-submarine surveillance aircraft.

LCdr Bergmann rated his crew’s performance as “excellent” and commended them for overcoming the challenges faced in an anti-submarine warfare environment.

While deployed, the ship’s company hosted a video game tournament in its hangar to support the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre, the ship’s namesake city. Together with a 50/50 draw, $2,000 of support was raised for the centre.

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