HMCS Protecteur

HMCS Protecteur

The ship’s company of HMCS Protecteur gathered in the Naden Drill shed June 11 for presentations of the medals with the Expedition Ribbon for their role in Operation Carribe.

Dressed in their Number Ones, the crew of HMCS Protecteur stood erect and proud in the Naden Drill Hall June 11, set to receive their individual medals for a mission well done.

The honour was for their work supplying Operation Caribbe’s ships, who were working to halt the flow of illegal drugs into North America through the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the shores of Central and South America.

Under the direction of Canada Command, Protecteur provided support in missions taking place from August to October 2010. During that time, they travelled to and from the “hot zone” of operations off the coast of Columbia, providing more than eight million gallons of fuel to participating patrol ships. Protecteur also sailed support missions from May to June 2011 in the Caribbean Basin and the East Pacific. Op Caribbe was responsible for 33 arrests, as well as the confiscation of 12 metric tons of cocaine, totalling a street value of more than $235 million.

Cdr Todd Bonnar, Commanding Officer of Protecteur, and crew received the Operational Support Medal (OSM). The OSM was awarded in 2010 to recognize certain military operations for which there were no medals available.  It is awarded to those who are deserving of recognition due to the service granted and risks taken on overseas missions in potentially dangerous environments.

“The crew did exceptionally well,” said Cdr Bonnar. “They had to endure a sweltering work environment. The average temperature in the Gulf had to be in low 30s.”

RAdm Bill Truelove, Commander Maritime Forces Pacific/Joint Task Force Pacific, came to speak to the crew and present them with medals.

“Protecteur supported a mission that has accounted for over 14 tons of illegal contraband over the course of your service, and over 400 metric tons since its inception. That is contraband that will no longer find its way into the hands of those people walking the streets of our community, thanks in part to your service. You should be proud,” said the Admiral.

Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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