HMCS Vancouver Boatswain earns Gold Service Insignia for 1,460+ days at sea

Lt(N) Michelle Scott, 
PAO HMCS Vancouver

Master Sailor (MS) Steven Koreluk, a Boatswain with HMCS Vancouver, earned a gold Sea Service Insignia pin for amassing over 1,460 days at sea.

Gold is the highest level in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).

“Being able to help is the best part of the job,” he said.

MS Koreluk has been in a sea-going unit full-time since 2003. It might have been sheer curiosity that drove him to join, but helping people in real-life emergencies kept the Kamsack, Sask., native in the Navy for 21 years.

MS Koreluk, 52, initially joined Saskatoon’s Naval Reserve unit, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Unicorn as a Boatswain in 2001 while studying at the University of Saskatchewan. After completing his degree in Arts and Science, he took a contract sailing on the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDVs) and has not looked back.

That’s where he currently finds himself again – back at sea as a member of the Regular Force and sailing in HMCS Vancouver.

“We have a really good deck department here, we’ve really come together as a team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being in the operational phase of this deployment and getting to see some of the ports I haven’t been to yet.”

Vancouver is currently deployed on Operation Neon, where MS Koreluk and his shipmates support the implementation of United Nations Security Council sanctions on North Korea.

This will be MS Koreluk’s fifth deployment. He has participated in three Operation Caribbes, Canada’s contribution to the US-led operation intended to curb the amount of illegal drug trafficking in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean. He also deployed to Afghanistan as Flight Line Security in Kandahar Air Field – a career highlight for Koreluk.

“Being able to see one of the most dangerous parts of the world at that time, and working with militaries from all over the world was amazing,” he said.

During the rounds, he and the team would always have coffee with the different compounds and get to know people from all the supporting nations.

“I think the Belgians had the best coffee,” he said.

Despite moving away from Saskatchewan years ago, MS Koreluk has maintained his Kamsack roots and makes a point of getting back at least twice a year to see his family and friends. When he eventually retires from full-time service, Koreluk says he plans to head back to Saskatchewan and likely join the Naval Reserve unit that gave him his start all those years ago.


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