MARPAC welcomes aboard new Commander

From the left: Rear-Admiral Art McDonald, the outgoing Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific and Command Joint Task Force (Pacific), Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, and Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie sign the Change of Command certificates with HMCS Calgary behind them on June 22. Photo by LS David Gariepy, MARPAC Imaging Services

From the left: Rear-Admiral Art McDonald, the outgoing Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific and Command Joint Task Force (Pacific), Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, and Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie sign the Change of Command certificates with HMCS Calgary behind them on June 22. Photo by LS David Gariepy, MARPAC Imaging Services

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie assumed command of Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) in a Change of Command Ceremony involving two former shipmates in HMC Dockyard on June 22.

In a ceremony presided over by the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd,  Rear-Admiral Art McDonald had his Distinguishing Flag hauled down from the mast of HMCS Calgary that was docked alongside A-Jetty.

“Admiral Lloyd sir, I stand ready to be relieved,” declared a saluting RAdm McDonald as responsibility for MARPAC and Joint Task Force Pacific was passed to RAdm Bob Auchterlonie.

A gathering of approximately 250 attended the ceremony, including MARPAC senior leadership and their families, community leaders, and dignitaries that included the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, the Honourable Janet Austin.

RAdm McDonald and RAdm Auchterlonie have worked together on several occasions and have forged a strong friendship over the years, both men noted in their remarks.

“The RCN is a brotherhood and I spent three years with Art in Cabin No. 7 aboard Calgary,” said RAdm Auchterlonie to the crowd. “He is not only a great cabin mate but a great leader and will serve the RCN well as its new Deputy Commander.”

RAdm McDonald now moves on to Ottawa to become Deputy Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).

In his farewell address, RAdm McDonald took time to thank every unit within the formation by name. He made note of the wide-ranging success stories at MARPAC since he took the watch in June 2016. A few of those included the completion of the Halifax-Class Modernization project; the successful 197-day deployment of submarine HMCS Chicoutimi; Kingston-Class vessels and their crew’s role in Canada’s anti-drug smuggling mission Operation Caribbe; along with emergency forest fire and flood relief efforts in British Columbia over the past year.

“We all have much to celebrate and your success builds a better future. I am certainly proud of all of you and I bid you all a Bravo Zulu,” said RAdm McDonald.

He and VAdm Lloyd then gave their official welcome to the new MARPAC Commander who is also a familiar face.  RAdm Auchterlonie returns to Esquimalt after serving two years as Deputy Commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command. He previously served as Base Commander of CFB Esquimalt in 2012 and 2013 and Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific from 2013 to 2015.

As part of his leadership vision, RAdm Auchterlonie noted several keys for MARPAC’s continued success including continuing its strong presence in the Asia-Pacific region; being always ready to deploy as spelled out in Canada’s Defence Policy entitled Strong, Secure, Engaged; and his vision of “People first, mission always,” emphasizing the importance of the people of the RCN and their families.

The Change of Command concluded with the signing of official certificates.

“It is now my job to maintain this level of excellence for the Royal Canadian Navy and it is a job I am proud to do,” said RAdm Auchterlonie. “Vice-Admiral Lloyd, Sir, I have the watch.”

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