New Formation Chief arrives in Esquimalt

Left to right: Outgoing Formation Chief, CPO1 Gilles Gregoire; Rear-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander Maritime Forces Pacific; and Incoming Formation Chief, CPO1 Dave Steeves, sign the certificates during a Change of Appointment ceremony at the Chiefs’ and Petty Officer’s Mess on May 31. Photo by Peter Mallett, Lookout

Left to right: Outgoing Formation Chief, CPO1 Gilles Gregoire; Rear-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander Maritime Forces Pacific; and Incoming Formation Chief, CPO1 Dave Steeves, sign the certificates during a Change of Appointment ceremony at the Chiefs’ and Petty Officer’s Mess on May 31. Photo by Peter Mallett, Lookout

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

A Change of Appointment ceremony last Thursday welcomed Chief Petty Officer First Class David Steeves to Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) as Esquimalt’s new Formation Chief.

In a formal acknowledgement of the changing of the chiefs, CPO1 Steeves signed his appointment certificate during the May 31 ceremony in front of a standing-room only crowd at the Chiefs’ and Petty Officers’ Mess.

CPO1 Steeves replaces CPO1 Gilles Gregoire, who is moving to Ottawa later this month to take his new post as Command Chief of Canadian Joint Operations Command.

In his farewell address CPO1 Gregoire thanked all sailors in the formation for their hard work throughout his tenure.

“You always go above and beyond expectations,” he said to them.

“I dislike goodbyes, as sailors we are used to them but it’s always a heartfelt moment,” he added. “These goodbyes never happen when you want, but they are also the start of new beginnings.”

CPO1 Gregoire, enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in November 1986 as a Naval Weapons Technician, and participated in multiple operational deployments aboard Canadian warships including Operations Forward Action, Sharpguard, Apollo, Unison and Reassurance.

He also found success as a training officer, eventually becoming a Naval Weapons Training Chief in Sea Training Atlantic, and Chief Petty Officer of the Chief of Force Development Organization, before his appointment to MARPAC Formation Chief in September 2016.

Rear-Admiral Art McDonald, Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific, presided over the ceremony and noted the important responsibilities of the Formation Chief, who is the senior most non-commissioned sailor.

They include strategic leadership, representing the needs and views of the non-commissioned sailors to leadership, and speaking to these same women and men and conveying the institutional view on issues.

New Brunswick is the home province of both CPO1 Steeves and CPO1 Gregoire, and before the ceremony an upbeat CPO1 Steeves joked that “this town wasn’t big enough for two New Brunswickers” and for CPO1 Gregoire to “leave me your parking spot and your post.”

CPO1 Steeves comes to Esquimalt after serving approximately one year as Base Chief at CFB Halifax. Prior to that he served two years as Chief of the Assistant Judge Advocate General (Atlantic). He served on multiple Canadian warships since enrolling in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1989, including HMCS Skeena, HMCS Nipigon, HMCS Athabaskan, HMCS Charlottetown and HMCS Iroquois. He says his nearly 30 years of experience in the RCN helped form his world view.

“My mantra has always been: It has not always been that way! Look for a way to change and improve things,” said CPO1 Steeves. “If you can leave the Canadian Armed Forces 0.1 per cent better than you found it than that is outstanding.”

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