Op Caribbe – Brandon, Whitehorse at-sea success

US coast guard vessel sails in front of Canadian MCDVs

HMC Ships Whitehorse (back left) and Brandon (back right) follow United States Coast Guard Cutter Stratton during a Joint Operations photo op.

Lt(N) Greg Menzies, MARPAC Public Affairs – When HMC Ships Brandon and Whitehorse reached their area of responsibility during Operation Caribbe, they were ready to work with partners and make a difference in the fight against illicit narcotics in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

During the long transit south, both ships conducted sea training that was necessary to familiarize every sailor about ship procedures, routines and emergency drills. This training confirmed the ships’ ability to conduct a wide range of operations at sea, and achieve the standard readiness needed on Operation Caribbe.

Operation Caribbe is Canada’s contribution to Operation Martillo, a U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South-led interagency and multinational effort among Western Hemisphere and European nations, designed to improve regional security and deter criminal activity.

“Weather and sea states during mission workups were rough, but despite this every member overcame adversity and persevered as they knew they had to complete their assigned duties,” said Lieutenant-Commander Landon Creasy, Brandon’s Commanding Officer. “Sailors on both ships were well trained and qualified in everything they did to prepare them for this deployment.”

The operation began as the ships left San Diego, California, with embarked United States Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) teams. The mission for Brandon and Whitehorse was to support the LEDET teams, who conduct the boarding and seizures of suspect vessels in accordance with bilateral agreements signed between the United States and Central American nations.

During the deployment, the ships also conducted two passenger exchanges (PASSEX) that were organized between Brandon, Whitehorse, the USCG, United States Navy (USN) and the Mexican Navy.

The Royal Canadian Navy has a long standing tradition of conducting PASSEXs with its allied partners. It allows members from each nation to visit other allied ships while in a theatre of operation. The PASSEX gives naval members the opportunity to familiarize themselves with other ships, receive mutual training, interact with crew members, and exchange information and ideas. These exchanges serve to strengthen relationships and forge new ones which contribute to operational effectiveness for current and future operations at home and abroad.

The recent successes and friendships made during this deployment can be attributed to one thing – teamwork. Keeping a minor war vessel fully operational at sea requires hard work, long hours, and determination from every department and member on board.  

“It takes teamwork to address challenges at sea,” said Petty Officer Second Class Luc Trudeau, an electrician onboard Brandon. “There is nothing more satisfying than operating in this type of environment knowing that teamwork keeps our ships mission capable.”

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