Saskatoon native tackles Caribbe

Photo by PA Officer, Op CARIBBE LCdr Jason Bergen, the Executive Officer of HMCS Saskatoon, stands on the bridge during Operation Caribbe.

Photo by PA Officer, Op CARIBBE
LCdr Jason Bergen, the Executive Officer of HMCS Saskatoon, stands on the bridge during Operation Caribbe.

Lt(N) Linda Coleman, HMCS Saskatoon PAO ~

A Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Canadian Navy from Saskatchewan is second-in-command of a ship named after his hometown.

LCdr Jason Bergen, a proud native of Saskatoon and graduate of Walter Murray Collegiate Institute, is the Executive Officer of HMCS Saskatoon. The ship and its crew are currently on Operation Caribbe in the eastern Pacific Ocean, conducting maritime interdiction operations to counter illicit trafficking.

“I am honoured by the opportunity to represent HMCS Saskatoon and my country as we work with our allies countering transnational crime,” says LCdr Bergen.

Growing up in Saskatoon, a career in the navy was not necessarily a childhood dream, but the influence of a friend.

“A friend of mine joined the Canadian Armed Forces and went to Chilliwack, B.C., for basic training. Hearing her stories piqued my interest and I wanted to do something adventurous while still making money for my university tuition.
The first time I flew on a plane was when I went to Saint-Jean, Que., for my own basic training.”

That first flight was just the beginning of a career that would end up taking him all over the world.

LCdr Bergen joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1997 through his Naval Reserve unit in Saskatoon, HMCS Unicorn. While working part-time with the Reserves, he graduated from the University of Saskatchewan.

“Working at HMCS Unicorn while attending university kept me engaged, and I felt like I had accomplished something significant in my life while earning money for school,” he says.

After university, he decided to stay in the Reserves as a Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface (MARS) Officer, which would take him to Victoria, home of Maritime Forces Pacific.

Since then, LCdr Bergen has been busy holding various positions within the navy’s fleet of Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels, such as Navigation Officer of HMCS Brandon, Operations Officer of HMCS Whitehorse, Executive Officer of HMCS Yellowknife and HMCS Edmonton, and now the Executive Officer of Saskatoon.

He has deployed to the Arctic on Operation Nanook, provided support to the RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit at the 2010 Olympic Games during Operation Podium, and is currently on his second Operation Caribbe.
Despite his busy sailing career, LCdr Bergen always makes time to keep in touch with family and friends in Saskatoon.

“My parents and grandparents still live in Saskatoon, along with various uncles, aunts and cousins. I know I don’t get back to Saskatoon as much as my mom and dad would like me to, but both my parents understand the ship’s busy sailing schedule and they support me unconditionally.”

Even though LCdr Bergen hasn’t been back to his naval roots at HMCS Unicorn in a while, he makes sure to keep in touch. “I always try to keep up with what’s going on at my former unit and it’s wonderful to see my old friends and colleagues mature and become the strong senior leadership of Unicorn.”

LCdr Bergen, his wife (a Reserve Captain in the Health Service Reserve), and their two children have called Victoria home for the past 13 years. Rest assured, he and his family are still avid Saskatchewan Roughriders fans.

Following his tour as executive officer of Saskatoon, LCdr Bergen will be posted to Minor War Vessel Sea Training Pacific in Esquimalt, B.C.

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