The Command Team

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy
Vice-Admiral Craig Baines

Craig Baines

Biography

Vice-Admiral Baines’ career in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has been a combination of sea-going appointments and staff officer positions throughout his 33 years of service. He started his career as bridge watch-keeping officer in Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Saguenay, specializing in navigation and naval warfare en route to an appointment as Commanding Officer of HMCS Winnipeg in 2007. He held the appointment of Base Commander of Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt between July 2010 and July 2012. After serving as the Commander of Canadian Fleet Atlantic between 2014 and 2017, he was promoted Rear-Admiral and appointed Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic. In July 2020, he became the Deputy Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff.

Vice-Admiral Baines graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. While on exchange in Norfolk shortly following his warfare tours, he completed the US Naval War College program and a graduate certificate program in the history of strategy and policy at Old Dominion University. Upon returning to Canada in 2003, he attended the Canadian Forces Staff College in Toronto where he completed his Master of Defence Studies. In 2013, he completed the National Security Program in Toronto and a Master of Public Administration. In 2018, he completed the Senior Executives in National and International Security program with the Harvard Kennedy School.

Vice-Admiral Baines received the Meritorious Service Cross for his leadership as Commanding Officer of HMCS Winnipeg during Winnipeg’s counter-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa in 2009. In 2019 he was presented with the Degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) from the University of Manitoba.


Commander Maritime Forces Pacific
Rear-Admiral Angus Topshee

Biography

Rear-Admiral (RAdm) Angus Topshee was born in Nepean, Ontario and joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1990. His first four years were spent at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) and included a six-month term on exchange at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Upon graduation from RMC in 1994, he was awarded the Canada Memorial Scholarship and, in 1996, earned a Masters of Literature in Strategic Studies from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

After six years of schooling and a short posting to the Directorate of Maritime Force Development at National Defence Headquarters, RAdm Topshee finally started formal MARS training in 1996 and then joined his first ship, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg, in 1997. He was incredibly fortunate to spend the next nine years largely at sea and completed a succession of very rewarding tours and operational deployments as a Navigating Officer, Operations Officer, and Combat Officer on Canada’s Pacific coast.

In 2005, he was selected to attend the “NSC 10” course at the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. That fantastic year was followed by appointment as the Executive Officer of HMCS St. John’s in 2006 and then HMCS Toronto in July 2007. As penance for two exciting years at sea as an XO, RAdm Topshee was posted to the Directorate of Maritime Strategy at NDHQ in Ottawa where he was assigned to assist in developing a new strategy for the Royal Canadian Navy.

In July 2009, he was delighted to be given the best job in the Navy – command of HMCS Algonquin, the flagship of Canada’s Pacific Fleet. His time aboard Algonquin was easily the highlight of his career and included high readiness workups, Op PODIUM (security for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics), and Op PACIFIC AMISTAD (a five-month deployment in the central and western Pacific). He very reluctantly turned over command at the end of 2010 and was somewhat surprised to find himself immediately heading to Afghanistan as part of the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A) where he spent a year based in Kabul as the Director of Afghan National Police Training Operations. Upon his return from Afghanistan, RAdm Topshee spent six months working with the Canadian Fleet Pacific staff leading up to his role as the Director of Operations for RIMPAC 2012.

In the summer of 2012 RAdm Topshee was honoured to assume command of Canadian Forces Base Halifax, a position he held for three years. He then attended the National Security Programme (NSP 8) at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto before being promoted and assigned as the Deputy Director of the Strategy, Policy and Plans Directorate North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. In July 2018, RAdm Topshee returned to the West Coast to take command of Canadian Fleet Pacific (the second best job in the Navy).

In April 2021, RAdm Topshee was promoted to his current rank, and in May 2021 assumed command of Maritime Forces Pacific and Joint Task Force Pacific.

RAdm Topshee is blessed with a fantastically supportive wife and four tremendous daughters.

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Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific
Commodore D.E. Mazur, OMM, CD

Biography

A native of Kitchener Ontario, Cmdre Mazur enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces on completion of High School, completing his Basic Officer Training in Chilliwack, BC in December 1988.

Following training ashore and at sea, Cmdre Mazur went on to specialize in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), in HMC Ships Skeena and Gatineau.

After instructing ashore, and fulfilling various sea going positions, Cmdre Mazur was posted to the West Coast to join HMCS Regina as the Operations Officer for a deployment to the Middle East. Successfully challenging his Command Board during this period, Cmdre Mazur was employed in the Pacific Coast Fleet Staff, before returning to sea in 2006 as the Executive Officer in HMCS Vancouver.

In 2007, he was promoted to Commander, and after a short period in MARPAC HQ, he was posted to Canberra Australia to attend the Australian Command and Staff College, where he also completed a Master of Maritime Studies from the University of Wollongong.  Upon graduation, he and his family were posted to Ottawa where he served as the Senior Staff Officer Maritime in the Canadian Special Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) Headquarters.

Cmdre Mazur returned to the Navy fold in January 2012 and assumed Command of HMCS Vancouver. After a short but intense 18 months of sailing, he relinquished Command of the ship and assumed Command of Sea Training Pacific. In May 2015, Cmdre Mazur assumed the duties of N3/J3 in MARPAC/JTF(P). In September 2016, Cmdre Mazur was posted to Ottawa as the Director Strategic Plans within the Strategic Joint Staff. In 2018, Cmdre Mazur was posted to Halifax, where he spent the next two years as the commander of Canada’s largest Base.

Most recently, Cmdre Mazur graduated the year-long National Security Programme designed to prepare selected military, public service, international and private-sector leaders for future leadership responsibilities.

Promoted on completion of the NSP course in June 2021, and supported by his wife and two sons, Commodore Mazur will assume Command of Canada’s Pacific Fleet based in Esquimalt.

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CFB Esquimalt Base Commander
Captain (Navy) J. Jeffrey Hutchinson, MSM, CD

2015-Website-design-3_21The Commander, Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt is the institutional head of the Pacific Naval Base in Esquimalt, British Columbia.

Biography

Captain(N) Jon Jeffrey (Jeff) Hutchinson, a native of Middle Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia, joined the Canadian Armed Forces in June 1991 and immediately underwent Basic Officer Training in Chilliwack, BC. He thereafter completed two years at Royal Roads Military College in Victoria, BC and finished his undergraduate education at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, ON in 1995, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in History.

After completing basic naval officer training at NOTC VENTURE, Captain(N) Hutchinson transferred to the east coast and earned his Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate in HMCS Montreal in 1997. Thereafter he received his Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer’s and then his Fleet Navigating Officer’s qualifications and served in both instances in HMCS Halifax. In 2000, Captain(N) Hutchinson went ashore to serve as a Squadron Commander at the Royal Military College of Canada. In 2003, he returned to HMCS Halifax to serve as Deck Officer. He received his Operations Room Officer’s qualification in 2006 and transferred to the west coast where he served first as Weapons and then Combat Officer in HMCS Vancouver and as Operations Officer for Sea Training Pacific. Captain(N) Hutchinson was appointed Executive Officer in HMCS Calgary from July 2011 to October 2012 and in HMCS Algonquin to June 2013. He was appointed Commanding Officer of HMCS Winnipeg in January 2016 and deployed in company with HMCS Ottawa to the Indo-Asia Pacific region in 2017 where the ship conducted exercises and operations with the USN, JMSDF, RAN, the Armada de Chile and ROKN, and PASSEXs with the navies of India and Sri Lanka.

He is a graduate of the Joint Command and Staff Program at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, graduating in 2011 with a Masters in Defense Studies. Captain(N) Hutchinson completed his Senior Military Education as part of the Naval Command College at the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

Captain(N) Hutchinson has worked in a staff capacity for the Director Defence Programme Coordination and most recently as Director Naval Strategic Management at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, ON.

He is married to his beautiful and talented wife, Jin. They reside together in Esquimalt, BC with their two daughters, Hayden and Scarlett.

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RCN Command Chief
Chief Petty Officer First Class D.H. Steeves, CD

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Biography

Chief Petty Officer 1st Class (CPO1) David Steeves enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces March 28, 1989.

His first unit was HMCS Skeena in January 1990, where he sailed for two NATO deployments (’90, ‘92), and served until her decommissioning in November 1993.

In December 1993, he was posted to HMCS Nipigon, until she was paid off during the summer of 1998.

CPO1 David Steeves was posted to HMCS Athabaskan in 1998 where he again sailed for two NATO deployments (’99, ’00), including a tour in the Adriatic.

Promoted to Petty Officer 1st Class in 2001 and newly trade qualified QL6B, he served 11 months in CFNOS Acoustic Standards prior to being posted to HMCS Charlottetown. Following his tour at sea, he was posted to CFNOS Tactics and Team Training as IC Underwater Warfare. In April 2005, upon getting promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer Second Class, he served in Regional Joint Operations Centre Atlantic (RJOC (A)) prior to another tour at sea on board HMCS Iroquois (Gulf Deployment ’08).

His final position as a CPO2 was as Senior Staff Officer Underwater Warfare at MARLANT N-34/Operational Readiness.

CPO1 David Steeves was promoted to his current rank in April 2011. He attended the NCM Executive Professional Development Program for a year of academics at Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, before challenging the Executive Level French Course in Shearwater, Nova Scotia. He was appointed as Coxswain of HMCS Athabaskan in May 2013. In January, 2015 he was posted as Unit Chief in Trinity.

In April 2015, he was posted to AJAG (A) as the chief for the four Atlantic Provinces. On June 22 2017, CPO1 David Steeves became Base Chief Petty Officer of CFB Halifax.

On May 31, 2018, Chief Petty Officer Steeves assumed the duties as MARPAC Formation CPO1.

Finally, on May 22, 2019, he was posted to Ottawa as the Command Chief Petty Officer of the RCN.

CPO1 David Steeves is happily married to his spouse, who is a CPO2 Financial Services Admin. His two children are in school in Nova Scotia, while her son is in the Canadian Army awaiting training in New Brunswick. They both look forward to being close to family in the Maritimes where they can once again load up the camper trailer and chase local Blues Fests.

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Formation Chief Petty Officer, Maritime Forces Pacific
Chief Petty Officer First Class Tim Blonde, CD

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Biography

CPO1 Tim Blonde grew-up in Woodstock, Ontario, and in June 1991, he joined the Navy as a Marine Engineer Technician.  

After completing recruit training, he spent his first three years in the Navy attending St. Lawrence College in Cornwall, Ontario, under the Marine Engineering Technologist Training Program (METTP).

In 1994, after successfully completing METTP and having obtained his Marine Engineering Technologist Diploma, he was posted to CFB Halifax in order to complete the hand-skills phase of the METTP Program.  

In December 1994, he was posted to the Esquimalt area where he would spend the next five years sailing on HMCS Kootenay and HMCS Huron, and working in Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton.

In May 2000, Tim was posted to HMCS Cataraqui in Kingston, Ontario, as support staff to the Naval Reserve unit.  After spending four years there and being promoted to PO1, he returned to the west coast and was posted to HMCS Algonquin.  

In 2007, CPO1 Blonde was posted to Ottawa, Ontario, and spent the next four years with DPGR and one year with DGMEPM.

Tim returned to the west coast once more as a CPO2 and was posted to HMCS Calgary as the Chief Engineer, where he brought the first post-Halifax Class Modernization Integrated Platform Management System ship out of refit and into operation.  

He was promoted in October 2013 to his current rank and subsequently posted to Director New Capability Introduction.  After attending a year-long French course in Victoria, BC, he was appointed as Coxswain of HMCS Vancouver in July 2016, where he deployed to the South China Sea.  

In June 2018, he was appointed as the Canadian Fleet Atlantic Chief Petty Officer in Halifax, NS, and in May 2019, he was appointed into his current position as Maritime Forces Pacific, Formation Chief Petty Officer.

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CFB Esquimalt Base Chief Petty Officer
CPO1 A.H. Darragh, CD

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Biography

CPO1 Alden ‘Al’ Darragh grew up in Calgary, Alberta and joined the Royal Canadian Navy in June 1988, as a Marine Engineering Mechanic. On completion of Basic Training in Cornwallis, NS, he was posted to the Marine Engineering Technician Training Plan (METTP) in Cornwall, Ont., to complete a Diploma in Marine Engineering. During his training he sailed on his first ship HMCS Fraser and completed his AMOC. He then completed the TQ5 portion of the course in Halifax and was posted to the west coast.

CPO1 Darragh spend time on steamers completing a Certificate 2A serving on both HMCS Kootenay and Restigouche. He then switched over to the IRO Class destroyers including; HMCS Huron (x2), Athabaskan and Algonquin (x2) completing a Cert 2D, 3D and Cert 4. He served as the Chief Engine Room Artificer (CERA) onboard HMCS Algonquin 2007-2010. During his time at sea he completed several named operations and university courses transforming his love of Canadian history into a Baccalaureate of Arts. The time between sea postings was spent at Canadian Forces Fleet School Esquimalt – MSE Div (x2) and Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton (x2).

In 2012 CPO1 Darragh was promoted to his current rank and posted to DNR 7 in Ottawa, working on the requirements team for the Canadian Surface Combatant. Returning to Victoria from Ottawa for second language training in 2015. On completion he was appointed as Coxswain of HMCS Ottawa. A very challenging tour as Coxswain ended with a deployment to Indo-Asia Pacific. He was posted to his current position as AJAG Pacific Regional CPO1 in 2017.

CPO1 Darragh lives in Langford, B.C. with his wife Tamara. He enjoys spending time with the family which continues to grow with addition of new grand-children.

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