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.

[ Return To Top ]


Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific
Captain (Navy) P.S. Robinson

Biography

Captain (Navy) (Capt(N)) Scott Robinson was born in Middleton, Nova Scotia. He enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1998 and attended the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston Ontario, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history. As a bridge watchkeeper he sailed in HMC Ships (HMCS) Ville de QuebecMontreal and Toronto and deployed to the Arabian Sea as part of Operation (op) APOLLO in 2002 onboard HMCS Fredericton

He specialized in anti-submarine warfare and was posted to HMCS Montreal. Upon completion of his director tour, he was posted to the Canadian Forces Naval Operations School (CFNOS) and instructed oceanography prior to attending the year-long Operations Room Officer Course. He was then posted to HMCS Toronto as the Weapons Officer and Combat Officer, sailing on Op CARIBBE and Op NANOOK. Capt(N) Robinson was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander in 2010 and was then posted back to CFNOS as the senior tactics officer. While at CFNOS he deployed onboard the Turkish warships GOCKEADA and GANZIATEP as the N5- Future Operations Planner as part the counter-piracy Task Force 151 in the Somali Basin. He obtained his Major Warship Command Qualification in 2011.

Capt(N) Robinson attended the Joint Command and Staff Programme at the Canadian Force College in Toronto in 2012 graduating with a Masters in Defence Studies and was then posted to HMCS Halifax as the Executive Officer for two years. He was briefly posted to Sea Training (Atlantic) as the Executive Officer prior to moving to Ottawa to be the Executive Secretary to the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy for two years. Capt(N) Robinson was appointed as the Commanding Officer of HMCS Ville de Quebec in July 2017 and deployed on Op REASSURANCE as part of SNMG-2, which included the first operational deployment of the CH-148 Cyclone. He was promoted to his current rank in July 2019.

During his free time, Capt(N) Robinson enjoys visiting his rather large Annapolis Valley family and camping with his wife, a fellow Naval Officer, and his son and daughter.

[ Return To Top ]


CFB Esquimalt Base Commander
Captain (Navy) Sam Sader, 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) Sam Sader enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in 1996 and graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada with a Bachelor degree of Business Administration in 2000. The opportunity to discover operational sustainment at sea came aboard HMCS Vancouver where he completed the Logistics Head of Department training and Sea-Logistics qualification from 2002-2003.   

His most cherished sea time was serving from 2005 to 2007 as the Head of the Logistics Department in HMCS Ottawa while deployed on OP ALTAIR Task Force Arabian Sea. Operational highlights included leading the Forward Logistics Site Team and being seconded to the Naval Boarding Team. He held the shore Branch Head position of Base Comptroller at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt following the completion of his MBA in 2011. 

His second operational tour from 2012-2014 was spent as the Logistics Officer of Maritime Operations Group Four enabling OP CARRIBE deployments and participating in RIMPAC in support of HMCS Victoria’s first operational deployment and MK48 SINKEX. 

Captain (N) Sader is a graduate of the Joint Command and Staff Programme 41 and was the recipient of the General Morelos Sabre of Honour award for top graduate. On completion of a Master of Defence Studies at Canadian Forces College Toronto in 2015, he joined the National Defense Headquarters Naval Staff as section head within the Directorate of Naval Logistics. While in Ottawa, he assumed the role of Royal Canadian Navy lead for strategic supply chain analytics and developed a passion for modernizing the Navy’s supply systems. 

In July 2017, he was thrilled to be back to the beloved West Coast as the Commanding Officer of Base Logistics Esquimalt where he could support deploying ships while implementing Logistics strategic initiatives and digital transformation. He was promoted to the rank of Captain (N) in June 2019, and subsequently assumed his current role as Base Commander, Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt.

Captain (N) Sam Sader is grateful for the boundless support from his wife Irena and together they enjoy spending time with family, traveling, and actively supporting community cultural events.

[ Return To Top ]


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

2015-Website-design-3_21

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.

[ Return To Top ]


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

2015-Website-design-3_21

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.

[ Return To Top ]


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

2015-Website-design-3_21

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.

[ Return To Top ]

Leave a Reply




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.