The Command Team

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy
Vice-Admiral Art Mcdonald

Art Mcdonald

Biography

A Bluenoser born in New Waterford, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in 1967, Vice-Admiral Art McDonald became Chief of the Naval Staff and assumed command of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) 12 June 2019, becoming the thirty-sixth CRCN in the RCN’s 109 years. Prior to his appointment as CRCN, VAdm McDonald commanded at the ship (HMCS Halifax 2007-2009), Operations Group / Fleet (Maritime Operations Group Five 2010-2011), and Formation (Maritime Forces Pacific and Joint Task Force Pacific 2016-2018) levels.

After completing basic Naval Warfare Officer training and then becoming an Above Water Warfare specialist in the early nineties, he spent most of the next two-decades as a sea-going officer while serving in HMC Ships Vancouver, Halifax, Montreal, and Calgary, with the Canadian Fleet Pacific staff, as Executive Officer in Regina 2003-2005, and as Commanding Officer in Halifax 2007-2009. In so doing, he deployed repeatedly – including three Arabian Gulf and one Adriatic Sea tours – and also circumnavigated the globe (Calgary, 1995). As a Capt(N), he was the Maritime Component Commander of Canadian Joint Task Force (Haiti), leading sea-based humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He then commanded a seven-ship combined, multi-national Task Group in the High Arctic later in 2010 during the annual Op NANOOK. Later, as a RAdm, he also led the CAF’s recurring Op LENTUS responses to historic fires and floods in BC while commanding Joint Task Force Pacific 2016-2018.

As a staff officer, VAdm McDonald served four tours on the Naval Staff in National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. In addition to service as Deputy Commander RCN 2018-2019, he was Director General Naval Force Development (DGNFD) 2013-2016, Director Naval Requirements (DNR) 2012-2013, and Executive Secretary to the Chief of the Maritime Staff 2005-2007.

A 1990 graduate of the Royal Military College (RMC) of Canada who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Military and Strategic Studies and a Masters of Defence Studies, VAdm McDonald is also a graduate of the 2003 Canadian Forces College (CFC) Command and Staff Course, the 2012 CFC National Security Studies Programme, and the 2014 US GOFO Capstone Program. A 2016 alumnus of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies, he is also a graduate of the Senior Executives in National and International Security program at Harvard University (2017).


Commander Maritime Forces Pacific
Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie

Biography

Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie was born in Cumberland, British Columbia in 1969. He entered the Canadian Forces in 1987 as an ROTP cadet and graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) Kingston, in 1991, with a BA in Economics and as Captain of the Varsity Hockey Team.

RAdm Auchterlonie completed his Maritime Surface Classification training in 1992 and was fortunate to spend the bulk of the next two decades at sea in Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship’s in both the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets. Rear-Admiral Auchterlonie had the honour to Command HMCS FREDERICTON (2007-2009), CFB Esquimalt (2012-2013) and the Canadian Pacific Fleet (2013-2015).

RAdm Auchterlonie has served 3 tours in NDHQ, namely as a Staff Officer within the Naval Staff, as Director within VCDS Chief of Programme and as Director General within the Strategic Joint Staff. He was promoted to his current rank and assumed his appointment as Deputy Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command in the summer of 2016.

He is a graduate of the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College, the Naval Command College at the US Naval War College and has completed a Masters Degree in Defence Studies (MDS) at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) Kingston. He was invested as an Officer of the Order of Military Merit in 2013.

RAdm Auchterlonie is still married to his very supportive and understanding first wife and they have managed to raise two well-travelled, reasonably adjusted and exceptionally fit young men. Bob used to golf, play hockey and spend time on his boat.

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Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific
Commodore Angus Topshee

Biography

Commodore Angus Topshee was born in Nepean, Ontario and joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1990. His first four years were spent attending university at the Royal Military College of Canada 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, Cmdre Topshee finally started formal MARS training in 1996 and then joined his first 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, Cmdre Topshee was posted to the Directorate of Maritime Strategy at National Defence Headquarters 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, Cmdre 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 Cmdre 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 to his current rank and being 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 AFB, Colorado.

In July 2018, Cmdre Topshee will take command of Canadian Fleet Pacific and is very much looking forward to returning to the west coast of Canada in a sea-going position.

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

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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.

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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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Fleet Chief Pacific
CPO1 Sylvain Jaquemot, MMM, MSM, CD

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Biography

Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Jaquemot enrolled in the CAF in the fall of 1987 and completed basic training in St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec in early 1988. He joined as a Naval Electronic Sensor Operator (NESOP) and has served the great majority of his career in Esquimalt, BC.

During the first part of his career, CPO1 Jaquemot progressed through the ranks as a NESOP aboard HMCS Qu’Appelle, HMCS Mcakenzie, HMCS Kootenay, HMCS Algonquin, and HMCS Ottawa (Commissioning Crew), and finally as Above Water Warfare Director on HMCS Winnipeg from 2003 to 2006.

CPO1 Jaquemot deployed on Operation Forward Action (Haiti) in 1994, Operation Apollo (CTF 150) in 2002 and Operation Altair (CTF 150) in 2005.

In 2008, he joined the Canadian Fleet Pacific F3 OPS Staff, as Chief NESOP. During his time in Fleet Staff, he participated in multiple national exercise such as Trident Fury and international exercises including RIMPAC ‘08 onboard USS Kitty Hawk (last voyage) and as part of the Maritime Component Commander Battle Watch for Operation Podium in 2010.

In 2012, he was posted to the VCDS group in Ottawa in the Director General of Capability and Structure Integration (DG CSI) as a Strategic Capability Analyst for joint capability projects, involving Space, CBRNE and other joint projects. During this time, he also participated in JOINTEX ’13 in Kingston, ON, as the staff officer for CFWC/J6 lessons learned.

In 2014, he was posted back on the west coast as the Primary Leadership Qualification – Chief Instructor in the Leadership Division of Naval Fleet School – Pacific.

Promoted to his current rank in 2015, he remained at NFS(P) overseeing the NCM PD for the west coast for the Junior-Intermediate-Advance Environmental Leadership Programs.

In 2016, he was appointed as Coxswain of HMCS Winnipeg. During his time as Coxswain, CPO1 Jaquemot deployed to the Indo-Asia Pacific region for Operation Poseidon Cutlass.

CPO1 Jaquemot is a graduate of the Keystone program for United States Military Senior Enlisted Leaders and other selected members from the Five Eyes community with emphasis on Joint Strategic Command.

CPO1 Jaquemot was appointed to his current position as the Canadian Fleet Pacific – Fleet Chief in May 2018.

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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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