By Lt(N) Chris Walkinshaw and Lt(N) Janet Lang, Public Affairs Officers, HMCS Carleton and HMCS Cataraqui –
What did you do with your weekend? From 19-22 October 2018, more than 100 members of the Naval Reserve gathered in Kingston, Ontario to participate in Exercise RIDEAU GUARD 2018. This annual small boats exercise brought sailors from HMCS Carleton, Ottawa’s Naval Reserve Division and five other Naval Reserve divisions across Ontario to further their individual and collective training. As part of the Naval Reserve’s mandate to prepare sailors to serve onboard ships and support both domestic and international tasks assigned to the Royal Canadian Navy, the sailors honed their skills in seamanship, communication, navigation and command and control.
This year’s exercise scenario simulated the response to a request from the provincial government, where the Canadian Armed Forces were tasked to provide small boats capable of assisting in a domestic emergency response. Based out of HMCS Cataraqui, three mobile teams, each with three boats, vehicles and trailers, responded to scenarios based upon a flood situation in the greater Kingston area.
“Exercise RIDEAU GUARD 2018 was an excellent opportunity for citizen sailors to come together and practice their individual skills in a team environment. As members of the Royal Canadian Navy, we need to be prepared to respond to domestic operations in times of crisis, such as flooding and natural disasters across Canada”, said Lieutenant Commander Robert Brunner, Commanding Officer, HMCS Cataraqui and Officer in Tactical Command of Ex RIDEAU GUARD 2018.
In this year’s exercise scenario, the sailors provided nine small boat teams in response to significant flooding that had occurred throughout the greater Kingston area. Although the scenario was fictional, the Royal Canadian Navy has deployed personnel and equipment in support of domestic operations in multiple provinces in recent years. The waterways around Kingston were purposely chosen due to the variety of training opportunities that the local area provides.
“The members of HMCS Carleton have been contributing to the planning and execution of Exercise RIDEAU GUARD for over a decade, providing meaningful training that prepares our unit to participate in operations at home”, added Commander Sheyla Dussault, Commanding Officer of HMCS Carleton, Ottawa’s Naval Reserve division.
“About one-quarter of the participants came from Carleton alone, and several held leadership positions during the exercise. This demonstrates the exceptional commitment of our sailors who took time away from work, studies, and their family responsibilities to contribute to the success of the weekend.”
Photo: Ordinary Seaman Blake Newbold, HMCS Star
This post is also available in: Français (French)