Special opportunities: deployments

Several cadets from 34 Chinook have had opportunities over the last few years to go on deployments. These are trips where the cadet spends a week or more on a trip experiencing new cultures and new situations, often on a ship ranging from Canadian Navy ships to tall sailing ships. These are truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, where cadets get a taste of possible career pathways, build skills and knowledge applicable in a variety of settings, and also make friends from around the world.

Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Mitchell McCormick has been particularly lucky over the last year, having been selected in spring of 2019 to go on a tall ship deployment with SALTS. He spent 5 days on the tall ship the Pacific Grace. During that time they sailed the Haro Strait, through Colbourne Pass, visited Russell Islands, and ended up in Victoria, British Columbia. He was one of 29 cadets who had come from all over Canada for this trip. He learned all sorts of skills, from dishwashing to raising and lowering the sails and anchor, as well as some new knots. And for anyone who knows Chief McCormick, the fact that there was a knot he didn’t know is pretty amazing! His advice to other cadets going on deployments is “be out-going, make new friends, and pay attention.”

But that wasn’t Mitchell’s only adventure this year. As I write this article Chief McCormick is sailing through the arctic on the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis St-Laurent. He was selected for a 6 week summer deployment on the CCGS Louis St-Laurent, along with 5 other cadets. During his 6 weeks he’ll learn about the mission of the Canadian Coast Guard and get a taste of what it would be like to serve as a crew member. And as well, he’ll get paid for his summer work. This is important for our senior cadets, as they are beginning to think about their post-secondary educational options, and save up for this! You can read and see more of Chief McCormick’s coast guard adventure on our facebook page.

Chief McCormick isn’t the only cadet to be so lucky. Two other Chiefs from 34 Chinook have also gone on deployments in the last year. In 2018 CPO1 Rice spent a week on the HMCS Calgary, sailing out of Victoria, BC. Unfortunately the seas were very rough that week and some of the sail activities were cut short, but there was still plenty of time for them to learn about the duties of the crew and take part in some exercises.

CPO2 Anderson was also given the opportunity of a lifetime: to sail on the Training Ship Royalist from the UK to France. Not only did she learn sailing skills and leadership skills, she also got a taste of the history and culture of Europe. You can see more of her adventures on the TS Royalist – Canada facebook page.

In addition to these exciting adventures in the last year, previous cadets have gone on trips to Hong Kong and various other countries — the opportunities are endless.

How do cadets get selected, you may ask? Cadets must be at an advanced level in their cadet training (generally Phase 4 or higher), as well as demonstrating an appropriate level of maturity. Generally a cadet must be in the program for a few years in order to be selected for a deployment. Recommendations are made by the Commanding Officer, so cadets should work hard at their training, try to demonstrate good citizenship, and make an attempt to do their best in order to earn a good recommendation.

Good luck, and bon voyage!