By Lieutenant (Navy) Paul Pendergast
As Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Edmonton and Whitehorse returned to their home port of Esquimalt, B.C., in early May, the sight of family and friends cheering from the jetty as the ships approached brought a smile to the faces of crew members.
There was a palpable sense of pride in a job well done, and handshakes and congratulations from fleet staff for a successful Operation Caribbe. Since departing Esquimalt on February 16, the two ships seized and disrupted approximately 2,856 kg of cocaine while working with the U.S. Coast Guard and embedded Law Enforcement Detachments during the operation.
Whitehorse had one of the biggest busts so far in 2018 for Joint Interagency Task Force South, seizing approximately 1,520 kg on April 5.
“I am very proud of what the men and women of Whitehorse have accomplished on Operation Caribbe,” said Lieutenant-Commander Collin Forsberg, Commanding Officer of Whitehorse. “Their hard work and determination to succeed on this mission kept yet more illicit drugs from reaching North America.”
Edmonton had its own success on April 3, seizing approximately 461 kg of cocaine in international waters in the eastern Pacific off the coast of Central America.
“The efforts, professionalism and determination of the crews on our ships, and those of our U.S. allies, has led to yet another successful Operation Caribbe,” said LCdr Brian Henwood, Commanding Officer of Edmonton. “I extend my thanks to the men and women whose dedication to this mission, both at sea, in the air, and ashore has kept our streets safer due to their efforts.”
A successful mission is the cumulative result of months of planning and preparation, combined with a lot of hard work and long hours, and that includes everyone on board, from the command team to the newest junior sailor.
But there is something more required to stay motivated for the entire length of a long mission. “The adversity and sacrifice experienced by the crew leads to a feeling of family, because we are all in it together,” said LCdr Forsberg. “We started using the phrase ‘The Whitehorse Way’ to create a positive unit identity, and to encourage people to aim for a high standard in everything they do.”
The ships embarked extra personnel in San Diego and conducted force generation training during the transit home. This meant a busy schedule of seamanship and engineering drills to allow members to advance their training packages.
Both ships have full sailing schedules ahead during the summer and fall, and some crew members will be heading off on career courses or postings. But for now, the crews of Edmonton and Whitehorse are enjoying their well-deserved post-deployment leave by getting reacquainted with loved ones.
Courtesy of Lookout.