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A symbol of Canadian and U.S. cooperation and power is currently in the waters off the coast of Vancouver Island.
Until December 13th the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force, U.S. Navy aircraft and U.S Coast Guard are participating in Trident Fury 20 — a joint and multinational naval exercise.
“[HMCS] Nanaimo and Whitehorse are doing mine countermeasure straining,” said Cmdre Angus Topshee of Canadian Fleet Pacific.
“Regina and Calgary we are out off the west coast of Vancouver Island advanced warfare scenarios.”
The training has been taking place since the early 2000s, for air and sea tactical warfare training,
What is learned at Trident can help the Canadian Forces better respond to potential offshore threats and unlawful acts.
But with COVID-19 what is usually a multi-nation event has only us and our closest ally.
“Of the sailors went through a pre-sail quarantine before going out on ships, and were tested for COVID,” said Topshee
“We keep the ships in total isolation… normally when we are operating with an American ship we would want to exchange a few sailors to see how each other operates, but we will not.”
For the first time, a sailor is writing about what everyday looks and feels like onboard.
“I’ve written homes, to friends and family on a variety of deployments,” said MS Grant MacDonald, from onboard HMCS Regina.
The updates are a way for those in uniform to connect with the community back onshore.
“We are a little bit invisible in Victoria as a military, because most of us commute in civilian clothes, I don’t get many questions,” he said.
But when MacDonald is in uniform he says he gets a lot and hopes this helps answer some.
But it’s not easy to serve during the pandemic, he was part of Operation Lazer which as a response to the pandemic sent sailors to sea to isolate and remain ready for several weeks.
After he returned, he and others did not know what would happen next.
“You might go to Hawaii for six weeks or the Baltic for five months,” said MacDonald.
But MacDonald says he is proud to serve and enjoys not knowing what happens next.
“If you embrace uncertainty as an opportunity, it’s a fantastic environment to work in.”
This weekend you may be able to catch a glimpse of them coming into Esquimalt to refuel and re-arm before heading back out.