U.S., Canadian coast guards celebrate partnership, ATON

CGC SPAR hosts CCG in Victoria

The award-winning food service specialists aboard the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR provide refreshments during an event held aboard the ship Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Victoria, Bristih Columbia. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Cutter SPAR.

A spirit of partnership and camaraderie was in the air at the 2012 Canadian coast guard professional development week in Victoria, British Columbia. In addition to four Canadian coast guard cutters, the event was attended by Coast Guard Cutter SPAR homeported in Kodiak, Alaska, the Coast Guard Cutter Anthony Petit homeported in Ketchikan, Alaska, and the Coast Guard Cutter Henry Blake homeported in Everett, Wash.

The professional development week had extra significance this year as it doubled as the 50th anniversary celebration of the Canadian coast guard. Lt. Cmdr. Michele Schallip, commanding officer of SPAR, was pleased to have her crew join their Canadian coast guard counterparts.

“SPAR’s attendance at Canadian coast guard professional development week and celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Canadian coast guard was an honor and a unique opportunity for us,” said Schallip. “The U.S. Coast Guard shares many similarities with our Canadian counterparts, but it is the differences in processes and systems where we have the most possibility to find ways to better our operations.”

Hosted by the Canadian coast guard Western Regional Operations Centre, the professional development week combined training, morale opportunities and networking to further enhance an already solid partnership.

SPAR hosts CCG in Victoria

Dessert is provided among an array of other foods during an event held aboard the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, for their Canadian counterparts during a weeklong professional exchange in Victoria, British Columbia. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Cutter SPAR.

The crew aboard SPAR hosted a reception on their buoy deck the first night of the event, setting the tone for a great week. The award winning culinary team aboard SPAR prepared a phenomenal spread of finger foods, desserts and drinks. The event provided an opportunity for the U.S. Coast Guard to repay the efforts of the Canadian coast guard ship Bartlett, who held a reception at the 2012 District 17 Buoy Tender Roundup in Juneau, Alaska, in July.

U.S. Coast Guard members had the privilege of attending the various training events that took place during the week, taking the opportunity to learn different practices utilized by the Canadian coast guard.

“The cross-training of similar roles such as search and rescue, aids to navigation and leadership was an excellent chance for our own Coast Guard members to look at their job from another angle,” said Schallip.

The keystone event of the week was the Red and White Ball, an event hosted by the leadership of the Western Operations Centre. Sending almost half the crew, SPAR took pride in representing the U.S. Coast Guard. SPAR’s crew socialized with their counterparts in an enjoyable setting and learned quite a bit about the distinguished history of the Canadian coast guard.

“The services of the Canadian coast guard extend well before its 1962 origin, when it was formalized into the service it is today and the men and women of the Canadian coast guard have a strong commitment to maintaining the safety and security of the Canadian waters,” said Schallip. “It was SPAR’s privilege to attend the Canadian coast guard Pacific commemoration on behalf of the Coast Guard 17th District.”

The opportunity to spend time with their Canadian coast guard shipmates and spend some quality liberty time in beautiful Victoria was a unique opportunity for the crew of SPAR. As the cutter sailed away, with Victoria at the stern, the most common sentiment heard aboard the ship was, “Let’s do it again next year!”

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