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Features - Sea legs found in Pacific

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FLTLT Matthew Stuckless, of No. 92 Wing, served in the Canadian destroyer HMCS Algonquin.

FLTLT Matthew Stuckless

FLTLT Matthew Stuckless

I WAS the Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) subject matter expert on board HMCS Algonquin.

My duties included briefi ng the Commodore and staff on planned MPA fl ying and results, participating in planning conferences, advising on undersea warfare tactics and asset employment, liaising with the multinational force MPA Commander’s staff at Kaneohe Bay, liaising with the Combined Air Operations Centre at Pearl Harbour and working with the Surface Combat Centre battle watch staff and Algonquin’s air controllers on MPA employment matters.

I was employed in the Fleet Planning Offi ce (a closet with half a dozen computers in it) and the ship’s operations room.

Algonquin provided valuable insight into how a major event is run from the other side.

My biggest learning point was the extensive use of computer chat rooms for communications instead of traditional radio and message traffi c, and the challenges of making connectivity work with different nationalities and communication networks.

The exercise afforded a number of new experiences. One was watching a decommissioned US destroyer slip beneath the waves after being pounded by naval gun-fire.

Witnessing a multi-ship surface-to-air engagement against a low-fl ying drone was another. There were also negatives. Going without hot water for 36 hours followed by no water at all for another 12 hours tested everyone’s patience.

Though, overall, the experience was educational and provided unique opportunities. Throughout the exercise, the MPAs enjoyed a very high mission accomplishment rate.

The Commodore noted this and has thanked everyone in the Air Force who made the exercise a success.

 

 

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