For the first time in nearly 25 years, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) will commission a new warship. Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Harry DeWolf will enter active service following a commissioning ceremony in Halifax on June 26. The ship is the first of six Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) set to be delivered to the Navy over the coming years, bringing with it new capabilities and a renewed focus on operations in the Arctic region. It’s the RCN’s first ice-capable vessel since the former HMCS Labrador was transferred away from DND in 1958 — a move signed off on by Vice-Admiral Harry DeWolf himself.
Sailors have already gotten to know the new platform and proven its ability to operate in different environments, but that doesn’t take away from the significance of the formal commissioning and the tradition tied to the ceremony. Cdr Gleason will be joined at the ceremony by senior CAF and RCN leadership, representatives from Irving Shipbuilding, and The Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, who will present Cdr Gleason with HMCS Harry DeWolf’s commissioning pennant. With the pennant broken at the masthead, the commanding officer will be piped aboard the ship, followed by the traditional three cheers from the crew.
The commissioning of Harry DeWolf will mark the end of a high-tempo program of post-acceptance sea trials for Cdr Gleason and his sailors, all while navigating Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and breaking new ground in developing protocols for completing their duties while staying safe. While excitement is high for an upcoming deployment, first on the agenda is some well-deserved leave. Planned maintenance will take place over the coming weeks, while the crew enjoys the early part of summer at home with their families before returning in August to prepare for the circumnavigation of North America and participation in Canada’s signature annual Arctic operation, Op Nanook.
HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPV 430) is the lead ship of its class of offshore patrol vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). The class was derived from the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship project as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy and is primarily designed for the patrol and support of Canada’s Arctic regions. Named after Vice Admiral Harry DeWolf, a former head of the RCN, the vessel was ordered in 2011, laid down in 2016 and launched in 2018. The vessel completed contractors sea trials in July 2020, was delivered to the RCN on 31 July 2020 and began post-acceptance sea trials.