A U.S. Navy surface warfare officer returned to Naval Station Norfolk after deploying aboard the Royal Canadian Navy’s newest ship, December 9. Lt.j.g. Kyle Luchau, a division officer aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 80), volunteered to embark the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOPS 430) in August as a liaison officer and completed the ship’s maiden deployment, a circumnavigation of North America. Harry DeWolf transited the Northwest Passage, a sea route connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, as part of Operation Nanook, the Canadian Armed Forces’ signature Arctic operation, with the U.S. Coast Guard.
“Harry DeWolf is fully equipped to handle almost anything that the Arctic can throw at it during the navigable season. It is technologically advanced in every way. I have learned so much about how the Royal Canadian Navy operates in this area and its plans for this new class of ship. I earned my bridge watch keeping ticket and took my first watch as primary officer of the watch with charge in vicinity of the Aleutian Islands,” Luchau said. We saw many whales during the watch which required constant stopping and maneuvering in order to avoid them. The ship has become a home and the crew family to me,” Luchau said. “I wake up each day and am without words regarding the incredible journey that I was blessed to be on and the contribution that I am proudly making to future U.S. operations,” Luchau said.
Harry DeWolf continued its circumnavigation with a Panama Canal transit before its first operational tasking in support of Operation Caribbe, Canada’s contribution to U.S. Enhanced Counter-narcotics operations under U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATFS). An embarked U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment augmented the ship’s crew, leveraging the service’s unique capabilities and authorities to perform law enforcement operations in international waters. Their inclusion in the team aboard Harry DeWolf allowed several narcotics seizures and strengthened relationships with regional partners. Harry Dewolf’s patrol efforts contributed to the recent offload of approximately 26,250 pounds of cocaine and 3,700 pounds of marijuana worth about $504 million from the USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) in Port Everglades, Florida, on Nov. 22.
The goal of the deployment was to demonstrate the capabilities of the new vessel, promote interoperability, foster positive relationships with local communities, and establish a more resolute presence in the Northern Region. Rear Adm. Steve Waddell, vice commander of U.S. 2nd Fleet and an officer in the Royal Canadian Navy, coordinated the exchange opportunity. Luchau earned ship qualifications and took part in various Royal Canadian Navy traditions while embarked. U.S. 2nd Fleet, reestablished in 2018 in response to the changing global security environment, develops and employs maritime forces ready to fight across multiple domains in the Atlantic and Arctic in order to ensure access, deter aggression and defend U.S., allied, and partner interests.