Gateway Gazette

Commander RCN “Rowed Ashore” in Change of Command Ceremony

By Darlene Blakeley

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman is rowed ashore by members of the naval staff following the Royal Canadian Navy change of command ceremony at HMCS Carleton on June 23, 2016.
Vice-Admiral Mark Norman is rowed ashore by members of the naval staff following the Royal Canadian Navy change of command ceremony at HMCS Carleton on June 23, 2016.

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman was “rowed ashore” by senior naval officers as he relinquished command of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) on June 23, 2016 at Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Carleton, home of Ottawa’s Naval Reserve Division, along the shore of Dow’s Lake.

In a 27-foot whaler borrowed from HMCS Ontario Cadet Training Centre in Kingston, Ont., VAdm Norman was afforded the customary courtesy extended to commanding officers leaving their ships (or shore establishments) for the last time. It was a fitting tribute to three years of service as Commander RCN.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my three years in command of Canada’s navy,” VAdm Norman said. “During this time, we set an aggressive agenda to fundamentally reorient, reengineer, restructure and revitalize the RCN. Many of the headlines focused on modernizing our existing ships and preparing for the future fleet. However, at the end of the day, for me, it’s all about people. We’ve had the opportunity to modernize our culture, to reaffirm what ‘right looks like’ and to truly become ‘One Navy’, no longer defined by geography, rank, occupation or class of ship. Regular Force, Reserve Force and civilian, inside and outside the guardrails, we are now all pulling on the oars together.”

VAdm Norman has been appointed Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff and will remain in Ottawa.

General Jonathan Vance (centre), Chief of the Defence Staff, presides over the Royal Canadian Navy change of command ceremony, as Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd (right) assumes command from Vice-Admiral Mark Norman (left) at HMCS Carleton on June 23, 2016
General Jonathan Vance (centre), Chief of the Defence Staff, presides over the Royal Canadian Navy change of command ceremony, as Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd (right) assumes command from Vice-Admiral Mark Norman (left) at HMCS Carleton on June 23, 2016

Taking over as the new Commander RCN is Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd. He is the 35th Commander of the RCN and has served in a variety of command and staff roles throughout his career, most recently as Deputy Commander RCN.

“It is a great honour to take command of the RCN, relieving VAdm Norman after three years under his skilled leadership,” said VAdm Lloyd. “Under his command, the keel for success in future naval operations was laid in a range of projects that are now under way, or will be soon. I look forward to maintaining the momentum already begun and continuing to build the navy of tomorrow, ensuring that Canada has the blue-water navy it needs to defend its national interests and those of the global system.”

The Royal Canadian Navy change of command ceremony.
The Royal Canadian Navy change of command ceremony.

The formal change of command ceremony was presided over by General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff. Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan was also present.

Gen. Vance noted that VAdm Norman has demonstrated “exceptional skill and leadership” in steering the RCN through the most intensive and comprehensive period of recapitalization in its peacetime history. “In addition, he has made difficult decisions to protect his sailors and the future of his fleet. He has worked tirelessly to ensure the men and women under his command have every opportunity to display the excellence and professionalism that the Royal Canadian Navy is known for.”

Gen. Vance also offered his congratulations to VAdm Lloyd. “I can’t think of a better person to take the till than VAdm Lloyd. He has been a sailor for more than 30 years, and if there’s a billet in the RCN that he hasn’t held, I’d be surprised to hear it. I am confident he will successfully guide the navy in its vital work defending our nation’s interests both now and into the future.”

During the ceremony VAdm Norman followed another naval tradition by ordering his yeoman to “strike my pennant (personal flag)”, thus being relieved of command. In return, VAdm Lloyd hoisted his own pennant and responded, “I have the watch.”

Source: Royal Canadian Navy

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