Christ­mas wishes from over­seas

Cher­ish ev­ery pre­cious mo­ment of your hol­i­days at home with fam­ily and friends

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY SHAWN BUTT

As you en­joy the hol­i­day sea­son with your loved ones while com­plain­ing about the crowds at the malls, the poor driv­ing con­di­tions and how cold it is out­side, we would like you to think of those who are serv­ing abroad.

They haven’t seen their loved ones in months. They may have to bun­dle up with pro­tec­tion to go out in the heat and their driv­ing con­di­tions are like noth­ing you have seen. They are spending this hol­i­day sea­son do­ing the same things they have done for the last few months, on pa­trol in Afghanistan, work­ing in Sierra Leone or in any of the other ar­eas where they have been sent to per­form their du­ties.

For them there will be no sup­per and drinks at Un­cle Clyde’s and Aunt Mary’s. No vis­it­ing Nan and Pop’s. They won’t feel joy of the lit­tle ones af­ter the ‘Jolly Old Elf ’ has per­formed his magic.

Of course I am talk­ing about the mem­bers of the Cana­dian Armed Forces serv­ing on any one of the 21 mis­sions Canada is cur­rently sup­port­ing over­seas.

My name is Shawn Butt and I am from Carbonear, where I once was a car­rier for the news­pa­per you are read­ing. I am cur­rently serv­ing as a Petty Of­fi­cer 1st Class, on­board HMCS Fredericton, on pa­trol in the Gulf of Aden, off the north coast of So­ma­lia.

Our role here is to pa­trol the in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized traf­fic corridor

for in­ter­na­tional ship­ping as part of OP Saiph. We pa­trol here to keep mer­chant ships safe from pi­rate at­tacks and thus keep­ing the sup­plies of all types of var­i­ous goods flow­ing. As the fun­nel to the Suez Canal, this area is one of the busiest ship­ping lanes in the world and has been the scene of in­creased pi­rate at­tacks in re­cent years.

While you are read­ing this at home, we are at sea in 35 de­grees plus weather. The ma­chin­ery spa­ces are over 42 de­grees and we haven’t seen land for 25 days.

This might seem like balmy tem­per­a­tures to you right now. But the fact that we still have to wear our fire re­tar­dant cloth­ing ( black and dark blue) while per­form­ing our du­ties, of­ten times with heavy bul­let proof vests doesn’t seem as bear­able any­more.

Af­ter be­ing out this long we are run­ning short on fresh sup­plies and are anx­iously await­ing the ar­rival of mail from home. We are a well-trained crew but af­ter this long at the same thing each day, we are start­ing to feel the lit­tle things that start to get on each other’s nerves. The 24 ft. x 30 ft. x 78 ft. space that we fondly re­fer to as “our rack” is the only space we get to our­selves.

But it is not all bad. Last night the Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer handed out the con­tents of a CARE pack­age from the Women’s In­sti­tute of Gage­town near our name­sake city of Fredericton, New Brunswick. It was well re­ceived with peanut but­ter brit­tle, home­made hard candy, al­mond roca, chocolate cov­ered al­monds and the like, a great treat to say the least.

The Con­cep­tion Bay North area is very well rep­re­sented in the Cana­dian Forces as is New­found­land as a whole. One quar­ter of the per­son­nel on­board this ship of more than 200 call them­selves New­fies. Out of those, four of us come from the Com­pass cov­er­age area. There is Chief Petty Of­fi­cer 2nd Class By­ron Pryor and Lead­ing Seaman Doug Nose­wor­thy from Spa­niard’s Bay as well as Lead­ing Seaman Greg Laing and my­self from O’Driscoll’s Lane, Carbonear.

By­ron is the Chief En­gine Room Ar­ti­fi­cer on­board and holds that po­si­tion af­ter more than 24 years of train­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence as a marine en­gi­neer­ing me­chanic, tech­ni­cian and ar­ti­fi­cer.

By­ron would like to say Merry Christ­mas to his mom sis­ters, brother and their fam­i­lies in Spa­niards Bay and Bay Roberts, as well as the ex­tended fam­ily up and down the bays.

“Love and miss you all. See you all next year,” he says.

Doug Nose­wor­thy is a Naval Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­ni­cian serv­ing on his first ship af­ter com­plet­ing the Naval Com­bat Sys­tems Tech­ni­cian Train­ing Plan at the Marine In­sti­tute, in St. John’s. He is miss­ing his girl­friend Joanne, his mom, dad, and sis­ter. He would like to say to all his fam­ily and friends “Merry Christ­mas and Happy New Year, I miss and love you all”.

Greg Laing is a Naval weapons tech­ni­cian and is happy to be on this side of the meal line af­ter serv­ing as a cook for the first 11 years of his ca­reer. Greg took a vol­un­tary Oocu­pa­tional trans­fer in 2007 and has been pleased with his de­ci­sion ever since. Greg is miss­ing his girl­friend Erika back home in Hal­i­fax. He would like to wish her, his mom and dad, the Laing fam­ily, the O’Driscoll fam­ily and all his friends a Merry Christ­mas and a Happy New Year. “I miss you guys and I’ll see you in the new year.”

I am a Marine En­gi­neer­ing ar­ti­cifer cur­rently train­ing un­der By­ron to be­come a Chief En­gine Room ar­ti­fi­cer. Now, as with any­time we sail, I am miss­ing my wife Peggy and two kids, MJ and Macken­zie at home in Hal­i­fax. I would like to wish Mom and Char­lie and all the Butt fam­ily and friends a very Merry Christ­mas and Happy New Year. May your nights be filled with dreams and your days be filled with the op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­alise them. I can’t wait to see you all next year.

In clos­ing I would like to say to all our read­ers on be­half of my­self, my ship­mates, and fel­low com­rades in the en­tire Cana­dian Armed Forces, Merry Christ­mas and Happy New Year.

En­joy your hol­i­days with the ones you love, do­ing all you en­joy and re­mem­ber those of us who can’t be there to do the same with ours.

We love you all.

Photo cour­tesy Cor­po­ral Reed, Cana­dian Forces WELL REP­RE­SENTED - New­found­land and Labrador in gen­eral and CBN in par­tic­u­lar are well rep­re­sented in the Cana­dian Forces. Out of the 200 crew on board HMCS Fredericton, four are from the Com­pass cov­er­age area. Proudly hold­ing the New­found­land flag on the deck of their ship are, from left: Petty Of­fi­cer 1st Class Shawn Butt, Carbonear; Chief Petty Of­fi­cer 2nd Class By­ron Pryor, Spa­niard’s Bay; Lead­ing Seaman Greg Laing, Carbonear, and Lead­ing Seaman Doug Nose­wor­thy, Spa­niard’s Bay.

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