A Royal Canadian Navy captain is heading to West Africa as part of a once in a lifetime mission, retracing historical footsteps connected to Nova Scotia.
“For me personally, this is a bucket list item to be able to do this, I never thought it would happen in my military career,” Lieutenant Commander Paul Smith said.
Lt.-Cmdr Smith is the commanding officer of HMCS Summerside, which along with HMCS Moncton is crossing the Atlantic to partake in a mission called Neptune Trident 17-01.
One of the goals of the mission is to strengthen the relationship with West African nations by participating in joint training exercises in the Gulf of Guinea.
“Within a couple days we should start to see the warmer weather. So no more snow on our upper decks and no more winter parkas and the crews are just really pumped about going,” Lt.-Cmdr Nicole Robichaud, commanding officer of HMCS Moncton, said.
The deployment also includes a stop in the city of Freetown, Sierra Leone, a moment Lt.-Cmdr Smith is eagerly anticipating.
“For those who don’t know, the city of Freetown was actually settled by Nova Scotian settlers. They were free slaves from the American Revolution that migrated up to Nova Scotia, lived here and 15,000 of them in 1792 headed on two ships and crossed to settle Freetown,” Lt.-Cmdr Smith said.
The journey gives Lt.-Cmdr Smith an opportunity to reconnect Nova Scotia to its West African roots.
“We’re trying to reestablish the connection between Nova Scotia and Freetown,” he said.
It’s a connection that members of the African Nova Scotia community are thrilled to reignite through the eyes of Lt.-Cmdr Smith’s eyes.
“It’s special in a couple of ways. One, to have somebody who’s of African ancestry to do that, makes it amazing and during Black History Month as well is kind of the icing on the cake but to also know that he can be an inspiration to others,” said Craig Smith, director of the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia.
Both vessels are expected to return to Nova Scotia sometime in May.
Disclaimer: This video is intended for informational purpose only. This may not be construed as a news item or advice of any sort. Please consult the experts in that field for the authenticity of the presentations.
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Source: Global News