Thursday, February 10, 2005

Half-Masting for a Sailor

Tonight, I will be working at HMCS Carleton, Ottawa' s Naval Reserve division. And tonight, during divisional announcements, I expect that our flag will be at half-mast.

We have lost another man in the service of his country. Yesterday, the search was called off for LS Robert Leblanc, who was serving a deployment onboard the frigate HMCS Montreal when he apparently fell overboard during the night.

The odds of survival at sea are extremely bad in the Baltic at this time of year. It's not that the seas are rough, it's that they are extremely cold. Just above freezing, according to the news reports.

This was a freak accident. It could have happened to anyone on board the Montreal, or the other ships sailing in her company.

It's a tough reminder. Life at sea is dangerous. Yet for the members of Canada's Navy, it's an accepted risk of everyday life.

LS Leblanc's family has the condolences of not just myself, but every man and woman in Maritime Command.