Vice-Admiral Baines assumed command of Royal Canadian Navy

Above image: Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral (VAdm) Craig Baines. He assumed the duties from Adm Art McDonald earlier this week in a virtual change of command ceremony.

Vice-Admiral (VAdm) Craig Baines assumed the duties of Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy (CRCN) from VAdm Art McDonald earlier this week in a virtual change of command ceremony presided over by General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), at the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.

Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, welcomed VAdm Baines as the 37th Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy (CRCN).

“He will provide very able leadership to our sailors through these challenging times and into the future. Vice-Admiral Baines has proudly served Canada for 33 years in our Royal Canadian Navy, in various roles as the Commander of a vessel, a Base, and a Fleet, which have all prepared him for this important role, as have his recent efforts as the Deputy Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. The women and men of the Royal Canadian Navy are indeed in good hands with Vice-Admiral Baines in command,” noted the defence minister.

37th Commander Royal Canadian Navy

Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Sylvain Jaquemot, Rear-Admiral Craig Baines, and Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Derek Kitching present the lucky coin prior to its placement in the structure of the future HMCS Max Bernays. Photo courtesy of DND/CAF.

VAdm Baines assumes Command as the 37th CRCN. He has served in a variety of command and staff roles throughout his career, most recently serving as Deputy Vice CDS.

Baines took time to reflect and recognize the significant leadership that his shipmate VAdm McDonald has provided to the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) throughout his command.

“It goes without saying what an honour and privilege it is to become the 37th Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. Without question, the biggest part of this honour is continuing to serve with a group of outstanding Canadians who wear a uniform on behalf of their country, often serving in a complex environment far from home,” he stated.

Baines says they will continue to prioritize support to the sailors, Defence Team members, and their families while managing ongoing cultural change, domestic and international operations, fleet recapitalization, training and readiness. All while innovating throughout the organization to make them the most inclusive, respect- driven navy, they can be.

Vice-Admiral Baines’ career

From 2017, now retired Vice Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander, Royal Canadian Navy and Lieutenant-General Stephen Bowes, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command preside over Change of Command ceremony; then Rear-Admiral Craig Baines (left) takes over command of Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic from now retired Rear-Admiral John Newton (right) on 1 September, 2017 at Her Majesty’s Canadian Dockyard Halifax. Photo by: Mona Ghiz, HS88-2017-0181-428. Image courtesy of MARLANT PA DND-MDN Canada.

Vice-Admiral Baines’ career in the RCN has been a combination of sea-going appointments and staff officer positions throughout his 33 years of service. He started his career as a bridge watch-keeping officer in Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Saguenay, specializing in navigation and naval warfare en route to an appointment as Commanding Officer of HMCS Winnipeg in 2007.

The RCN is Canada’s naval force consisting of approximately 8,300 Regular Force and 3,600 Reserve sailors, supported by approximately 3,800 civilian employees.

He held the appointment of Base Commander of Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt between July 2010 and July 2012. After serving as the Commander of Canadian Fleet Atlantic between 2014 and 2017, he was appointed Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic until he assumed the Deputy Vice Chief of the Defence Staff position in July 2020.

“Through his 33 years of service, Vice-Admiral Baines has a proven operational and institutional track record from which to draw upon as he continues to put Canada’s sailors first in all that he does. I am delighted to appoint Vice-Admiral Baines to command the Royal Canadian Navy and I know that he will lead by example, put our ethos into practice, and continue to steer the Navy towards the objectives of the future fleet,” General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff commented.

Vice-Admiral McDonald

Learn more about Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, click the image. Image courtesy of CAF/DND.

Outgoing CRCN, Vice-Admiral McDonald, will be promoted to the rank of Admiral and will succeed General Vance as the 20th CDS.

“It has been an honour and privilege to lead as the Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy (CRCN) for the past 18-months,” VAdm Art McDonald expressed, “As a One Navy Team, we have successfully accomplished our mission objectives and have followed through the progression of key projects and initiatives while continually remaining focussed on the priority that WE in the RCN, on this watch, have placed on culture change! The RCN is equally known for who we are and how we conduct ourselves as much as for the amazing things we do. I am confident that the RCN will continue to sail smoothly under the watch of Vice-Admiral Baines.”

The RCN is Canada’s naval force consisting of approximately 8,300 Regular Force and 3,600 Reserve sailors, supported by approximately 3,800 civilian employees.

The RCN’s mission is to generate combat-capable, multipurpose maritime forces that support Canada’s efforts to participate in security operations anywhere in the world, as part of an integrated Canadian Armed Forces.

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