Rear-Admiral Art McDonald (left), Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, and Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie sign papers to officially relinquish McDonald of his role and appoint Auctherlonie as the new Commander of the Maritime Forces Pacific. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

B.C. man (pick up truck, Lucky Beer poster, and all) revels in return to Esquimalt

Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie assumed command of the Maritime Forces Pacific

Members of the Canadian Forces and local officials welcomed back Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie in his new position as the Commander of the Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) and the Joint Task Force Pacific (JTFP) at the CFB Esquimalt on Friday.

Auchterlonie had previously served as the Base Commander for CFB Esquimalt from 2012 to 2013, and as the Commander of the Canadian Pacific Fleet from 2013-2015.

Auchterlonie takes over the position form Rear-Admiral Art McDonald, who will assume his next position as Deputy Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy in Ottawa.

RELATED: Base command changes hands at CFB Esquimalt

McDonald welcomed his friend and colleague into his role, and said he knew and trusted Auchterlonie after being bunk mates in the HMCS Calgary for five years. McDonald joked about tapping into his Cape Breton roots, after he conducted a lengthy speech thanking his staff, colleagues and family.

“I’m immensely proud to have served as Commander of such a hard-working team,” McDonald said. “I wish Rear-Admiral Aucterlonie all the best as he assumes command today. I know his leadership will be an asset to the formation as the Pacific Fleet prepares for another busy year of operations.”

Rear-Admiral Art McDonald (left) Lt.-Gov Janet Austin, Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, and Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie stand at attention at the beginning of a command switch ceremony. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWSS

Under his two-year role as the Commander, McDonald oversaw extensive sails through the Asia-Pacific, including the longest-completed deployment of a Victoria-class submarine known as HMCS Chicoutimi, which sailed for 197 days.

Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd supervised the Command switch, and said he was proud of both navy members.

“Today we celebrate the accomplishments of Rear-Admiral Art McDonald,” he said. “His outstanding leadership has been critical to the success of this organization.

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“It is my pleasure to welcome Rear-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie … I could not be more pleased that he is assuming command of Maritime Forces Pacific.”

For Auchterlonie, who described himself as a B.C. man (pick up truck, Lucky Beer poster, and all), being back in Esquimalt is a great joy.

“It feels pretty fantastic, I’m from the Island so it’s great to be back home,” he said. “In the past few years it’s been a great goal of mine and of my family to get back to the coast.”

When asked what his goals are for his new position, Auchterlonie said maintaining the navy’s great work was the top priority.

“We’ve transformed the navy over the last decade,” Auchterlonie said. “We’re really looking at enforcing stability into the armed forces, making sure our people are supported and making sure that our projects are moving forward so we can support the government throughout the world.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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