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Pacific Fleet's commander comes full circle to Victoria

Aug 10 2012

With pomp and fanfare, Rear Admiral Peter Ellis relinquished command of Canada's Pacific Fleet to Commodore Scott Bishop on Thursday.

Ellis's two-year command ended during a ceremony at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt.

"The change of command ceremony is a certain reflection of passing of legal authority between two individuals," Ellis said in his address.

"It's an opportunity to reflect on the past, take stock of where we are."

Canada's participation in this year's Rim of the Pacific exercise, also known as RIMPAC, stood out as a monumental success, he said. Twenty-two nations were represented by 25,000 personnel in the exercise that occurs every two years to build relationships among Pacific nations.

During the exercise, launched in June, HMCS Victoria completed its high-readiness certification, a milestone for the submarine that's based at CFB Esquimalt.

Ellis described the submarine as "a crowning achievement."

He added that successes during his time in command weren't his alone.

"It's not about me, it's about what the team has done," he said.

"There's a collective thanks and deep-felt admiration that I'm trying to convey here."

Ellis is moving to Ottawa, where he'll be responsible for the co-ordination of Canada's international naval missions in the post of Deputy Commander (Expeditionary) Canadian Joint Operations Command.

He had simple advice to pass on to Bishop, whom he has known for 25 years after the two took a navigator course together.

"Just be yourself and trust your instincts," he said.

Bishop, originally from Vancouver, has come full circle.

"I spent the first 13 years of my naval career in Victoria and my last 14 years trying to get back here," he said. "I feel like a B.C. son."

Formerly, Bishop was Commander Fifth Maritime Operations Group at Canadian Fleet Atlantic in Halifax.

He joked that his Victoria posting won't be the first time he commanded a fleet.

"I was in command for two days," he said with a laugh. He stepped in after the Atlantic Fleet commander's retirement while waiting for the incoming commander to arrive in Halifax.

Bishop complimented his predecessor on his achievements as commander of the Pacific Fleet, citing "progressive thinking, solid leadership and a sterling example of focused effort" among the admiral's strengths.

In Esquimalt, Bishop will be responsible for the preparedness of the Pacific Fleet, which includes one destroyer, five frigates, one replenishment ship, six maritime coastal defence ships, two submarines and eight training tenders.

"I'm so thrilled by the honour of this assignment," he said.


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