I joined the Second Canadian Destroyer Squadron at very pivotal time in Canadian History. The Persian Gulf War erupted with the invasion of the tiny nation of Kuwait by the military forces of Iraq over the night of 1–2 August 1990. United States President George H.W. Bush, backed by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, quickly began to assemble a multinational coalition of 35 nations to demand an Iraqi withdrawal and prevent a further military thrust into Saudi Arabia. Backed by United Nations Security Council Resolutions, Operation Desert Shield soon was launched to free Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.
Canada joined an international military coalition to confront Iraq following its invasion of Kuwait. Canada contributed warships and fighter aircraft to the successful campaign to liberate Kuwait. It was the first time Canada sent women to war in combat roles, and it was the first time in decades that Canadian air and naval forces supported each other in a war zone. In the Fall of 1990 an East Coast Squadron was assigned to this mission and the West Coast Second Canadian Destroyer Squadron was tasked to replace this squadron in January 1991.
In 1990 the majority of Canadian Destroyers were 20 to 30 years old and required the installation of newer Combat Systems in order to be viable as an effective squadron when deployed to the Persian Gulf. At the time the new Canadian Patrol Frigates were in production so the obvious solution was to borrow combat systems designated for CPF ships. Given the need we were tasked to to installed a number of sophisticated modern systems on each the the ships in the squadron. These ships are shown in the plaque to the right which was given to me when I completed my tour in this position.
In October 1990 I was deployed to the Persian Gulf to setup the support, maintenance and supply lines that would be needed when the squadron was deployed. While there I travelled throughout the United Arab Eremites, Bahrain and Qatar visiting existing shipyards and setting up supply contracts.
It was a time of uncertainty when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had invaded the Kingdom of Kuwait and was firing SCUD Missiles at Israel. He had a reputation of using chemical weapons against his enemies and was suspected of funding squads of kidnappers that targeted westerners to hold for ransom. To prepare for the possibility of a chemical attack I was given a cocktail of drugs including the infamous anti-malarial drug prior to my deployment and carried a full chemical weapons suit with me at all times while deployed.
As shown in the
annual appraisals below my efforts did not go unnoticed. More
importantly, however was the recommendation for promotion by Admiral
Summers which was rare given that I had only been a Commander for