Lacombe resident Vernon Dool served with the Canadian Navy from 1954-1974. Much of his time was spent patrolling the Bering Sea. Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

Lacombe resident Vernon Dool served with the Canadian Navy for 20 years

Veteran reminisces on his time with the Armed Forces

Lacombe resident Vernon Dool joined the Canadian Navy in 1954 after a he and a friend decided they didn’t want to work in the rain on the original Trans Mountain Pipeline.

It wasn’t odd, according to Dool, that a couple prairie boys were joining the Navy.

“I would say 75 per cent of the guys I knew in the Navy were the Prairies. You wouldn’t see too many from the coast. Nobody seemed to know why,” he said.

Dool, who become a marine engineer and served until 1974, would head towards the west coast just as the Canadian Armed Forces were pulling out of the Korean war.

”I went to a frigate and they were training officer cadets in navigation. I then went from the frigate to to a tribal-class destroyer,” he said. “In January, we would go to Hawaii and do exercises with India, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the Americans. Then we would go up and patrol the Bering Sea. “

During his time on patrol up north, Dool’s roles included looking after steam, diesel, the air conditioning and refrigeration.

“We had planned maintenance, so you had a breakdown and had to check everything off,” he said.

Much of what Dool learned came directly from Second World War veterans.

“Most of the officers were Second World War veterans. They started getting out and the younger ones came in,” he said. “Most of the chief engineers were all Second World War veterans. I learned from them my trade as a marine engineer.”

Dool said everyone always new that patrolling the Bering Sea was about watching for U.S.S.R activity in the arctic.

“That was the reason we were up there. They had all these factory ships apparently hunting whale, but they had all this radio equipment — they were up there spying. We were up there keeping an eye on them,” he said.

Dool added they would often send people ashore to see if the Soviets were encroaching on Canadian territory.

“Periodically, we would send a party to shore to check for Russian cigarette packages,” he said.

Astonishingly, Dool said the destroyer would even take part with American and Soviet ships in war games — something that was not publicized to the general public.

Near the end of his tour with the Navy, Dool would head south to Southeast Asia after the end of the Viet Nam War.

“If anything happened to our peacekeepers, we were on patrol to get them out of there,” he said regarding the Canadian peacekeepers that were sent into the region after the Americans pulled out of the war.

Dool said Canadians are doing a good job of honouring the legacy of veterans and feel it is important to commemorate the day, “For all the people that lost their lives protecting not only Canada, but other countries.

“I always like to go to the Legion and go to the LMC for the service,” he said, adding he was happy to share his story with Veterans Voices of Canada.

Dool still resides in Lacombe but still thinks about his time on the ocean with the Navy.

“I love the sea. My wife and I used to take two cruises every year,” he said.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Pastor Reg Darnell retires

Saying goodbye to Pastor Reg Darnell

Class of ‘69 recognized

Rimbey and District Oldtimers Association holds 64th reunion

Fun for the whole family

Grand opening for Liberty Hall coming soon

Council approached about changes

Looking at changes to outdoor arena at Rimbey Christian School

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

High Level on alert, as wildfires put more people on the run in northern Alberta

Thousands in High Level were just allowed back home, and now must get ready to leave again

VIDEO: Toronto Raptors announcer credited with calming crowds after shooting

Matt Devlin, the Raptors’ play-by-play announcer since 2008, was praised for preventing panic from spreading

Two people arrested after Wetaskiwin vehicle theft

Wetaskiwin RCMP respond to theft of motor vehicle

Deadline for cabinet to decide future of Trans Mountain expansion is today

International Trade Minister Jim Carr described the decision as ‘very significant’

UPDATE: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Most Read