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

Let the Games begin!

Team Alberta takes home gold and silver in speed skating on day one

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Athletes’ medals unveiled at the official kick-off of 2019 Canada Winter Games

Medals depict Central Alberta landscape and pay tribute to First Nations

WATCH: Canada Winter Games are finally here

Final leg of torch relay kicked off at Fort Normandeau

Red Deer man loses car after being caught twice driving with suspended licence

The Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit ticketed the man in December and on Valentine’s Day

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Team Alberta takes exciting victory in wheelchair basketball, remains undefeated

After three games in the tournament, Alberta is sitting in first place of its pool

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Body found after apparent house explosion in Calgary, police investigating

Sgt. Dwayne Lepchuk declined to say whose remains were found

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Most Read