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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Manny’s Motel’ badly damaged by fire Jan. 15

Police say 40 Ave. closed due to fire, use alternate route

From courthouse to council’s house

Old courthouse had long history before becoming City Hall

Revenue Canada, RCMP don’t accept Bitcoin: police

RCMP issue Bitcoin warning posters

Writer says Alberta highway system falling apart

Highways in ‘deplorable’ condition: writer

County council denies request for parking lot

Buck Lake groups are welcome to raise funds and return to council

Canada to bolster screening of central China passengers for virus at 3 airports

Additional measures will include messaging on arrivals screens in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver

RCMP Major Crimes Unit lays charges in Stettler death

Nicholas Climb Johnson, 32, of Stettler is charged with second degree murder in the death of his father

Metis nations ask Ottawa to negotiate directly with them, not national body

Three provincial Metis nations will work through the national council until after the federal government releases its 2020 budget

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Oil and gas industry applauds top court’s dismissal of B.C.’s Trans Mountain case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Sylvan Lake RCMP seek assistance in locating missing male

Mark Crier, 17, was last seen in Sylvan Lake on Jan. 13

UPDATE: Supreme Court dismisses B.C.’s appeal in Trans Mountain pipeline case

Judges decide whether B.C.’s power to protect environment can include impeding a federal project

Alberta says universities over-budget; need to freeze travel, hiring, hosting

Demetrios Nicolaides says spending is not meeting expectations

Over 16,000 people nabbed by RCMP between border crossings in 2019

In 2019, 63,830 claims were filed, up from 55,040 in 2018

Most Read