Hopewell Rocks plays host to military change of command

·2 min read
A change of command ceremony was held at Hopewell Rocks on Tuesday for the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment located at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown. (Shane Magee/CBC - image credit)
A change of command ceremony was held at Hopewell Rocks on Tuesday for the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment located at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown. (Shane Magee/CBC - image credit)

New Brunswick's Hopewell Rocks served as the backdrop for a military change of command ceremony Tuesday.

The short ceremony unfolded in front of Lovers Arch as visitors to Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park wandered on the Bay of Fundy floor.

It saw command of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown transferred from Lt.-Col. Trevor Norton to Lt.-Col. Mike Blanchette.

Normally the ceremony would involve a large parade with the entire battalion, but Norton said it was relocated because of COVID-19.

"Here because this is one of New Brunswick's greatest landmarks and we are proud to be based out in New Brunswick," Norton said.

"What better place to do it than than one of the most recognizable features of Atlantic Canada?"

Around two dozen members of the military and several family members observed the ceremony.

Kevin Snair, a public relations and marketing co-ordinator with the park, said they were excited to host the ceremony when the military approached them.

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

"We jumped all over it right away because it just seemed like such a great, great fit," Snair said.

He said they weren't aware of a ceremony like that having happened there recently.

The unit, a mechanized infantry battalion, has about 650 people in New Brunswick.

It has assisted in recent years with the response to flooding in Fredericton and the St. John River Valley, and deployed to Latvia and Ukraine.

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

"We've been very busy, which as soldiers we love because when we're busy, we're serving Canada and Canadians," Norton said.

Blanchette said he's excited to take command of the unit that's identified to respond to any sort of natural disasters across Atlantic Canada.

"I can't tell you how excited I am to have the honour of this opportunity to command the soldiers of our regiment, to command the soldiers of the 2nd Battalion in particular," Blanchette said.

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC
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