August 9, 2012
A Change of Command Ceremony took place at CFB Halifax earlier today. Naval Captain, (Capt(N)) Brian Santarpia, CD handed-over command of Canada’s largest military base to Capt(N) Angus Topshee, CD (NSC 2006).
Capt(N) Brian Santarpia enrolled in Canadian Forces, under the Officer Candidate Training Plan as a Maritime Surface Officer, in 1986. To date, his career has been heavily focused in filling operational and training positions in both of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Fleets.
His operational postings include appointments as the Navigating Officer of HMC Ships CORMORANT and VANCOUVER, the Combat Officer of HMCS HURON, the Executive Officer of HMC Ships CHALEUR and HALIFAX, the Commanding Officer of HMCS ST JOHN’S from January 2007 until July 2008. As an Operations Officer, he was attach posted to HMCS WINNIPEG during OPERATION AUGMENTATION in the Arabian Gulf in 2001 and as Executive Officer of HMCS HALIFAX, he participated in OPERATION ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR with the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1.
Capt(N) Santarpia has been posted to numerous training billets, including Navigation Instructor at the Naval Officer Training Centre, Head of the Warfare Training Division at the Canadian Forces Fleet School (Esquimalt), Operations Officer of Sea Training Pacific, and in 2008, Commanding Officer of Sea Training Atlantic. Following his Sea Training tour and his promotion to Capt(N), Capt(N) Santarpia was appointed as the Special Advisor to the Vice Chief of Defence Staff.
Between stints at sea and in training establishments, Capt(N) Santarpia has spent over six years of the last 26 on a variety of career courses including Basic Training, MARS Officer Phase Training, the Destroyer Navigating Officer Course, the Operations Room Officer Course, a Bachelor of Commerce Program at Royal Roads University, the Command and Staff Course in Toronto, and the year-long French Course.
Capt(N) Santarpia assumed command of Canadian Forces Base Halifax on July 29, 2010. He is transferred to Canadian Forces Staff College in Toronto to participate in a National Securities Program.
Captain(Navy) Angus Topshee was born in Nepean, Ontario and joined the Canadian Forces in 1990. His first four years were spent at the Royal Military College, (RMC) and included a six month exchange at the Australian Defence Force Academy. Upon graduation from RMC in 1994, he was awarded the Canada Memorial Scholarship and, in 1996, earned a Masters of Literature in Strategic Studies from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
After six years of schooling and a short posting to the Directorate of Maritime Force Development at National Defence Headquarters, (NDHQ) Capt(N) Topshee started formal Maritime surface and sub surface training in 1996 and joined his first ship, HMCS Winnipeg in 1997. He spent most of the next nine years largely at sea and completed a succession of tours and operational deployments as a Navigating Officer, Operations Officer and Combat Officer on the West Coast.
In 2005, he was selected to attend the “NSC 10″ course at the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. The following year he was appointed as the Executive Officer, (XO) of HMCS St. John’s and then HMCS Toronto in July 2007. After two exciting years at sea as an XO, Capt(N) Topshee was posted to the Directorate of Maritime Strategy at NDHQ where he assisted in developing a new strategy for the Royal Canadian Navy.
In July 2009, he was delighted to be given “the best job in the Navy” – command of HMCS Algonquin, the flagship of Canada’s Pacific Fleet. His time aboard Algonquin was easily the highlight of his career and included high readiness workups, Op PODIUM (security for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics), and Op PACIFIC AMISTAD (a five month deployment in the central and western Pacific). He turned over command at the end of 2010 and was transferred to Afghanistan as part of the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan where he spent a year based in Kabul as the Director of Afghan National Police Training Operations. Capt(N) Topshee recently completed being assigned to Canadian Fleet Pacific Staff and has assumed command of CFB Halifax as of today.
Posted by Jenna M. Gagne, Office of Alumni Affairs
Originally published at http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2012/08/09/change-of-command-at-cfb-halifax/