Brandon’s Sailor First Class Eric Vorspel sails the world and plays role in Canadian warship’s counter-terrorism mission

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Sailor First Class Eric Vorspel is a Naval Electronic Sensor Operator aboard HMCS CALGARY, operating the radar and radio detection devices, radar jamming systems and decoys, and gun/missile-firing equipment carried on major naval warships. Photo taken on 14 June, 2021 in the Arabian Sea during OPERATION ARTEMIS and part of Combined Task Force 150. Photo credit: Corporal Lynette Ai Dang, Her Majesty's Canadian Ship CALGARY, Imagery Technician ©2021 DND/MDN CANADA

Sailor First Class (S1) Eric Vorspel grew up in Brandon, Manitoba and he has come a long way after joining the Canadian Armed Forces and travelling the world. He is currently deployed in the Canadian warship Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Calgary which just finished Operation (Op) ARTEMIS, a successful counter-terrorism and maritime security mission in the Middle East.

S1 Vorspel is a Naval Electronics Sensor Operator on HMCS Calgary. On a normal day he’s using the ships sensors to scan the seas for information about other ships, aircraft, and anything above the waterline that is relevant to operations. During the ship’s maritime interdiction operations, S1 Vorspel will sometimes act as a lookout, using the ‘Big Eyes’ binoculars to watch suspicious vessels during boarding operations.

Sailor First Class (S1) Eric Vorspel, a Naval Electronic Sensor Operator, and S1 Thierry Bouton, a Boatswain, both members aboard HMCS CALGARY, secure a line on the ship’s forecastle during the sail out of the port of Duqm in Oman on 03 June, 21 during OPERATION ARTEMIS and as part of Combined Task Force 150.
Photo credit: Corporal Lynette Ai Dang, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship CALGARY, Imagery Technician
©2021 DND/MDN CANADA

S1 Vorspel went to Crocus Planes Regional Secondary School and while he was still attending high school he joined Brandon’s artillery Reserve Unit, the 26th Field Regiment. After high school he continued with the Reserve Forces and worked at Keystone Center, scanning tickets for Wheat Kings hockey games.

In 2017 he was deployed to Poland with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry regiment on Operation REASSURANCE.

“On that operation I travelled around Europe and saw so many countries. I got bit by the travel bug pretty hard and the navy seemed like the best option to do more travelling,” said S1 Vorspel.

S1 Vorspel joined the Royal Canadian Navy in his current occupation in 2018 so he could get that travelling experience. His current deployment has taken him throughout Asia, the Middle East, and will continue on to Australia and New Zealand.

“It’s really cool to be a prairie sailor. I find a lot of people on ship are originally from coastal areas like Victoria, British Columbia and have been around water their whole life. To come from a small prairie city with no water activities or big lakes means it’s really different for me and I am getting very unique experiences compared to a lot of other prairie folk,” he said. “Still there isn’t so much difference between the prairies and the middle of the ocean. Instead of rolling hills its rolling seas and instead of green and yellow, its blue and grey.”

S1 Vorspel’s mom Heather, dad Michael, and brother Benjamin all still live in Brandon, and he enjoys going home to visit every Christmas.

Submitted: Captain Jeff Klassen