NAVAL RESERVE HOLDS FIRST ARTURO PRAT AWARD CEREMONY

QUÉBEC, May 27, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - On May 26th, the Naval Reserve held the first Arturo Prat Award ceremony, a significant contribution to ensuring the mutual respect and admiration between the Chilean and Canadian Navies is fortified for years to come.

"I am thankful to be here in order to honour all men and women who have fought in service for their countries," said Rear-Admiral Kenneth Pugh, Director of Intelligence of the Chilean Navy. "This is our most valuable gift; it's our tradition, it's our history, it's Arturo Prat."

The Arturo Prat Award is given in memory of a Chilean hero, Commander Arturo Prat. Commencing this year, the annual trophy will be presented by the Naval Reserve to the top candidate from the Coastal Operations Course, Phase III; the recipient this year was Lieutenant (Navy) Daniel Rice of Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) DISCOVERY in Vancouver, B.C. The award recognizes leadership skills, seamanship and strong character: values embodied by the Chilean naval hero. The trophy, a model of a Chilean ship, is made from steel that was recovered from the original sunken ship.

During his speech, His Excellency Roberto Ibarra, Chilean Ambassador to Canada, stated, "When we see the monument of Arturo Prat and when we are going to offer this award, we feel so great: we feel so proud because that means our relationship is arriving at a certain level of strength and force that can reflect only our common values and common principles."

The event began with the unveiling of the new trophy, followed by the signing of the ships official visitor's books. Members of the Naval Reserve in Québec City, including Naval Reserve Headquarters, Canadian Forces Fleet School (Québec) and HMCS MONTCALM, proceeded to march onto Pier 21, in the Old Port of Québec City, in honour of the presentation.

"In recent years a strong bond has been established between our Navy and the Chilean Navy and a special relationship was initiated by the Naval Reserve under the leadership of Commodore (Retired) Viateur Tremblay," said Commodore David Craig, Commander of Canada's Naval Reserve.

Commander Arturo Prat, the 31-year-old commander of Esméralda, an 868-tonne wooden corvette, lost his life May 21, 1879, at Iquique, Chile in a famous battle between Esméralda and Peruvian 1 200-tonne armoured turret ship Huáscar. With Esméralda's mobility reduced by fire from the port of Iquique and Huáscar, Commander Prat surprised the Peruvians by ordering his decimated crew to storm Huáscar. Since that time, four Chilean warships have had the honour of bearing his name, as well as the Naval Academy and an Antarctica Chilean Station.

The trophy is the second legacy to the Chilean national hero in Québec. In 2005, the Chilean Navy presented the Canadian Navy with a bust of its national hero, Commander Arturo Prat. The bust rests outside the main entrance to the Pointe-à-Carcy Naval Complex Residence.

SOURCE CANADIAN NAVY

For further information:

Note to the editor: For ceremony photos or recipient picture, please visit our website: www.navres.forces.gc.ca. For more information, contact: Commanding Officer, HMCS DISCOVERY, at phone: 604-417-5627


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