Petty Officer Second Class Jason Boisvenue, who serves aboard HMCS Calgary, takes part in a training mission on the Pacific Ocean on March 14, 2021. Photo: Cpl. Lynette Ai Dang, HMCS Calgary, courtesy of the Dept. of National Defence

Petty Officer Second Class Jason Boisvenue, who serves aboard HMCS Calgary, takes part in a training mission on the Pacific Ocean on March 14, 2021. Photo: Cpl. Lynette Ai Dang, HMCS Calgary, courtesy of the Dept. of National Defence

Grand Forks man part of high seas counter-terrorism mission

Jason Boisvenue, who spent his formative years in Grand Forks, is sailing aboard HMCS Calgary

A Grand Forks sailor is being recognized for his role in Operation Artemis, a recent counter-terrorism mission on the Arabian Sea.

The mission was supported by a multinational coalition known as the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), according to Royal Canadian Navy spokesperson Cpt. Jeff Klassen

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Petty Officer Second Class Jason Boisvenue, who fell in love with boating on Christina Lake, helped plan and execute high seas drug seizures by a tactical squad aboard HMCS Calgary. As second-in-command of Team Alpha Wave, Boisvenue boarded 17 ships found to be carrying large amounts of hashish, heroin and amphetamines bound for East African and international drug markets.

“Being a part of this mission is the highlight of my career,” Boisvenue said.

Members of HMCS Calgary conduct counter-smuggling operations on the Arabian Sea during Op. Artemis. Photo: Cpl. Lynette Ai Dang, HMCS Calgary, courtesy of the Dept. of National Defence

Members of HMCS Calgary conduct counter-smuggling operations on the Arabian Sea during Op. Artemis. Photo: Cpl. Lynette Ai Dang, HMCS Calgary, courtesy of the Dept. of National Defence

Klassen explained that regional drug sales typically bankroll “a number of terrorist groups” operating in Artmesis’s theatre of operations. Within that scope, Alpha Wave set records not just for the most ships taken down by the CMF, but also for the largest heroin seizure by the CMF.

Boisvenue’s proud parents Joyce and Marty said they moved their family from Pincher Creek, Alta., to Grand Forks in 1995. Jason finished primary school at Dr. D. A. Perley Elementary while Joyce and Marty ran the Home Hardware on 72nd Avenue. Jason then attended high school at Grand Forks Secondary.

Members of HMCS Calgary conduct counter-smuggling operations on the Arabian Sea in June. Photo: Cpl. Lynette Ai Dang, HMCS Calgary, courtesy of the Dept. of National Defence

Members of HMCS Calgary conduct counter-smuggling operations on the Arabian Sea in June. Photo: Cpl. Lynette Ai Dang, HMCS Calgary, courtesy of the Dept. of National Defence

His naval career had come as a surprise to his sister Jenny, who still lives in the city. “I used to bug him all the time because he grew up a video game nut,” she joked.

But he’d grown up playing hockey and rugby, and, as Cpt. Klassen noted, his grandfather Ed Boisvenue (d. Aug. 2019) had served in the Second World War. Perhaps it came naturally when, hearing about his friend Vance Brousseau’s time in the armed forces, Jason joined up in 2008.

The Boisvenues said they haven’t spoken to Jason in three months. In that time, Joyce said the family has stayed in touch through Facebook messenger. They never know exactly where he sails, and Jason never shares specifics about what he does.

Worries sometimes creep into the fog of war, but Joyce and Marty said they’re proud of their son’s accomplishments.

“He’s doing an excellent job,” Joyce said. Jason is doing a tough job, but his team is highly trained and “very well-armed,” Marty added.

Boisvenue and HMCS Calgary are set to engage in training exercises with the Australian navy, Marty said. He is expected to return to his base in Esquimalt, B.C. in November.


 

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laurie.tritschler@grandforksgazette.ca

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