Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) Jason Boisvenue, 37, has come a long way since going to Grand Forks Secondary School.
He is currently deployed in the Canadian warship Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Calgary and played a key role as one of the ship’s boarding team leaders on the recently finished Operation (Op) ARTEMIS, a successful counterterrorism and maritime security mission in the Middle East.
On Op ARTEMIS, PO2 Boisvenue was with the ship’s organic boarding party, callsign ‘Alpha Wave’*.
The boarding party is a tactical unit made up of different trades on ship and their training skillset is such that they are able to conduct ‘maritime interdiction’ operations. On Op ARTEMIS this meant travelling to suspicious vessels (most frequently ‘dhows’) and seizing any illicit goods (typically illicit narcotics).
PO2 Boisvenue’s position was as the team’s second-in-charge.
His callsign was ‘Alpha Two’, and he played the hands-on leadership role of managing the team during the boardings. He worked closely with the officer-in-charge of the team, ‘Alpha One’ to plan the tactical aspects of missions.
“It’s very fulfilling to put in a lot of work training and planning, and then to see that work come to fruition. It helped I had an amazing team of course,” said PO2 Boisvenue.
The Alpha Wave boarding team is trained in and conducted vessel searches, security, and handling contraband.
PO2 Boisvenue was part of the team that made HMCS Calgary’s 15th seizure on their recent deployment. By getting 15 seizures the ship broke the record for the most seizures by any ship in the history of the operation. They went on to make a 16th and a 17th seizure – PO2 Boisvenue was part of those boardings as well.
PO2 Boisvenue joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2008 partly because he was “looking for an adventure”.
He was working as a roofer in Grand Forks and his best friend, who was switching over from the Canadian Army to the Royal Canadian Navy, showed him a boatswain recruitment video. The trade appealed to his blue collar background.
“Boatswain is a very hands-on trade, the blue collar trade for the navy, and I wanted to do that,” he said. “I’m not really comfortable always being behind a computer.”
He spent two years as a boarding team instructor at CFB Esquimalt before getting posted to HMCS Calgary. When he joined the crew of HMCS Calgary in 2020 he was an obvious candidate to become ‘Alpha Two’.
“This operation and being a part of this mission is the highlight of my career,” said PO2 Boisvenue. “Coming over and making a difference by helping to defund criminal and terrorist organizations is a big deal for me.”
PO2 Boisvenue moved to Grand Forks when he was 12 and attended Dr. D. A. Perley Elementary School and Grand Forks Secondary School.
He played on local minor hockey teams, his high school rugby team, and was really into skateboarding.
He worked a number of jobs in the area before joining the Royal Canadian Navy. He recalls how boating on Christina Lake helped prepare him for his boatswain career.
His sister Jennifer lives in the area and runs the hair salon, JJ’s Cut & Style. Many people in the area may remember his grandfather Ed Boisvenue who was a World War II veteran and very active with local Legion.
*Note: HMCS Calgary deployed with an embarked Naval Tactical Operations Group (NTOG) team on Operation ARTEMIS. This is a special team that embarked with the ship specifically for the operation. As the ‘organic boarding team’, Alpha Wave is always with the ship, even when not on operations, and was used in the latter half of the deployment after the NTOG team disembarked.
Petty Officer Second Class Jason Boisvenue trains with HMCS Calgary’s boarding team ‘Alpha Wave’ on 14 March, 2021 at sea in the Pacific Ocean during OPERATION PROJECTION. Photo credit Corporal Lynette Ai Dang, Her Majesty's Canadian Ship CALGARY, Imagery Technician ©2021 DND/MDN CANADA