Commander Paul Smith was born in Lionel Town, Jamaica and grew up in North York, Ontario. In July 1986, Cdr Smith enrolled in the Canadian Naval Reserve as a Naval Combat Information Operator at Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship YORK. After completing his General Military training the following summer, Cdr Smith conducted training in several reserve vessels before being posted to the Minesweeping Auxiliary vessel HMCS ANTICOSTI in 1993. He was later posted to HMCS WHITEHORSE, as the Senior NCIOP and a member of her commissioning crew. After attaining the rank of Petty Officer Second Class, Cdr Smith was nominated for, and obtained his Commission to the rank of Sub-Lieutenant. Cdr Smith earned his Bridge Watch-keeping certificate in HMCS KINGSTON. He was subsequently posted back to Canada’s East Coast Fleet where he served in several positions in each of the KIN class ships, including as Executive Officer in HMC Ships SUMMERSIDE, MONC- TON and SHAWINIGAN. His shore tours included positions as Deputy Mine Warfare Officer at the Fifth Maritime Operations group; Canadian Fleet Atlantic Port Security Unit Operations Officer, and as Executive Officer of Minor Warship Sea Training. In July 2014, Cdr Smith took command of HMCS KINGSTON and in doing so, became the first Black ship’s Captain in RCN history. While in command of KINGSTON, he was fortunate enough to patrol the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic as part of the search for the lost Franklin Expedition ships HMS EREBUS and TERROR. In 2015, he transferred to Command of HMCS SUMMERSIDE where he conducted exercises in the Mediterranean with the Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group, counter-drug patrols in the Caribbean sea as part of Op CARIBBE, and served as Task Force Commander for Op PROJECTION – Western Africa, in support of the Royal Canadian Navy’s first deployment to the Gulf of Guinea region in over 10 years. Post-command positions included Senior Staff Officer Analytics and Readiness as Naval Force Readiness and Senior Staff Officer Europe, Africa, and Middle East at the Maritime Component Commander’s staff. Cdr Smith was later appointed acting Commandant of Naval Fleet School (Atlantic) and was tasked with restarting the East coast training system post-COVID. Cdr Smith is blessed with an incredibly supportive wife and two amazing sons.

Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class (CPO2) Andrew Payton joined the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) at His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) YORK in April 1997 as a Naval Combat Information Operator. Upon completion of initial recruit training at Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Quebec, he spent the next several years completing trade training in Halifax, Esquimalt and Quebec City, all while pursuing a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) degree program.

CPO2 Payton has served aboard three Kingston Class ships – HMC Ships SUMMERSIDE, SASKATOON and MONCTON, polishing his trade skill sets in deployments that took him from Portland, Oregon, through to St. John’s, Newfoundland. His core contribution to the Naval Reserve has been Force Generation at the unit level, and he spent many of his formative years leading the NCI Op section as a Divisional Petty Officer. CPO2 Payton then went on to work with the Training Department, both as a Recruit Training Instructor and Recruit Training Divisional Petty Officer, before moving into other senior roles as HMCS YORK’s Regulating Petty Officer and Operations Chief.

In spring 2020, CPO2 Payton was appointed to a Senior Operations role with the Naval Reserve Training and Support Cell (NRTSC). As a member of the NRTSC team, he provided critical assistance and feedback for exercise planning and on-site monitoring and mentorship for small boat exercises conducted at various Naval Reserve Divisions across Canada. In July 2021, while still part of NRTSC, CPO2 Payton was appointed as Acting Coxswain of HMCS GRIFFON for 7 months. On August 31, 2022, he was subsequently appointed to his current position as Coxswain of HMCS YORK.

CPO2 Payton lives in Mississauga, Ontario, with his wife, who is also a member of HMCS YORK, and their two children. In his civilian career, he is employed as a Cloud Solutions Architect in the Marketing and Services industry. CPO2 Payton enjoys the outdoors, including hiking, camping and biking, and has been a passionate volunteer with Scouts Canada since 2015.