Executive Summary


Richard Dowker is a husband and father owing more happiness than he can describe to his
family. His beloved, two great kids, two happy dogs, one pain-in-the-butt cat are the center of his life. He served for over thirty years (1987-2017) in the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal
Canadian Navy achieving the rank of Commander. He started as a bridge watch keeper in steam
destroyers and then specialized in Anti-Submarine Warfare including passive acoustics. Taking
the road less travelled, he became a Clearance Diving Officer and Explosive Ordnance Disposal
technician with qualifications from Canada, the US and the UK. He commanded a Fleet Diving
Unit, HMCS WINNIPEG (a Halifax Class Canadian Patrol Frigate) and Sea Training Pacific
(where he was the Officer in Tactical Command of ships and small Task Groups). He led the
NORAD Maritime Warning team in Colorado Springs evaluating and tracking maritime threats
to North America for four years before retiring to Victoria BC. Richard gave up his semiretired
part time positions, Navy Marine Science Instructor and Coast Guard Planner for Africa to work full time as a CEO. Now all that is behind him, except a little bit of consulting on the side to feed his gaming habit, to follow his writing passions.


The Detailed/Rambling Version


He joined the Canadian Forces in 1987 after completing one year of a BSc specializing in
genetics (it really taught him that he wasn’t ready to be in a lab just yet). Born in Winnipeg’s
French neighbourhood of St Norbert, he grew up with the smell of pulp in his nose at Prince
George BC and an almost suburb of Edmonton called St Albert AB as well as spending his
summers in Watrous SK near the salt water Lake Manitou (which had a greater density than the
Dead Sea). After Basic Training in beautiful and rainy Chilliwack BC, he attended Second
Language Training in St Jean Quebec and started Naval Officer training in Esquimalt BC,
January 1988.
After leaving VENTURE, he sailed in the steam driven destroyers HMCS MARGAREE and
NIPIGON (among others) as a Sub-Lieutenant Officer of the Watch. He was promoted to
Lieutenant and served as the Underwater Warfare Officer in HMCS OTTAWA (firing the last
400lbs Anti-Submarine Warfare Mortars in the Navy) before taking the plunge and deciding to
specialize as a Clearance Diving Officer. He qualified as a Canadian Clearance Diver in 1992, a
United States Navy Salvage Diver in 1993, a Canadian/USN Explosive Ordnance Disposal
(EOD) Technician in 1994, a Royal Navy Mine Countermeasures Officer in 1995 and a
Canadian Improvised Explosive Ordnance Technician in 1996. He led the team that completed
the first iteration of Canada’s tactics for covert shallow water mine countermeasures by divers
and a $350k project for the Navy’s first portable Remote Operated Vehicle: the Phantom IV.
Next, Lieutenant (Navy) Dowker was placed on exchange with the Royal Navy as the Officer in
Charge of Northern Diving Unit Two (also known as the Scotland Northern Ireland Clearance
Diving Unit) in 1997 and bomb disposal became the name of the game. He also completed the
United Kingdom’s Joint Service Improvised Device Disposal Course qualifying him to counter
terrorist and criminal explosive devices for the civilian police as well as the military. In his first
year, the Northern Diving Group completed 297 bomb disposal calls from military and civilian
authorities. After two years of Explosive Ordnance Disposal, submarine repair and general
Clearance Diving duties in Faslane Scotland, he returned to Canada.
He joined HMCS MONTREAL (his first new gas turbine guided missile frigate) and sailed in
her until he took the Operations Room Officer Course in 1999. Still Lieutenant (Navy) Dowker,
he sailed in HMCS WINNIPEG for deployments to the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. He also
had a cameo in a Navy recruiting video that was used for over a decade (no doubt due to his
commanding appearance). On return from the second deployment in 2003, he was promoted to
Lieutenant Commander and assumed Command of Fleet Diving Unit Pacific. During his time,
the FDU(P) team tested and brought the new 180 metre helium/oxygen Canadian Underwater
MCM Apparatus (a $500k diving set project) into service.
In 2005, he was appointed Executive Officer in HMCS ALGONQUIN (an area air defence
destroyer and the Flagship of the Pacific Fleet) managing 280 personnel and a $750k budget.
This was followed by a posting as the Executive Officer of SEA TRAINING PACIFIC. After
providing mentorship and assessment to ships on both coasts, he was selected to attend Staff
College in Toronto ON. After completing Staff College in 2008, he was appointed as a Staff
Officer for Maritime Plans and, later, Domestic Operations in Canada Command. While at
Canada Command, he represented the Canadian Armed Forces in the IMSWG
(Interdepartmental Maritime Security Working Group) and worked closely with Transport
Canada and the Coast Guard in developing the initial Marine Emergency Response Protocol. He
planned the H1N1 vaccination plan for the entire CAF as well as oversea members of the RCMP
and assisted in the plans for isolated northern communities. Oversight of the CAF role in the
Vancouver 2010 Olympics was one of his portfolios until it expanded into its own staff in
Canada Command.
He had the great good fortune to Command HMCS WINNIPEG from June 2010 to July 2011.
His first day at sea was to be the lead ship in a formation anchorage of sixteen multi-national
naval vessels including a USN aircraft carrier and organizing Force Protection for the entire
flotilla. His second operational task was to support the RCMP and CBSA by intercepting and
taking charge of the Motor Vessel Sun Sea providing a prize crew to support the RCMP by
sailing the vessel back to Esquimalt with her almost 500 Tamil refugees onboard. Following a
busy year of domestic operations, sovereignty patrols, training and international exercises, he
was appointed as the Commander Sea Training Pacific where he mentored Captains and assessed
the operational readiness of HMC Ships for two years of almost constant sea time.
Commander Dowker’s next challenge was in NORAD and the little known Maritime Warning
Mission. He spent four years in Colorado Springs evaluating operational and intelligence
reporting from all major military and civilian maritime organizations searching for threats to
North America from the Maritime Domain. Along with building Maritime Domain Awareness,
NORAD built bridges and solid lines of communications between both agencies/organizations
and nations. His time in NORAD spent in the operations and intelligence communities with
working under Cheyenne Mountain being a favourite part of the job.
Finally retiring in 2017, Richard Dowker lives in Colwood with his beautiful (and
understanding) wife Kirsten, their two children (Naiya and Griffin), and two dogs, a cat, a gecko,
four chickens, half a dozen quail and a rat. Unable to stay retired, he’s already working as a
Marine Science Instructor (ship handling, operational planning, Rules for Collision Avoidance
and Command) as well as supporting the Canadian Coast Guard’s Capability Building plans in
Africa.

Richard continues to work as a consultant and author while he pursues his dream of becoming a published novelist.