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Al Blondin

Joined 6 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado USA

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Grandfather, Sailor, Communications Advisor, Philosopher and Technician

Lieutenant (Royal Canadian Navy) Alain (Al) Blondin is a Canadian military Public Affairs Officer currently serving as communication advisor to the Canadian Deputy Commander of NORAD in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He recently completed a stint as the 3 Area Support Group Senior Public Affairs Officer at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick, Canada. He joined the Canadian Forces Public Affairs Branch in the fall of 2006 after serving four and a half years as a Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officer (MARS) in surface warships. Since joining the Branch he completed the Defence Public Affairs Course, immediately followed by the Canadian Forces public affairs officer conversion course before being posted to Maritime Forces Altantic (MARLANT) in July 2007.

Within a few months of his posting to MARLANT, the sailor was off to Exercise Maple Guardian at CFB Wainwright in Alberta, then to CFB Petawawa and CFB Kingston, in Ontario and finally to Fort Bliss in Texas, in preparation for a 10 month tour in Kandahar at the Canadian-led Task Force Kandahar Headquarters for the end of ROTO 5 and beginning of ROTO 6. In Afghanistan, Blondin was responsible for the embedded media program and served as the operations and Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team PAO. Among many incidents, this deployment featured the Sarpoza Prison break, an IED incident that injured two journalists and the abduction of CBC’s Mellissa Fung.

Following his return to MARLANT in March 2009, Lt (RCN) Blondin was assigned the 2009 Great Lakes Deployment and joined HMCS Ville de Québec for a successful Navy recruitment effort in central Canada for which he received a commendation from the Commander of MARLANT.

While still on Christmas leave in January 2010, the earthquake in Haiti struck and Blondin, like many other sailors, interrupted his leave to join HMCS Athabaskan as Canadian Task Group Public Affairs Officer under Captain (RCN) Art MacDonald. Although extremely demanding, OP Hestia was the highlight of his career and his efforts were rewarded by a commendation from Task Force Haiti Commander Brigadier-General Guy Laroche.

Upon returning from Haiti, the naval task group PAO jumped into the fray for preparations surrounding the Naval Centennial International Fleet Review and visit from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. He was then posted to CFB Gagetown in July 2010 where he is now serving.

Alain has been married for 29 years to Lee-Ann Blondin who returned in September 2010 from serving over four months with the Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency at Kandahar Airfield. His 28 year old son, Master Corporal Yvan Blondin returned in May 2010 from a six month deployment as Electronic Warfare Technician in Afghanistan. Yvan came home to his pregnant wife, Tina, who gave birth to the Blondin’s first grandchild in July. The new grandpa’s second son, 27 year old Master Seaman Ryan Blondin, currently serves as a Boatswain on board HMCS Iroquois. He deployed to support maritime security for OP Podium for the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.

Al Blondin initially joined the Navy as a Marine Engineering Mechanic in early 1982 where he served in submarines HMCS Ojibwa and Onondaga. He deployed on various Cold War patrols and exercises until he was honourably discharged almost four years later. He reenrolled as a MARS Officer in Ottawa with his oldest son 16 years after his discharge, and served in Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships Oriole, Ottawa, Summerside, Algonquin, Athabaskan, Fredericton, Ville de Québec and Iroquois as a bridge watchkeeper before being recommended for Public Affairs in 2006.

The ex-submariner was born the first of six children on a farm in Western Quebec. In addition to his military experience, he worked in various civilian occupations for 21 years. These include jobs as a truck and bus driver, as construction worker, hydraulic and pneumatic service technician, direct sales (vacuum and encyclopaedias) industrial salesperson, church minister, and industrial mechanic where he owned and operated his own company for seven years.

Al Blondin graduated from Hull Technical School in Construction and cabinet-making in 1977, and from Tyndale University College and Seminary with a Bachelor of Religious Studies in 1995. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Relations degree from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. The new grandfather loves his new role, enjoys playing most sports, especially squash, and is passionate about philosophy, books, writing, sailboats and motorcycles. Of all he has accomplished in the last 33 years, Al considers raising and mentoring his two sons his greatest achievement.

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