Chief Petty Officer First Class Michael Howlett was born and raised in Stephenville, Newfoundland. He enrolled in the Navy on 6 November 1980 as a Hull Technician. Upon completion of QL-3 training at Canadian Forces Fleet School Esquimalt in July of 1981, he was posted to HMCS Margaree in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
After QL-5 training and postings to HMC Ships Preserver and Saguenay , Master Seaman Howlett was posted to Canadian Forces Fleet School Esquimalt, first as a QL-6A student then as an instructor. Promotion to Petty Officer Second Class and QL6-B training followed, which led to a posting to HMCS Saskatchewan. After Saskatchewan, it was back to Fleet School as a welding instructor, a promotion to Petty Officer First Class and a posting to HMCS Winnipeg as the Senior Hull Technician. A promotion to Chief Petty Officer Second Class and a posting back to Fleet school led to a posting to Sea Training Pacific as the Chief Hull Technician. Promoted to Chief Petty Officer First Class in Sea Training, Chief Petty Officer First Class Howlett was posted to the Damage Control School as the Divisional Chief Petty Officer before joining HMCS Algonquin as Coxswain in 28 June 2007.
Pancreatic cancer forced Chief Howlett to step down as Algonquin’s Coxswain on 31 August 2009, and took him from us on 17 March 2010; a well-attended funeral followed on his 50th birthday. Mike will be missed but his legacy will live on in those he has inspired. Algonquin's Chief and Petty Officers’ Mess has been rechristened Howlett’s Hideaway and the inaugural Mike Howlett Dance, Dance, Dance 1970s party will be held in 2011, details remain to be determined. The theme for the 2012 Dance, Dance, Dance Party will be 1980s; it is expected that Dance Dance, Dance 2013 will see a return to the 1970s rather than progressing into the 1990s but one never knows.
The Algonquin Master Seaman & Below Mess has committed to organizing the ship’s company in support of Pancreatic Cancer Canada’s annual 5k Your Way! fundraise. Whether at home, abroad or at sea, Algonquins will walk and run in support of early detection and treatment of this terrible disease.
Annual Algonquin awards for tradecraft and leadership will formalize Mike's legacy. The tradecraft award will recognize excellence in the workplace at the Ordinary to Master Seaman rank while the leadership award will recognize the Master Seaman or Petty Officer who best personifies Mike's maxim that not only do our sailors matter, they are the only thing that matters.