HMCS Fredericton latest ship to deploy to Op REASSURANCE
By Ryan Melanson,
The next chapter in the Royal Canadian Navy’s ongoing commitment to Operation REASSURANCE got started on January 20 at HMC Dockyard, with HMCS Fredericton departing Halifax for a six-month deployment to the Mediterranean.
Fredericton’s deployment marks the 13th time a Canadian vessel has sailed to the region since the RCN began supporting the mission in 2014. The ship and its crew will join Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2), which is in place to reinforce NATO’s collective defence and assure Central and Eastern European allies of their security and stability in the face of Russian aggression and other regional threats.
Family, friends and colleagues gathered at Jetty NB in the morning to say goodbye to crew members and see the ship off, with dignitaries including local MPs and The Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, along with Her Honour Mrs. Patsy LeBlanc, also in attendance.
Cmdre Richard Feltham, the Commander of Canadian Fleet Atlantic, expressed pride in both the ship’s crew, who have had a long road of training and readiness work-ups to prepare for the deployment, as well as both the military and civilian shore staff who supported them along the way.
“The Fleet Maintenance Facility, as always, has performed miracles in getting the ship set and ready on time, and the Sea Training Group has done their part getting the best out of this crew, who have all performed admirably through the process,” he said.
The large departure and homecoming ceremonies held for these extended deployments tend to focus on family, who often provide crucial support to deployed sailors, taking on extra burdens to allow them to focus on the tasks at sea rather than worrying about day-to-day troubles back home.
“The love and support of all the family members gathered here today is incredibly important. I want to give a personal thank-you to each and every one of them,” said Cdr Blair Brown, Fredericton’s Commanding Officer.
“There’s a lot of excitement on board, and we know we’ll face challenges that are lying ahead, but we have a fantastic crew and it’s an honour and a privilege to serve alongside these sailors.”
Cdr Brown also thanked the Halifax and Region MFRC for their support to sailors and families leading up to the mission, and the continued support and resources they’ll provide to their families in the months ahead.
Fredericton is now expected to join NATO partners with SNMG2 in the Mediterranean in the coming weeks, beginning a program of patrols, interoperability exercises, and port visits, all designed to strengthen Canada’s relationships with allies while strengthening NATO’s maritime presence.