In a scene filled with hugs and kisses, crews aboard HMCS Summerside and HMCS Shawinigan returned home to Halifax after a four-month deployment in the Baltic Sea.
The ships sailed out of Halifax Dockyard in July to participate in Operation Reassurance, a NATO mission that took them through Europe to deter Russian aggression.
Both vessels focused on mine hunting and disposal in the Baltic region.
The crews say it was a relief to finally make it back to Nova Scotia soil.
“It’s great, it’s been a long trip,” said Perry White, who was deployed on the mission.
Kyle Staden, who also served on the mission, said it was rewarding to visit new places.
“I’ve travelled to more countries than I have my whole life so it’s been awesome overall,” said Staden.
Family members of those deployed say nothing compares to having them back home in time for the holidays.
“My son Malcom has been asking, ‘How many days, how many days?’” said Victoria McLellan, whose husband was on the mission.
“We have a calendar at home with a countdown and my little ones kind of not really understanding what’s going on but she knows that daddy’s coming back today and she’s filled with excitement.”
That sacrifice of being away from their families, is not overlooked.
“I’m extremely proud and I’m glad to see them going home to their families, and they should be proud of what they did,” said Rear- Admiral Josee Kurtz, commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic.
According to Maritime Forces Atlantic, Operation Reassurance is currently the Canadian Armed Forces’ largest overseas mission.
Operation Reassurance will continue with HMCS Charlottetown, which will leave in late June 2024 for a six-month deployment.
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