Teary farewells as HMCS Fredericton deploys to the Mediterranean Sea


A warm embrace as a sailor says farewell to a young loved one.


Ryan Melanson, Trident

As HMCS Fredericton prepared to depart Dockyard Jan. 5 to join Operation Reassurance, the ship’s new command team and young crop of sailors received words of advice from RAdm John Newton, Commander Joint Task Force Atlantic and Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT).

“I want every sailor aboard Fredericton to know there is somebody beside you and somebody more junior who has not had the same level of CAF or RCN experience. I want you to put your arm around that person and give them the best deployment in the CAF they’ll ever have.”

RAdm Newton said the tempo and importance of the mission, with the goal of promoting security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe, will make for exciting and demanding work, and will likely be one of the fastest deployments of a sailor’s career.

“So make sure they get access to their training, all the welfare and morale services, sports, all the mess privileges, and make sure they come home having had the best experience possible.”

Fredericton and its ship’s company will spend six months in the Mediterranean Sea working with NATO allies in support of surveillance and monitoring, regional defence, capacity building and diplomatic engagement.

The ship itself returned from an initial seven-month deployment to Op Reassurance in July of 2015, where it became the first ship to deploy following completion of the Halifax-class Modernization/Frigate Life Extension program.

This time around, with a largely new crew, some sailors leaving the jetty on the frigid afternoon were doing so as their first major deployment. One of those was MS Kristian Fitzgibbons, who waved from the flight deck as daughters Madison and Chloe held up signs with goodbye messages.

“This is his very first deployment, so it will be tough,” said his wife Jennifer, who described emails, journals and a home countdown calendar as ways the family plans to deal with the absence.

It was those loving and supporting family members, gathered in the cold to see the crew off, which Fredericton’s Commanding Officer, Cdr Trevor MacLean focused on when he addressed the crowd prior to departure.

“You guys are the support structure that allows us to do what we do and go off to accomplish this mission for the Government of Canada,” he said.

He also thanked the MARLANT community and other friends of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) for support as he and his team worked to bring Fredericton up to a level of operational readiness.

The contingent gathered on the jetty included VAdm Mark Norman, Commander RCN; Cmdre Craig Baines, Commander Canadian Fleet Atlantic; a group of retired admirals and commodores, and BGen (Ret’d) J.J. Grant, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.

“Over the last six months we’ve gone through one of the most intensive programs that I have ever been a part of, and we’ve received wonderful support through that,” Cdr MacLean said.

In a statement, Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, remarked on the importance of having the presence of Fredericton and its 250-person crew as part of Standing NATO Maritime Forces.

“The deployment of our modernized Halifax-class frigates and their world-class capabilities on Operation Reassurance demonstrates the Royal Canadian Navy`s continued readiness to respond to the security objectives set forth by the Government of Canada and the interoperability we share with our NATO allies,” he said.

Fredericton will replace HMCS Winnipeg when it arrives in the Mediterranean, and is  expected to return to Halifax in June.

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  1. Lookout says:

    Check with Esquimalt MFRC Here is the link http://esquimaltmfrc.com/deployment/

  2. Trisha Sutton says:

    Not sure how to find a support group or information on the deployment ?? can some one direct me in the right area please .

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