HMCS St. John’s departs for operation

HMCS St. John’s crewmembers line the rails as the ship departs Halifax on Operation Reassurance.

HMCS St. John’s crewmembers line the rails as the ship departs Halifax on Operation Reassurance.

Darlene Blakeley, Navy Public Affairs Ottawa ~

Family and friends watched as HMCS  St. John’s, covered in a thin layer of fresh snow, left the jetty Jan. 16 on its six-month deployment.

HMCS St. John’s left for the Mediterranean Sea on Operation Reassurance, the Canadian Armed Forces’ contribution to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe.

“Today is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by the crew of HMCS St. John’s,” said Rear-Admiral Craig Baines, Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT), who was on hand to see the ship off. “In fact, not only did they have to prepare for this deployment, but in the fall they were our go-to ship to head down south to help out after the devastation that was wreaked by hurricanes in the Caribbean area. And I think this, in very real terms, shows the flexibility of sea power.”

Speaking directly to the families, RAdm Baines underlined the importance of both training and deterrence to the mission.

“It’s very important that all of our nations be able to operate together if and when required in the future,” he said. “St. John’s is a very high-end contribution to Op Reassurance.”

St. John’s, under the command of Commander Gord Noseworthy, will be part of Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1), one of NATO’s maritime immediate reaction forces.

Prior to sailing, Cdr Noseworthy commented that the past eight months have been extremely busy for crew members as they prepared for the mission.

“We have already sailed thousands of miles and spent many weeks away from home in preparation for our upcoming deployment,” he said. “Now that day is upon us. We are all extremely excited to get underway as we set sail east to represent Canada overseas.”

He paid special recognition to the crew, supporting agencies throughout MARLANT, and the families.

“(The families) have done most of the heavy lifting in the time we have already spent away, and who will continue to carry the heavy burdens while we are deployed. It is that support that enables us to go forward and execute our mission. ”

This marks the second deployment on Operation Reassurance for St. John’s; its first was from January to July 2017.

St. John’s will take over from HMCS Charlottetown, which has been deployed as part of SNMG1 for the past six months. Charlottetown is expected back in Halifax later this month.

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