Safe travels HMCS Winnipeg


The crew of HMCS Winnipeg said goodbye to their families last Monday prior to departing for Operation Reassurance.

Last Monday, tears, embraces, and heart-felt good-byes were exchanged between the crewmembers of HMCS Winnipeg and their family and friends.

Shortly after 10 a.m. the brow was removed and the lines hauled in as the warship set sail for a deployment that could last up to nine months.

Before plotting a course for the Mediterranean Sea where it will join Operation Reassurance, Winnipeg and crew will take part in Operation Caribbe, a multinational effort to combat drug trafficking in the Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean.

Prior to leaving Esquimalt, Commodore Bob Auchterlonie, Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific, addressed the crew.

“The level of support you are seeing right now will stay with you as you travel throughout the globe,” he said.

“You have an absolutely tremendous opportunity ahead of you. Many of you joined the navy to see the world and you are going to be doing that over the next eight months.”

Winnipeg’s Commanding Officer, Cdr Pascal Belhumeur praised the crew for its diligence and determination in preparing for a mission that comes with a great deal of responsibility.  

“My pledge to the families is I am going to take care of the people while we are deployed,” he said.

“Operation Reassurance is NATO’s response to Russian aggression in the eastern Ukraine and it’s important for us to show that Canada takes collective defence of NATO seriously, and to also show our NATO partners, who feel threatened by aggression, that we are committed to the mission.”

Winnipeg will replace HMCS Fredericton, which is nearing the end of its deployment in the Mediterranean.

After leaving CFB Esquimalt, Winnipeg sailed past Clover Point off Dallas Road in Victoria where members of the public waved goodbye to the crew before they headed out into the great expanse of the Pacific to begin their mission.

Peter Mallett
Staff writer

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