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HMCS Halifax leaves for deployment as part of NATO support for Ukraine

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HMCS Halifax has set off for a six-month deployment supporting NATO within the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Families and associates of the 253 members of the ship’s firm hugged their family members and waved goodbye below a gray sky Saturday afternoon on a Halifax jetty.

The Canadian navy frigate will likely be lively within the North Atlantic and be part of allied ships within the Baltic area as part of Operation Reassurance. The ship can also be deploying with an embedded air detachment working a Cyclone helicopter out of 12 Wing Shearwater.

Defence Minister Anita Anand attended the departure. She thanked Halifax’s crew for their service in her remarks.

“At this time it is so important for us all to be united, to stand together, to stand against unwarranted and illegal Russian aggression, and to stand up for peace, deterrence and the defensive posture on which NATO is built,” Anand mentioned.

Defence Minister Anita Anand, left, waves with relations as HMCS Halifax departs Halifax in support of NATO’s deterrence measures in japanese Europe on Saturday, March 19, 2022. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)

HMCS Halifax was initially slated to sail to the Middle East within the subsequent few weeks for a counterterrorism operation. But the frigate and crew will as an alternative head to northern Europe, retasked by the federal authorities as part of Canada’s larger military support package.

It will be part of one other Canadian ship already abroad supporting NATO within the operation. Last month, HMCS Montreal arrived within the Mediterranean area as part of a beforehand scheduled deployment.

“You are making a difference. Your presence in Europe will help Canada meet its NATO commitments and show our friends that we are there for them in good times, and in bad. In tough times we are with them,” Anand mentioned.

Megan Ellis (left) poses along with her sons, Clifton and Lincoln, on the jetty along with her husband Matthew Ellis (above) earlier than he set sail with HMCS Halifax on March 19, 2022. (Taryn Grant/CBC)

Megan Ellis and her sons, Lincoln and Clifton, had been on the jetty Saturday to wave goodbye to their father, Matthew Ellis.

The boys mentioned they’d spent tons of time bowling, going out to dinner and watching motion pictures with their dad final week earlier than he needed to sail.

Both Lincoln and Clifton mentioned they had been “a little worried” whereas watching him depart.

“I’m more sad today,” Megan mentioned. “The worry will come.”

Ron Nash was additionally there to ship off his brother. He mentioned their household has been speaking with him to verify he is “mentally prepared” for the deployment.

“Hopefully … he’ll be safe and able to come back safely,” Nash mentioned.

Cmdr. Dale St Croix, commanding officer of HMCS Halifax, mentioned it was “heartwarming” for the ship’s crew to see the support from Nova Scotia politicians, dignitaries and federal representatives like Anand and Gen. Wayne Eyre, chief of the defence employees.

“We’re ready, willing, eager, and able to proceed overseas, conduct whatever mission the government of Canada has for us,” St Croix mentioned in the course of the Saturday occasion.

“I’ve never been prouder to work with a crew as such that are right behind me.”

Cmdr. Dale St Croix, commanding officer of HMCS Halifax, speaks to households of the crew, media and politicians on Saturday earlier than the ship left for a six-month deployment within the Baltic area as part of Operation Reassurance. (CBC)

St Croix has advised CBC the ship will be there to “help defend if need be” as nations like Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland are all on the border of battle.

He added that the ship might also want to help with humanitarian efforts. 

Halifax’s subsequent port of name will likely be in England, the place the ocean coaching group disembarks. The ship will then co-ordinate with NATO allies earlier than persevering with to the Baltic space.

The deployment is meant to final till July, however might be prolonged, mentioned St Croix.

The Halifax-class frigates have been in service because the early Nineties. HMCS Halifax was the primary ship of the category to be constructed.

Canada is finalizing plans for a fleet of new Canadian surface combatants, which might change the growing old frigates.

However, the present ships are nonetheless maintained on Canada’s East and West coasts and are deployed on missions around the globe.

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