Returning back for another deployment of Operation REASSURANCE, the HMCS Fredericton has been sailing on the Mediterranean Sea for close to a month now. During this short time, the crew of Fredericton has gotten straight to work integrating with their NATO partners and supporting missions.
Op. REASSURANCE is Canada’s commitment to NATO in Central and Eastern Europe. The CAF supports NATO assurance measures through the provision of military capabilities for training, exercise, demonstrations and other tasks.
It took one week for HMCS Fredericton to travel across the Atlantic after leaving on Jan. 8 from Canadian shores with a crew of 250. Upon reaching their destination, they integrated with other NATO partners and joined the NATO maritime fleet near the island of Sardinia.
“In my opinion, the greatest accomplishment, so far, has been the last two weeks of just integrating with our allies on this task in an effort to build interoperability and enhance capabilities of the task force. So, that’s really something that all members of the ship are quite proud of,” said Commander T. MacLean, Commanding Officer, HMCS Fredericton.
Since deploying, the crew of Fredericton has spent two weeks supporting Active Endeavour, a NATO mission launched after 9/11 to counter terrorism in the area. Their tasks during this patrol included hailing vessels, creating awareness about the mission, and, if need be, respond to intelligence.
The overall goal of Op. REASSURANCE is to show support to NATO partners in the region, especially in light of recent Russian aggression to Ukraine. The specific goals of the crew of Fredericton include building on previous deployments by building on interoperability, improving military-to-military relations and diplomatic relations.
“When a ship like Fredericton goes into a port a piece of Canada goes into that port, so we are continuously building on those relations and the best part of Op. REASSURANCE is building on the assurance measures for our NATO partners in this neck of the woods,” noted MacLean.
In addition, they must remain vigilant to potentially save the lives of the refugee population currently migrating through the area.
HMCS Fredericton also visits various ports along the Mediterranean.
“We get to go to a number of ports to wave the NATO flag and more importantly, in my opinion, is to wave the Canadian flag throughout this region,” said MacLean.
Reflecting on the operation, MacLean is honoured to represent Canada.
“Personally, and I think it reflects just about every member of my crew, they all come from all over Canada, there is an enormous pride we all have to wave the Canadian flag and show, on a world stage, what 250 trained and dedicated Canadians can accomplish… in my position I have the opportunity to meet some of the local dignitaries in places we go and of course talk to the other ships’ captains from the other NATO countries. Because of Canada’s contribution of an asset like Fredericton they are overwhelmed with respect and there’s this sense of camaraderie and closeness with Canada, and it’s really rewarding to see that look on their faces,” noted MacLean.
HMCS Fredericton replaced HMCS Winnipeg. The ship will remain various locations of the Mediterranean Sea until July.
Above Photo: German Naval supply ship, FGS BONN sails past while Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) FREDERICTON departs Cagliari, Italy on January 19, 2016 during Operation REASSURANCE. Photo: Corporal Anthony Chand, Formation Imagery Services HS2016-A007-011