Jul 28, 2020
By Jeremy Logan
Nearly three months after a helicopter crash claimed the lives of six crew members, HMCS Fredericton returned to its home port of Halifax Tuesday.
After a six-month deployment, the Royal Canadian Navy frigate sailed into port accompanied by Nova Scotia’s fabled schooner Bluenose II and the navy’s training sailing vessel HMCS Oriole.
A navy band played military music and a line of Air Force personnel stood dockside holding cardboard letters spelling out “Welcome Home!”
But in remarks to the crew and gathered dignitaries, the vessel’s commanding officer, Commander Blair Brown, referred to the tragedy that marred the mission.
“When we departed in January, none of us knew the challenges that we would be facing overseas on Operation Reassurance” Brown said.
The mission was rocked when the frigate’s CH-148 Cyclone helicopter known as Stalker 22 crashed into the Ionian Sea off the coast of Greece on April 29th while returning from a NATO training mission.
That crash caused the worst single-day loss of life for the Canadian Armed Forces since six soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan on July 4th, 2007.