HMCS Montréal returns to Halifax following NATO exercises

Sailors were showered with hugs and kisses on Friday as families reunited on the deck of HMCS Montréal during its homecoming ceremony in Halifax.

Ship had been part of Task Group Exercises, Exercise Joint Warrior and Exercise At Sea Demonstration 2015

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      Sailors were showered with hugs and kisses on Friday as families reunited on the deck of HMCS Montréal during its homecoming ceremony in Halifax.

      "It's quite an impressive feeling to come back after being away for so long and seeing your family, seeing the way the city has changed," said Sub-Lt. Duncan Wolfe, holding his two-year-old son Brett.

      "Learning the things I've learned over the last two and a half months has been an experience I'll never forget."

      The ship returned after two and a half months at sea participating in three military exercises: Task Group Exercises, Exercise Joint Warrior and Exercise At Sea Demonstration 2015. 

      The exercises are meant to "enhance the combat readiness of units, improve unit interoperability, and confirm operational military preparedness," according to a National Defence statement released Thursday. 

      The training focused on gunnery, maritime tactics, air defence, submarine defence and air operations.

      'I'm going to sleep in'

      The ship departed Halifax this fall, as did five others — Athabaskan, Goose Bay, Summerside, Windsor and Halifax — as part of ongoing co-ordination with NATO. The Department of National Defence says HMCS Montré​al is the last ship to return to Halifax.

      Standing with his wife Pamela Grinton, Lt. Alex Grinton said he was eager to see his daughter Valerie.

      "It's just fantastic. I can't believe how much I missed her," he said. 

      Pamela Grinton, meanwhile, said there was one thing she was looking forward to after 10 weeks of her husband being away.

      "I'm going to sleep in," she said with a laugh.

      The feeling of being successful in their mission was shared among the ship's company. 

      "It's excellent. It felt great. We accomplished a lot of things," Leading Seaman Mark Carter said.

      "I met his Royal Highness Prince Charles. We did a lot of good with the Montréal. Kept the family updated, they were all giggles. They tell me they get to pick the restaurant that we get to go to on the way home."

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