More than half a year after HMCS Regina set sail from CFB Esquimalt, family and friends were on hand to welcome the Royal Canadian Navy frigate’s crew home on Monday morning.
HMCS Regina left for the Asia-Pacific region in early February and participated in a number of operations while deployed with Naval Replenishment Unit Asterix and a CH-148 Cyclone helicopter.
The journey took them to places including the South China Sea, East China Sea, Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, the Middle East and Australia.
“It’s a great feeling to be home,” said Commander Jacob French, commanding officer of HMCS Regina.
“The ship’s company is absolutely excited to be back, it’s thrilling too see all the families here.”
It marked the first time a CH-148 Cyclone had been deployed on a west-coast based frigate, with a crew from 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron in Pat Bay.
“To have that air detachment on board brings so much to the table in terms of capability,” said Cmdr. French.
“Anti-submarine capability, surveillance capability, it’s just great to have.”
Master Seaman Jeffrey Haines returned with more than just stories to share from the high seas.
He cut hair in the ship’s barber shop for the entire deployment raising more than $9,400 for Canadian Tire Jumpstart, a program to ensure kids in need have equal access to sports and physical activity.
Haines confessed he’d had to learn how to cut hair by watching YouTube before the deployment.
“It was 550 haircuts, I got pretty good at doing haircuts by the end of it,” Haines said during a cheque presentation.
For some of the crew, it was a chance to see how much had changed since February.
Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter pilot Jonathan Mishrigi was welcomed by wife Nathalie, a Constable with Oak Bay Police, and 23-month-old twin boys Cairo and Phoenix.
“It’s so good to be home,” he said.