Crew members of HMCS Winnipeg receive the NATO Article 5 Medal

Navy News / January 26, 2016

Crew members of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg received the NATO Article 5 medal on January 9, 2016 for their service in support of Operation REASSURANCE, Canada’s contribution to NATO assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe.

For approximately three months of the deployment, Winnipeg’s service with two Standing NATO Maritime Groups (SNMGs) was in support of Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR (OAE), NATO’s mission to build maritime situational awareness in order to detect, deter and disrupt terrorism in the Mediterranean Sea. The ship served on the operation with the German-led SNMG 2 this past July and August, and again with the Portuguese-led SNMG 1 in November and December.

The ship held the medal presentation ceremony on the flight deck during an operational port of call in Goa, India. The event was presided over by Rear-Admiral Gilles Couturier, the Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific, and Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Feltham, the Formation Chief Petty Officer.  

“It was great to get out and visit the crew of HMCS Winnipeg, and it was an honour to present them with their medals,” said RAdm Couturier. “Winnipeg has been doing the business of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) throughout their deployment and they serve as an example of excellence at sea.”

Winnipeg deployed from Esquimalt, B.C., on June 15, 2015 and has been conducting operations and participating in multinational exercises with the SNMGs since mid-July. The crew received their medals shortly before the seven-month milestone of the deployment.

“It was a momentous occasion for all of us,” said Commander Pascal Belhumeur, the Commanding Officer of HMCS Winnipeg and recent medal recipient. “This is the best crew of sailors that I have ever had the pleasure of sailing with throughout my career and they are all very deserving of this honour. We have become a Winnipeg family over the past seven months and we live by the ship’s motto: ‘One with the strength of many’.”

This is only the first round of medals presented. Following a second period of service to OAE in November and December, additional crew members qualified for the medal, which will be received in the coming months.

On the day that the crew received their medals, Winnipeg was replaced by HMCS Fredericton in the Operation REASSURANCE area of operations. Fredericton deployed from Halifax on January 5, 2016, and is the fourth Royal Canadian Navy ship to deploy in support of this mission.