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HMCS Charlottetown sends Christmas greetings during deployment

Commander Jeff Hutt, left, signs over command of HMCS Charlottetown to Commander Nathan Decicco, right, in a ceremony held recently in Kiel, Germany. The change-of-command certificate was overseen by the reviewing officer, Commodore Craig Skjerpen, who is Commander of Canadian Fleet Atlantic. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Commander Jeff Hutt, left, signs over command of HMCS Charlottetown to Commander Nathan Decicco, right, in a ceremony held recently in Kiel, Germany. The change-of-command certificate was overseen by the reviewing officer, Commodore Craig Skjerpen, who is Commander of Canadian Fleet Atlantic. SUBMITTED PHOTO

While they’re currently deployed in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, members of the HMCS Charlottetown crew have the ship’s namesake city in their hearts and minds today.

Commanding officer Nathan Decicco wrote an open letter expressing the crew’s wishes for P.E.I. residents to have a warm and happy holiday season.

The crew is currently deployed on Operation Reassurance in support of NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures in Europe.

As part of an annual tradition, Royal Canadian Navy veteran Blair MacKinnon read the letter on radio station 95.1 CFCY on Saturday.

Decicco said it has been an exciting and busy year for the ship, which included raising more than $30,000 for the P.E.I. chapter of the Children’s Wish Foundation during the annual Run for Wishes.

“A fundraising goal which could not have been accomplished without the generosity of the people of Prince Edward Island itself,” wrote Decicco. “Overall, (HMCS) Charlottetown received a tremendous amount of support from Prince Edward Island, and I cannot thank you enough.

“Especially when we must be away from Canada, this support encourages us and makes our time away easier; it reminds us there are people back home thinking of us.”

There are fives crew members from P.E.I. currently serving on the ship including Aviator Roxanne Jussaume, Leading Seaman Mark Prout, Petty Officer Second Class Bradley Harrington, Petty Officer First Class Scott Shaw and Lieutenant Dustin Allen.

Decicco said he wanted to send a special thank you to the family and friends of those five members.

“The value of the support you are providing to them cannot be overstated,” wrote Decicco. “ To close, I would like to once again offer the residents of Prince Edward Island a warm and happy holiday season.”

The ship is expected to return home in mid-January.

The full text of the letter is written below in bold.

On behalf of myself and all of the crew of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) CHARLOTTETOWN, I would like to begin by wishing everyone listening a safe and happy holiday season. Additionally, I would like to thank Mr. Blair MacKinnon for reading this letter on my behalf in order to allow me to continue this annual tradition.
I am Commander Nathan Decicco, and I am the Commanding Officer of the HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN. As I write this, HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN is deployed in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea on Operation REASSURANCE, in support of NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures in Europe.
This was a very exciting and busy year for the ship, beginning with our turn-over from the previous crew of CHARLOTTETOWN in January of this year and culminating in our commencement of Operation REASSURANCE. HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN departed her home port of Halifax, N.S. on the 8th of August to begin our transatlantic passage to Europe. The first half of our deployment was spent operating as part of Standing NATO Maritime Task Group 1 (SNMG1) in the North Sea, Baltic Sea, and Mediterranean Sea, which included participation in two-multi-national exercises in conjunction with ships from countries including Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Poland, France, Great Britain, Turkey, and Greece. During the months away, we worked with NATO allies and regional partners to build a better awareness of non-allied activities in the Baltic and North Sea and illicit activities in the Mediterranean, and provide increased security to legitimate mariners throughout the region.
Prior to our deployment, HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN had the privilege of visiting Charlottetown, P.E.I. on Canada Day to celebrate Canada 150 alongside our namesake city. While alongside, we had more than 3,000 visitors over three days of tours and held a reception alongside to recognize the fundraising efforts of our Run for the Wish team. The team raised more than $30,000 dollars which was donated to the Prince Edward Island chapter of the Children’s Wish Foundation, a fundraising goal which could not have been accomplished without the generosity of the people of Prince Edward Island itself. Upon our departure from Charlottetown, we also sailed wit ha special guest – “Captain” Patrick Murphy – who was a welcome addition to our crew as our honorary Commanding Officer for our return to Halifax.
Overall, CHARLOTTETOWN received a tremendous amount of support from Prince Edward Island, and I cannot thank you enough. From the regular publications in The Guardian which allowed us to share photos and articles with the community to your reading of this letter on local radio, you help us remain connected to our namesake city and province. Especially when we must be away from Canada, this support encourages us and makes our time away easier; it reminds us that there are people back home thinking of us.
I would like to send a special thank-you to the families and friends of CHARLOTTETOWN’s Islanders. We have five crew members from Prince Edward Island; Aviator Roxanne Jussaume, Leading Seaman Mark Prout, Petty Officer Second Class Bradley Harrington, Petty Officer First Class Scott Shaw and Lieutenant (N) Dustin Allen. The value of the support you are providing to them cannot be overstated. Thanks again.
By the time you read this HMCS Charlottetown will be operating in the Mediterranean, expecting to begin our return home in mid-January. For some, this will signal the end of their time aboard HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN, while other crew members will take some much deserved leave and then return to the ship to help prepare for our next mission.
To close, I would like to once again offer the residents of Prince Edward Island a warm and happy holiday season.

Yours aye,

N.G. Decicco
Commander
Commanding Officer, HMCS CHARLOTTETOWN

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