Navy Petty Officer Renee Grimm tried to be strong for her three children and husband as she hugged them goodbye before boarding the HMCS Iroquois on Saturday.
“It’ll be quick, though, won’t it guys,” said the Upper Tantallon mother, her voice quivering with emotion. “We’ll be home soon.”
Nearly 300 sailors left Halifax on Saturday morning bound for the Arabian Sea on a six-month mission to help protect against maritime terrorism.
The mission is part of Operation Altair, Canada’s role in the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom.
Grimm said she’s planned various activities for her children to look forward to while she’s gone, such as a summertime visit with their grandparents.
But she admitted there’s nothing she can do to prepare her from being away from her family.
“It’s hard,” she said. “You just know that you’re doing it for a good reason and you just have to do it.”
Her husband, who’s also in the Navy, understands what it’s like to be away, but that didn’t make saying goodbye any easier.
“I’m still feeling my way through,” said Navy Petty Officer second class Perry Grimm. “I’m in the Navy too, so I’m getting the other end of it. It’s hard.”
The trip is Grimm’s second on the Iroquois. A year-and-a-half ago she also took part in a five-month NATO exercise aboard the ship.
For this mission, the Iroquois will meet two west-coast based ships, HMCS Calgary and HMCS Protecteur, near the Panama Canal.
From there they will head toward the Middle East, joining seven other vessels from other countries in Task Force 150.
Commodore Bob Davidson, who will command the three Canadian ships onboard the Iroquois and be in charge of more than 800 crew, said they will patrol about 2.1 million square kilometres stretching from the Strait of Hormuz to the Suez Canal and down to the coast of Africa to Kenya.