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    On March 19, 177 soldiers returned from Operation UNIFIER’s Roto 4, with the large majority of personnel being comprised of members of the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (3 RCR). They were greeted by family and friends, happy to see them return home safely. (Above) After a long bus ride from Trenton, Ont, the soldiers made their way into Building S-118 where they were met by various unit Command Teams as well as their loved ones. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Major Jeff Day’s daughter Piper Day, 3, receives a shoulder ride from her dad who returned home Tuesday evening. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Proud father Tom Fitzpatrick made the trip down from Newfoundland to welcome his daughter Captain Ash Fitzpatrick home. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Joint Task Force-Ukraine (JTF-U) and 3 RCR Commander Lieutenant-Colonel Kristopher Reeves was embraced by his daughters Dalia and Amira as soon as he walked through the doors. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Loving couple Corporal John Rodi and Jesse Harrison reunite. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Master Corporal Lloyd Edison embraces 7-month-old Isaac. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)


 

 


Warm welcome home for Operation UNIFIER Roto 4 personnel

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday March 22, 2018


There were tears of joy as the main body of Roto 4 of Operation UNIFER returned home after more than six months away.

Friends and family were gathered in the S-118 halls, eagerly anticipating the arrival their loved ones on the evening of March 19. Together they welcomed back 177 soldiers, which comprised the bulk of the rotation minus a few who remained or left early to help ease the transition. Most of those coming home were from the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment (3 RCR).

“Having the families here was key because we wanted everybody to have the chance to see their loved ones as soon as possible,” said Captain Daniel Mazurek, Public Affairs Officer, Garrison Petawawa.

Joint Task Force-Ukraine (JTF-U) and 3 RCR Commander Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Kristopher Reeves himself was greeted by his family. Before heading home, he took the time to thank the families in attendance for their patience and dedication over the long deployment.

Being back home was a huge relief, he admitted, as there is a careful balance one must keep when working abroad. Yet all of his troops surpassed expectations.

“Ukraine was phenomenal because every single task force member embraced the mission like I’ve never seen in 22 years of service,” said LCol Reeves. “They did their tactical task but they embraced the people of Ukraine, the soldiers, the culture. They were warrior-diplomats.”

There were accolades all around for the Canadians’ professionalism, and LCol Reeves gave credit as well to previous rotations for laying the groundwork for the mission.

“But I will say this task force, because of the people we brought from Petawawa and around Canada, just took it to a whole new level,” said LCol Reeves.

JTF-U has mentored more than 6,200 Ukrainian soldiers, and there have been 129-course serials that covered all types of training with a focus on tactical soldier training. This roto first started its training in two locations, but expanded to eight locations throughout Ukraine and is looking to turn that into 12 locations.

“We just approached the mission from a position of respect and I think that really paid dividends for us,” said LCol Reeves.

Another contingent of soldiers was deployed to Ukraine last week under the leadership of the Royal Canadian Dragoons Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Fraser Auld. They will follow the proud legacy forged by 3 RCR.