HMCS Winnipeg returns home following eight-and-a-half month deployment with historic first kiss

HMCS Winnipeg returned to Esquimalt today after an a eight-and-a-half month deployment in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific.

The first kiss following a long deployment at sea is a time-honored tradition at Navy homecomings and for the first time in history, that kiss took place between two men.

With cheers erupting from a crowd at CFB Esquimalt’s dockyard on Tuesday, Master Seaman Francis Legare was finally able to embrace his partner Corey Vautour, after more than eight months at sea and they shared the first-ever kiss between two men.

Legare, who is originally from Quebec, bought tickets for the draw that decides who gets the first kiss and to his surprise, won.

“I just bought a ticket because all the money goes to charity, I wasn’t thinking I was going to win,”  Legare told Global BC.

HMCS Winnipeg, which has a crew of 250, departed CFB Esquimalt on June 15, 2015, to participate in Operation Reassurance, Canada’s contribution to NATO assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe.

During the course of its deployment, HMCS Winnipeg conducted operations with 102 ships from 20 different NATO navies and visited 16 countries, including 10 NATO nations.

The ship and its crew participated in two operations, including one in support of NATO in Central and Eastern Europe, and a multinational campaign against illicit trafficking in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean.

While docked in Tokyo, two members of the military and one civilian were detained by Japanese authorities for the alleged use of a controlled substance. One was released, while the other two remain behind bars in Tokyo.

Some facts about the vessel and its activities from the Canadian Forces:

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