The last of the Canadian pilots and aircrew who helped enforce a UN-sanctioned no-fly zone over Libya have returned home to a military air base in Nova Scotia.
Soon after a CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft touched down Saturday morning at Canadian Forces Base Greenwood, there were scores of tearful reunions on the tarmac among the crews' family and friends.
The Canadian air units had been in the Mediterranean since the spring.
The Aurora was part of Operation Mobile, Canada's contribution to the NATO-led mission to protect civilians in Libya.
For the duration of the operation, the aircraft flew out of Sigonella, Italy, a major naval air base on the east coast of Sicily.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay was on hand for the welcome-home ceremony at 14 Wing.
“Canada once again punched above its weight as part of an international coalition,” Mr. MacKay said in a statement.
“The men and women of the Canadian Forces confirmed their leadership position at NATO.”
On Friday, the seven CF-18 fighter jets that took part in the mission returned to their air base at CFB Bagotville in Quebec.
The Canadian navy was also dispatched to the region after the UN security council passed a resolution in March that called on the international community to protect civilians in Libya following an uprising against the dictatorship of Moammar Gadhafi.
Col. Gadhafi was killed by rebel troops last month.