427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron (SOA Sqn)
427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron (SOA Sqn), located at CFB Petawawa, Ontario supports the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM).
A Special Operations Aviation Squadron under CANSOFCOM, 427 Squadron is equipped with the CH‑146 Griffon helicopter.
The Squadron serves CANSOFCOM by providing an aviation capability to all the units within this command. It also serves Army operations by providing tactical airlift of troops and equipment, casualty evacuation and logistical support, and supports search and rescue operations in central Canada when required.
International and Humanitarian Missions
The Squadron has also taken an active role in humanitarian efforts such as the January 1998 Ice Storm in Eastern Canada, where the Sqn deployed eight aircraft to Ottawa and Kingston, and the November 1998 mission to help the victims of Hurricane Mitch . On only 24-hours notice, four 427 Squadron Griffons deployed to La Ceiba, Honduras. Once in the beleaguered country, Griffon crews worked around the clock, airlifting medical teams into communities cut off by the hurricane.
In 2003, 427 Squadron Griffon crews Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of the NATO Stabilization Force (SFOR) .
427 Squadron has the distinction of having its own coin. The red squadron coin first appeared in 1942-1943 when Metro Goldwyn Mayer adopted the squadron, issued it to its members and as legend has it, provided them with a "lifetime" pass to MGM theatres.
|427 Squadron Badge|
The Badge of 427 Squadron shows a lion rampant in front of a maple leaf. The combination of a lion representing England and the maple leaf Canada indicates the formation of this squadron in England.
World War II
427 (Lion) Squadron was formed on November 7, 1942, as the eighth of fifteen Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Bomber Squadrons formed overseas. The squadron flew Wellington aircraft out of Croft, Yorkshire; then Halifax and Lancaster bombers out of Leeming from May 3, 1943. Its first Commanding Officer was Group Captain Dudley Burnside, DSO, OBE, DFC & Bar. Initially part of 4 Group, the Squadron was transferred to 6th Bomber (RCAF) Group where it remained until the end of the war.
The Lion Squadron amassed an enormous amount of flying hours and won an impressive list of Battle Honours and individual distinctions. In 3,200 sorties comprising 26,000 flying hours, they dropped an incredible amount of high explosives on Fortress Europe and its ports. During the war, 415 personnel were lost, another 121 were shot down and taken prisoner, and 14 escaped to allied lines. Indicative of the selfless bravery of the Lion crews were four Distinguished Service Orders, two Conspicuous Gallantry Medals, 16 Distinguished Flying Medals, and 147 Distinguished Flying Crosses.
On May 24, 1943, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer adopted the Squadron and allowed the names of such stars as Lana Turner, Greer Garson, Joan Crawford, Heddy Lamarr, and others to be displayed on the aircraft.
In addition, MGM presented a bronze lion to the Squadron. This gift and the affiliation with the MGM lion mascot strengthened the Squadron's nickname. Another highlight was the presentation of a lion cub, named Mareth, by the Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Reactivated as Fighter Squadron
On August 1, 1962, the Lions were reactivated as a Fighter Squadron flying F-86 Sabres at St-Hubert, Quebec, before moving to Zweibrucken, Germany. The Squadron subsequently served in France, Morocco and Sardinia, as ambassadors for Canada, before becoming the first Canadian squadron to be equipped with the CF-104 Starfighter in 1962. The Squadron was again disbanded on July 1, 1970.
Tactical Helicopter Squadron
The Lions returned on January 1st, 1971, as a Tactical Helicopter Squadron based at Petawawa, Ontario, where they are to this day.
Originally equipped with the L-19 Bird Dog, they received soon after the CH-136 Kiowa light observation helicopter, as well as the CH-135 Twin Huey utility helicopters.
The Squadron has participated in numerous overseas operations such as Norway, Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula (Operation CALUMET), as well as a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Central America (Operation SULTAN). In 1992, 427 Squadron switched to a uniform fleet of CH-135 Twin Hueys. Soon after, in March 1993, a flight of Lions deployed to Somalia in support of Operation DELIVERANCE where they distinguished themselves in day and night operations. Maintaining its versatility in deployed operations, 427 supported United Nations support missions in Haiti from 1995 to the present on Operations PIVOT and STABLE).
427 Squadron retired the Twin Huey in July 1997, while receiving the last of the newly purchased BELL CH-146 Griffon Fleet. The Lions have used the Griffon in a number of operations to date, including Operation RECUPERATION (1998 Ice Storm), Operation CENTRAL (Honduras 1998), Operation HURRICANE (Artic 1999), Operation
Palladium Roto 5 (1999-2000), Roto 7 in 2000-2001, and was the driving force behind Operation Palladium Roto 11/12 in Bosnia 2002-2003.
On February 1, 2006, the unit was renamed 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron and became a part of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM). As part of this newly formed command, 427 SOA Sqn provides an aviation capability to the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR), Joint Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Defence Company (JNBC Coy), and JTF2.
The Squadron will honor its glorious past by continuing to respond to today's challenges while looking forward to those of the future.
Ferte Manus Certas (Strike with a Sure Hand).
- Major *English Channel & North Sea 1943-1945
- Baltic 1944-1945
- Fortress Europe 1943-1944
- France & Germany 1944-1945
- Biscay 1944
- Subsidiary: * Ruhr 1943-1945
- Berlin 1943-1944
- German Ports 1943-1945
- Biscay Ports 1943-1944
- Normandy 1944