12 Wing Commander

Colonel James Hawthorne

Colonel James Hawthorne

Colonel James Hawthorne, from Shelburne, ON, enrolled in the Canadian Forces in June 1994 under the Regular Officer Training Plan. Graduating from the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) Kingston, with a Bachelor of Engineering – Civil, he commenced pilot training serial 9803 and received his wings in December 1999. Posted to 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron in Patricia Bay, B.C., he was employed as a Sea King pilot, Crew Commander, Instrument Check Pilot, Squadron Standards Pilot and Deputy Squadron Training and Readiness Officer.

In August 2005, Colonel Hawthorne was posted to the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Studies in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to attend the Aerospace Systems Course serial 58. Upon completion of the Aerospace Systems Course in July 2006, he was posted to the Helicopter Operational Test and Evaluation Facility in Shearwater, N.S., as a Project Officer before being seconded as the Wing Commander’s Executive Assistant.

Promoted to Major in June 2008, Colonel Hawthorne returned to 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron in B.C. as a Detachment Commander and as the Squadron Training and Readiness Officer. Deployed as the Detachment Commander aboard HMCS WINNIPEG from February to June 2009 off the east coast of Africa, he received the Commander Canadian Expeditionary Force Command Commendation for his and the detachment’s role in thwarting pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden. Returning to Canada early from the deployment, he was posted to the Canadian Forces College in Toronto to attend the Joint Command and Staff Programme serial 36.

Upon graduation from the Joint Command and Staff Programme and completion of his Masters of Defence Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) Kingston, in June 2010, Colonel Hawthorne was posted to Ottawa as Special Advisor 2 to the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. Selected as a Military Assistant to the Minister and Associate Minister of National Defence in July 2011, he received the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation for his significant and positive impact of the support provided to the Ministers.

In May 2012, Colonel Hawthorne was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and posted to 12 Wing Shearwater, N.S., as the Wing Operations Officer responsible for Canadian Armed Forces Sea King operations around the globe. In June 2013 he assumed command of 12 Wing for seven weeks before reluctantly relinquishing command to the Wing Commander Designate in August 2013. He returned to his duties as the 12 Wing Operations Officer until June 2014 when he deployed to RIMPAC 2014 as the Master Air Attack Plan Chief and subsequently received the 1 Canadian Air Division Commander’s Commendation for his tireless dedication to mission and personnel. Returning to Shearwater in August 2014, Colonel Hawthorne commenced French language training.

Posted to the Canadian Joint Operations Command in July 2015 as the Deputy J9 Engagements, and subsequently Deputy J3 Operations in March 2016, Colonel Hawthorne assumed the current role of JointEx 17 Officer Directing Exercise upon being promoted to Colonel in July 2016.

In July 2017, Col Hawthorne was posted to Canadian Forces College, Toronto (CFC) where he recently completed the National Securities Programme.