Maritime patrol fallen are not forgotten

News Article / October 25, 2017

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By Sara Keddy

Maritime patrol is “not for the faint of heart,” Major Alex Gignac, VP International (VPI) president said on October 1, 2017, as members of VPI gathered at 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia, for the association’s annual memorial service. “Our work carries added risks, unique in aviation. We share a special bond the world over.”

Twenty-three nations are represented in VPI, which is headquartered in Greenwood: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of South Africa, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States. The organization’s goal is “promoting understanding and recognition of maritime and long-range patrol organizations and their impact on military aviation”. “VP” is the Canada/U.S. designator for military fixed-wing, maritime patrol aircraft employed in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, anti-surface and anti-subsurface operations.

Thirteen of these—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Spain, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States—pay respects to 1,860 aviators who have lost their lives in service to their country since 1947. VPI’s Book of Remembrance, which is held at the Greenwood Military Aviation Museum, records those individuals’ names and contributions, and is rededicated each year at the memorial service. No new names were added in 2017.

“There are over 5,000 members of VPI around the world,” said 14 Wing Greenwood commander Colonel Mike Adamson, VPI patron. “Today, we stand with them in solidarity to remember all those who have gone before. And, at this moment, VP crews around the world continue to do the work that protects: at 14 Wing, we are flying missions in support of Operation Impact and other day-to-day missions. We do not forget.”

Colonel Adamson charged VPI with continuing to maintain and honour the Book of Remembrance, a task accepted by Major Gignac.

Fourteen wreaths were laid at the memorial, located at the main gate of 14 Wing Greenwood, including two by visiting American Navy and Navy Reserves designates. A reception followed at the VPI Centre nearby.

Sara Keddy is the managing editor of the Aurora newspaper at 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

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