Our people: Major Jane Yoon, Air Task Force A4 for Operation Laser

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News Article / May 12, 2020

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“We got engaged on January 1st, and our plan was to do a small wedding with just family members,” says Major Jane Yoon. “We were both naive that, despite what’s going on in the world, somehow it wasn’t going to affect our wedding plans. During the week that was supposed to be leading up to our wedding day, things started to slowly fall apart.”

Major Yoon is a Logistics Officer currently posted to 2 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, a designated high readiness unit. Her wedding was scheduled for Sunday, March 22, in Toronto. But on Tuesday, the city declared restaurants had to close, cancelling the wedding reception. Then discussion about borders closing started, threatening the arrival of those coming from away. On Friday, the Chief of the Defence Staff released a directive stating military members couldn’t travel further than a 250-kilometre radius.

Major Yoon’s fiancé, Captain Paul Carroll, is a CC-177 Globemaster pilot living in Trenton, Ontario—800 kilometres away.

“We didn't even have enough distance to meet halfway,” she says. Finally, she got the call from the courthouse saying it was shutting down. “By that point we realized we just needed to make the call and cancel our wedding.”

But there were more unscheduled changes to come. Instead of finalizing the logistics of her much-anticipated wedding, she deployed to Kingston, Ontario, on April 5, as the Air Task Force A4 for Operation Laser, the CAF’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Major Yoon joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2007 while attending the University of Toronto.

“I wanted to be a fashion designer so it’s funny how I ended up here wearing the same uniform for five days straight,” she says. “But yeah, I wanted to go to New York and be a fashion designer and I thought going into logistics would be a good launching point for me.”

After graduating with her Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, in 2009, Major Yoon began her career as a logistics officer upon completion of her training in Borden in 2010.

In 2017, she deployed for six months to Iraq, for Operation Impact, where she supported the Special Operations Task Force. In 2018, she deployed on Operation Lentus in Smithers, B.C. as part of Air Task Force Lentus to provide air effects in support of the provincial efforts in fighting wildfires with 2 Wing. “It was kind of like drinking from a fire hose, she says, but I had a lot of fun and learned a lot. It was a short one. But the stuff that I learned on that deployment, I'm applying on this domestic deployment.”

“I love being part of operations and being pushed outside of my comfort zone,” she says. And currently at 2 Wing, this is the perfect place to do so. 2 Wing is the spearhead of the Royal Canadian Air Force, where members can be deployed very quickly and must maintain a high level of availability. They receive training to activate aerodromes and pave the way for the arrival of the Air Task Force.

This past January, Major Yoon deployed as the Airfield Activation and Surge Team (AFAST) Commander in support of Operation Illumination in Iceland. “As the AFAST commander it was the first time I didn’t have a direct boss above me in location. I was able to make the call on how things were going to be done and in what order. I thought it was going to be my last deployment with 2 Wing because I’m posted to 1 Canadian Air Division this year. But…here I am!”

“We’ve been seeing in the news a lot of people really affected by this, small businesses and people in the service industry losing jobs,” she says. “And being here on Op Laser, I feel like I’m doing my small part in contributing to something and I’m not sitting at home reading the news and feeling sad.”

As the A4 for the ATF, she has her job cut out for her as this size of domestic operations has not been done before. Her job is to support the regional Air Detachments across the county, each of them with their own logistical requirements and challenges.

Despite the challenges, Major Yoon is optimistic that the logistics piece of the operation is coming together. And while her wedding is postponed until next summer, she’s also seeing the positives in her personal life thanks to her fiancé. “He’s been reinforcing the fact that we’re very, very lucky despite all of this stuff that’s going on.”

Of course, all that reinforcing is done from a distance, because Major Yoon is in Kingston and her fiancé is in Trenton in self-isolation when not flying.

“Because we're both military, we understand each other and the challenges that come with being a service couple,” she says. “We're able to talk to each other about it and support one another. So yeah, I have somebody who understands what I’m going through and vice versa.”


 

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