The Air Force Association of Canada (AFAC), a national not-for-profit aerospace organization, recognized excellence in Canadian military and civilian aviation at its annual awards ceremony, held in Quebec City, Que., on Oct. 15.
The award winners included the following Air Force personnel and organizations:
- Captain George Coté, 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Sask.
- Sergeant Joanne Lewis, 14 Wing Greenwood, N.S.
- Captain Ryan Tyler, 1 Wing Kingston, Ont.
- HMCS Toronto Helicopter Air Detachment, 12 Wing Shearwater, N.S.
- Chief Warrant Officer Brian Woodford, 1 Wing Kingston, Ont.
- 424 Search and Rescue Squadron, 8 Wing Trenton, Ont.; 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron, 14 Wing Greenwood, N.S.; 439 Combat Support Squadron, 3 Wing Bagotville, Que.; and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, 8 Wing Trenton, Ont.
In recognition of his outstanding dedication and tremendous commitment to the Captain George Coté, of 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School, 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Sask., was selected from the entire Air Force to receive the esteemed Air Marshal C. Roy Slemon Award for 2011 Air Person of the Year.
His citation reads:
“Capt Coté is nominated as a result of demonstrating his outstanding initiative throughout the past year.
“While working closely with the contracted operations team at the Canada Wings Aviation Training Centre, Capt Coté has made a direct and significant contribution to optimization of the 3 CFFTS pilot training programs.
“His assistance in the development of software based tracking mechanisms enabled supervisory staff and the operations team to directly see training inefficiencies and resource planning issues for all three phases of the training operation.”
Her citation reads:
“Sergeant Lewis is employed as the 14 Air Maintenance Squadron Chief Warrant Officer administration assistant, a role she has fulfilled phenomenally. Her work ethic, dedication and professionalism are unmatched as demonstrated by receipt of two commanding officer commendations for her outstanding support and devotion ensuring numerous events were conducted flawlessly.
“Sgt Lewis's commitment to the squadron, wing and community is admirable. She is always first to volunteer for committee positions and to help organize squadron events. She is also an avid supporter of the community, actively involved in her church as an integral member of the fund raising, financial and social committees.
“Sgt Lewis is without a doubt one of the most professional and dedicated members we have in our squadron. The attributes above, coupled with her remarkably positive attitude, definitely make her an outstanding candidate for Reservist of the Year.”
The Air Marshal W.A. Bishop VC Memorial Trophy was awarded to Captain Ryan Tyler of 403 Operational Training Squadron, CFB Gagetown, N.B., 1 Wing Kingston, Ont., in recognition of extraordinary achievements in tactics and courseware development.
His citation reads:
“Capt Tyler, 403 Helicopter Operational Training Squadron, CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick, 1 Wing Kingston Ont., has been the Aviation Tactics Flight (ATF) firepower subject matter expert 2008-2011. Throughout this time he has demonstrated exceptional leadership and dedication to his unit and the Canadian Forces. Capt Tyler has been heavily involved in tactics and courseware development. His work has been the basis for which operational units employ themselves in support to the Army as well as support to operations in Afghanistan. He has set the standard in areas such as the provision of fire support to the land force, and tactical aviation procedures.
“A gifted tactical aviator and instructor, Capt Tyler's many flying qualifications coupled with his instructional expertise, and strong operational focus, have allowed him to initiate and spearhead ATF's efforts in developing doctrine for the provision of fire support to the land force. He was the lead on developing close combat attack and aerial door gunning training plans, synthesizing allied tactics and then harmonizing them with existing Canadian doctrine. These training plans formed the basis of provision of fire support to ground forces and were critical in facilitating 1 Wing's deployment into a combat environment.
“As a member of ATF, Capt Tyler continuously strives to ensure that his own tactical acumen remains at a high standard by always keeping tactical aviation relevant compared to the contemporary operating environment. His work in fire support has enhanced the relationship between 1 Wing and the Army. His leadership, work ethic and tactical expertise contributed to the ability of 1 Wing units to deploy into a combat environment.”
The Golden Hawks Trophy was awarded to the HMCS Toronto Helicopter Air Detachment, 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron, 12 Wing Shearwater, N.S. for its work during Op Caribbe between Jan. 10 and Feb. 18, 2011.
Its citation reads:
“Armed with legacy and prototype sensors, the CH-124 Sea King and aircrews vastly improved the Recognized Maritime Picture with the aid of the new Augmented Surface Plot (ASP) in the hunt for narco-terrorists and drug smugglers. The use of this system, tested operationally for Op Caribbe specifically, significantly increased ship-helicopter integration and real-time situational awareness. Her maintainers were also called upon several times to find creative solutions to keep the venerable Sea King operational. The Helairdet routinely flew two to three sorties per day, sanitizing the Caribbean Sea and clarifying the surface plot for the international anti-drug effort led by Joint Interagency Task Force (South)(JIATF(S)).
“Of particular note, the HMCS Toronto Helairdet was key to the interdiction of a go-fast (a small, fast boat with a long narrow platform and planing hull to enable it to reach high speeds) loaded with 68 bales of cocaine weighing 1,650 kgs, estimated at a street value of $55 million Cdn. Vectored to the go-fast during the hours of darkness by a strategic air asset leaving its station, the aircrew maintained visual contact, reporting the go-fast's position and activities to HMCS Toronto. Using an array of night vision equipment, the aircrew kept 'eyes on' the target under challenging night time conditions.
“Launched from HMCS Toronto, the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) encountered difficulty locating the go-fast given its low profile and the near-dark meteorological conditions. Unable to find their way through the darkness, the helicopter crew employed radio and visual signals to direct the RHIB alongside the go-fast. During the transit the RHIB lost communications with HMCS Toronto so the helicopter crew immediately stepped in to provide a communications link between the two, ensuring the ship's command team and the United States Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (USCG LED) were kept updated.
“The helo remained on station for a taxing 3.7 hour single sortie, providing over watch with its C6 door gun as the USCG LED took control of the vessel and crew. The cocaine-laden go-fast was then turned over to the Nicaraguan Navy in a historic cooperative multinational effort. Without the efforts of the CH-124 Sea King crew, tracking of the go-fast would have been lost and the interdiction and control of the illicit cargo would not have been possible.”
The NORAD trophy, awarded to U.S. or Canadian personnel or units who typify the NORAD motto, “One Mission-One Team”, was presented to Chief Warrant Officer Brian Woodford the Air Force Non-Commissioned Member Professional Development CWO.
His citation reads:
“CWO Woodford is the Air Force Non-Commissioned Members professional development Chief Warrant Officer. In this role he has proactively taken strategic ownership of the Air Force NCM professional development system and become a subject matter expert on NCM leadership development.
“CWO Woodford can be counted upon to do whatever he can to support Air Force objectives and initiatives. As a volunteer member of the Air Force Speakers Bureau, he gave the keynote address at Remembrance Day assemblies at Canterbury High School and St. Luke Catholic School [in Ottawa]. He is a member of the Air Force Honours and Awards Committee and he has attended numerous engagements on behalf of the Chief Warrant Officer of the Air Force, providing Air Force representation and/or briefings, as required.
“Through his actions over the past year, CWO Woodford has demonstrated his ongoing dedication and commitment to the promotion of the Air Force mission, the preservation of Air Force values and the maintenance of Air Force traditions and heritage.”
The Pilot Officer Andrew Charles “Andy” Mynarski, VC, Memorial Trophy was awarded to 424 Search and Rescue Squadron, 8 Wing Trenton, Ont., 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron, 14 Wing Greenwood, N.S., 439 Combat Support Squadron, 3 Wing Bagotville, Que., and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, 8 Wing Trenton, Ont.
Their citation reads:
“The initial call came to JRCC Trenton on July, 16, 2010 at about 3:00 pm for an overdue DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver with six persons on board. The aircraft had radioed that it was landing due to bad weather, but it was not heard from when the weather improved. The 424 Sqn CC-130 Hercules and CH-146 Griffon were initially tasked, and with the Hercules only 30 minutes from the search area, the crashed Beaver was spotted by another aircraft. A survivor was seen waving from the broken fuselage.
“With the true spirit of teamwork and cooperation, two lives were saved in a terrible plane crash in northern Quebec where four other lives were lost. In a joint effort involving four units; JRCC Trenton, 424, 439 and 413 Squadrons, the mission to rescue the two survivors in the harsh, austere, wooded environment 160 kilometres (100 miles)north of Bagotville was accomplished in a most professional and expeditious manner.
“The Hercules crew hastily prepared for a live parachute insertion of two SAR techs, while JRCC requested further assistance from 439 and 413 Sqns as the crash was now confirmed with possibly six survivors, too many for the single Griffon from 424 Sqn to handle. At around 6:00 pm the two 424 Sqn SAR techs parachuted into a rough landing zone 800 metres from the crash site with 20 knot winds. After a safe landing they made their way to the crash site where they could hear someone banging on the fuselage, and on arrival they were met by a 15-year-old boy who appeared unhurt, but in shock. He led them to another survivor, his 59-year-old uncle, who had severe burns, but was conscious. Confirming that the other four persons had perished in the crash, one of whom was the boy's father, the SAR techs called for the helicopter extraction and set to work stabilizing the two patients, and preparing them for transport.
“By this time a Griffon from Bagotville was able to put together a crew and were expected to arrive at the crash site by 8:00 pm, with the Cormorant and 424 Sqn Griffon soon after. With enough helicopter assets capable of rescue, JRCC recalled the 424 Sqn CH-146. The 439 Sqn Griffon arrived on scene and hoisted their two SAR techs into the crash site to assist. After about one hour they extracted the two survivors and delivered the patients to a hospital in Chicoutimi, Que., but the helicopter did not have enough room for the 424 Sqn SAR techs and their equipment. The Cormorant was tasked to recover the remaining SAR techs and the deceased, along with the extra equipment and return them to Bagotville. Due to the severe condition of the burn victim the 439 Sqn Griffon was subsequently tasked at around midnight to medevac him to the burn unit in Quebec City.
“All the crews completed long crew days to accomplish the mission, with the CC-130 crew having worked a full 18 hours. The dedication, commitment, and resourcefulness of the crews were exemplary. 439 Sqn had to piece together a crew from members on leave, and the Cormorant crew was assisting in a mission outside of their normal SAR region. The fact that JRCC was able call upon three different units who can work so easily together to accomplish one mission is a testament to the high level of training, proficiency and flexibility within all units of the national SAR system. This mission is a testament to the outstanding quality of the men and women that make up our SAR units, all extremely devoted to saving human life, reflecting the SAR tech motto, "That Other's May Live."”
Congratulations to all of the award recipients!
With files from AFAC.