- No. 408 Squadron RCAF
Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 408 "Goose" Squadron
start_date= June, 1941
role= Tactical Helicopter
command_structure= 1 Wing
motto= FOR FREEDOM
battle_honours= English Channel and North Sea 1941–43, Baltic 1941–43, Fortress Europe 1941–44, France and Germany 1944–45, Biscay Ports 1941–44, Ruhr 1941–45, Berlin 1943–44, German Ports 1941–45, Normandy 1944, Rhine, Biscay 1942–43
identification_symbol= Canada Goose in Profile
The 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron is a unit of 1 Canadian Air Division's 1 Wing. It is co-located with
1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Groupat Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Edmonton.
Equipped with 16
CH-146 Griffonhelicopters, it rotates a high combat-readiness level with 427 Squadron ( CFB Petawawa, Ontario) and 430 Squadron ( CFB Valcartier, Quebec). Its primary role is in support of contingency operations and vanguard brigades requiring tactical helicopter resources.
No. 408 Squadron's mandate also includes supporting
UNand NATO peacekeepingoperations, land force training, and support to other government departments. For example, 408 Squadron's eight Griffons were assigned to support the Canadian contingent in the Balkans in 1999. Their job was to ferry small teams of paratroopers, infantrymen, and tankers to certain areas to check out water reservoirs, power grids, suspected weapons caches, minefields, and mass grave sites.
Given the rough terrain in Bosnia, the squadron proved invaluable for conducting aerial reconnaissance, observation, and transportation.
No. 408 Squadron's history dates back to
June 24, 1941, when RAF Bomber Command's directive called for the formation of 408 Squadron as part of No. 5 Group RAF. It was to be the second Royal Canadian Air Force(RCAF) bombersquadron formed overseas. Goose Squadron, as it was to become known, was initially based at Lindholm in Yorkshire, England, and equipped with Handley Page Hampdens. During the war, the Goose Squadron changed from the Hampden aircraft to Halifax, to Lancaster (in August 1943), to Halifax, and back to Lancaster aircraft.
It flew 4,610 sorties and dropped 11,340 tons of bombs. A total of 170 aircraft were lost and 933 personnel were killed, listed as missing in action (MIA) or prisoners of war (POW). Squadron members won two hundred decorations, and 11 battle honours for its wartime operations.
September 5, 1945, 408 Squadron was officially disbanded.
January 10, 1949, Goose Squadron was reformed at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario. Equipped with eight Lancaster Mark X photographic aircraft, it was tasked with the mapping of Canada, specifically the far North. In 1962, the squadron was issued a flight of T-33aircraft and given the additional task of photo reconnaissance missions in support of Army exercises.
February 29, 1964, the Lancaster aircraft were retired and replaced with Dakotas. The Goose Squadron was moved to Rivers, Manitoba, and re-designated as a Transport Support and Area Reconnaissance Squadron.
May 1, 1964, RCAF Station Rivers Transport Support Flight with its C-119 Boxcars was transferred into 408 Squadron. In 1965, the Boxcars were replaced by CC-130 Hercules aircraft. As the decade drew to a close, 408 Squadron was once again redesignated. On October 1, 1968, it started its long history with 10 Tactical Air Group as a "Tactical Fighter Squadron".
During this post-war era, the squadron would fly a total of seven different aircraft, the Lancaster, Cansos,
Norseman, Dakotas, Boxcars, T-33s, and Hercules aircraft. Late in 1970, the squadron was once more disbanded.
Its primary tasking is to provide tactical aviation to the army. The mission includes air mobile assault, air ambulance, air observation, reconnaissance insertions, troop movement, airborne command and control platform and dropping
paratroopers. In September 1996, the squadron was re-equipped with CH-146 Griffon helicopters.
* [http://www.airforce.forces.ca/hist/408sqn_e.asp DND - History of 408 Squadron]
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