Operation Impact Tactical Aviation Detachment welcomes new commander

On April 24, 2017, Maj Jim Shewchuk of 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron assumed command of the Operation Impact Tactical Aviation Detachment. He took over from Maj Mathieu Bertrand of 430e Escadron tactique d’hélicoptères. This change of command took place at a ceremony at Camp Érable in Erbil, Iraq.

Incoming Tactical Aviation Detachment Commander, Maj James Shewchuk addresses the crowd during the transfer of authority ceremony held in Camp Érable, Iraq during Operation IMPACT. (Photo has been digitally altered for OPSEC purposes.) RCAF Photo
Incoming Tactical Aviation Detachment Commander, Maj James Shewchuk addresses the crowd during the transfer of authority ceremony held in Camp Érable, Iraq during Operation Impact. (Photo has been digitally altered for OPSEC purposes.) RCAF Photo
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Col Luc Guillette, Commander of Air Task Force-Iraq, presided over the ceremony. He spoke briefly about the outstanding support that 430 Squadron has provided to the Global Coalition’s fight against Daesh in the form of tactical transport. He also highlighted that a new chapter was about to begin with Shewchuk at the helm, and with 408 Squadron ready to support the Coalition.

Shewchuk took a few moments to speak about the significance of the detachment that he now commands. “The Tactical Aviation Detachment has performed important work to enable operations against Daesh,” he said. “My Chief Warrant Officer and I are excited to be taking command of a unit that is a key enabler and contributor to the success of the Operation Impact mission.”

Members of Air Task Force - Iraq (ATF-I) from 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron depart Camp Érable, Iraq, for their first mission onboard a CH-146 Griffon helicopter during Operation IMPACT on April 25, 2017. DND Photo
Members of Air Task Force – Iraq (ATF-I) from 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron depart Camp Érable, Iraq, for their first mission onboard a CH-146 Griffon helicopter during Operation Impact on April 25, 2017. DND Photo

With this change of command, nearly the entire detachment leadership and staff has also changed over, as planned. The approximately 60 squadron members will serve as part of Operation Impact.

Since May 2016, CH-146 Griffon helicopters have provided in-theatre tactical transport of troops, equipment and supplies in Northern Iraq. The aircraft, besides moving people and materiel from place to place within the area of operations, carry self-defence systems and weapons as a matter of force protection.

Canada remains a committed partner to the Global Coalition effort to defeat Daesh. As part of Canada’s Joint Task Force-Iraq, Air Task Force-Iraq is making a valuable contribution to Coalition air operations against Daesh, and is helping to improve security in Iraq and the region.

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