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LGen Al Meinzinger and CWO Denis Gaudreault, commander and command chief warrant officer, respectively, of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), travelled to 438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron’s Molson Hangar in Saint-Hubert, Que., on May 8, 2019, to present the new door gunner badge to qualified unit members.
The members who obtained the door gunner qualification received a badge, known as “wings,” to wear on their flight suits. It represents a demanding qualification in an inherently dangerous trade. Sixteen air gunners from the squadron obtained the qualification, and thirteen were present at the ceremony to receive their badges in person.
“We are proud of this badge, which is a reward for the efforts and professionalism of our qualified air gunners,” said Maj Stéphane St-Onge, acting commanding officer of 438 Squadron.
During their visit to the squadron, Meinzinger and Gaudreault took advantage of the opportunity to tour squadron facilities and meet members in various sections of the unit, including the Field Technical Training Flight at the École nationale d’aéronautique. They also spoke to the members and answered their questions about the most recent operations, such as Operation Lentus 2019 and the deployment on Rotation 1 of Operation Impact as part of the NATO mission in Iraq.
Meinzinger and Gaudreault left Saint-Hubert aboard one of 438 Squadron’s CH-146 Griffons, piloted by Meinzinger himself, accompanied by St-Onge.