RCAF commander visits 438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron

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.

During their visit to 438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Saint-Hubert, Que., LGen Al Meinzinger, commander of the RCAF (third from the left), and CWO Denis Gaudreault, RCAF command chief warrant officer (second from the right), pose in front of a CH-146 Griffon, accompanied by MCpl Andrew Hall, flight engineer (left), Maj François Lachance-Morin, operations officer, Maj Stéphane St-Onge, acting commanding officer of the squadron, and Sgt Mike Joanette, door gunner. Cpl Laura Landry Photo
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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.

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LGen Al Meinzinger (right), and CWO Denis Gaudreault (third from the right), visit the flight planning room at 438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron. Cpl Laura Landry Photo

Meinzinger and Gaudreault left Saint-Hubert aboard one of 438 Squadron’s CH-146 Griffons, piloted by Meinzinger himself, accompanied by St-Onge.

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