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Friday, April 8, 2016

Air Task Force-Iraq Welcomes New Commander


Article / April 8, 2016

By Joint Task Force-Iraq Public Affairs Officer

On April 8, 2016, Colonel Jason Major assumed command of Air Task Force-Iraq (ATF-I) from Colonel Shayne Elder in a change of command ceremony held in the sandy and windy Camp Canada in Kuwait, home of Joint Task Force-Iraq, the higher headquarters of ATF-I.

Brigadier-General James Irvine, Commander of Joint Task Force-Iraq, presided over the change of command ceremony.

Chief Warrant Officer Bill Hinchey (left), Air Task Force – Iraq Chief Warrant Officer, hands the senior appointment to Chief Warrant Officer Luigi Di Stephano as Colonel Shayne Elder makes the change over official during a ceremony in Kuwait on April 8, 2016. Photo: Op Impact, DND
Chief Warrant Officer Bill Hinchey (left), Air Task Force – Iraq Chief Warrant Officer, hands the senior appointment to Chief Warrant Officer Luigi Di Stephano as Colonel Shayne Elder makes the change over official during a ceremony in Kuwait on April 8, 2016. Photo: Op Impact, DND
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Colonel Elder for his exceptional leadership of the Air Task Force,” said Brigadier-General Irvine. “Over the last six months, he has led his personnel with care and dedication. I congratulate him for the very significant role that he has played in elevating Canada’s airpower reputation within the Coalition. I also would like to welcome Colonel Major to my team as the on-coming commander of Air Task Force-Iraq. I have known and worked with Colonel Major for more than a decade. A recognized airpower expert and an experienced senior leader, I know that he will lead the Air Task Force with distinction.”

Colonel Major joined the Canadian Forces in 1990. Before assuming command of ATF-I, he was Officer in Charge, Air Component Coordination Element – Atlantic. He has more than 5000 hours of military flying with combat experience in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan.

“I am looking forward to the challenges that come with leading an expeditionary air task force alongside our Coalition partners,” said Colonel Major. “The troops I saw on parade today, from the aircrew to the maintainers and other support staff, are sharp and represent the finest airmen and airwomen the Royal Canadian Air Force has amongst its ranks.”

Colonel Elder had been Commander of ATF-I since October 19, 2015. In this role, Colonel Elder led the task force though the successful execution of CF-18 Hornet operations to halt and degrade the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). He also led his team in CP-140 Aurora intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, and in CC-150 Polaris refuelling operations.

“It is with great satisfaction that I look back over all we have accomplished in our pursuit of ISIL and the provision of support to Coalition forces,” said Colonel Elder. “It is with regret that I depart this team but I am confident that Colonel Major will continue to lead these air warriors through many successful missions.”