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Thursday, February 9, 2017

RCAF combat support squadrons in Florida for training

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch

Aircraft and personnel from three Combat Support Squadrons (417, 439 and 444) of the RCAF, as well as one Transport and Rescue Squadron (424), are taking part in Exercise SOUTHERN BREEZE in the U.S. The exercise is at United States Coast Guard Air Station Miami in Opa Locka, Florida. It began Monday and runs until March 4.

“The exercise is designed to employ the skills required to deploy a small scale force and sustain operations while dislocated from main supporting units,” according to a news release from the Canadian Forces.

Training will also be done with the U.S. Coast Guard.

More information from the RCAF:
Approximately 120 personnel (up to 50 personnel at any one time) and three CH-146 Griffon helicopters are deployed to United States Coast Guard Station Miami in Opa Locka, Florida.
Exercise personnel and equipment come from all three RCAF Combat Support Squadrons, and one Transport and Rescue Squadron:
3 Wing Bagotville: 439 Combat Support Squadron (CSS);
4 Wing Cold Lake: 417 CSS;
5 Wing Goose Bay: 444 CSS; and
8 Wing Trenton: 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron; and Transport Standards and Evaluation Team

Semi-annual currency requirements for day and night overwater operations and boat hoisting become a challenge to maintain during the winter months for some RCAF squadrons. Frigid temperatures and local ice conditions in Cold Lake, Bagotville and Goose Bay result in a lack of training areas available to conduct training.