TRENTON, Ont. --- The Honourable Gordon O’Connor, Minister of National Defence, today announced the re-establishment of 429 Transport Squadron, designated the C-17 squadron, based at 8 Wing / CFB Trenton. Under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Dave Lowthian, the squadron will be responsible for the conduct of C-17 operations, as well as the day-to-day maintenance of Canada’s new strategic airlift fleet of Globemaster IIIs.
“It is with immense pride and enthusiasm that I officially re-establish 429 Squadron,” said Minister O’Connor at today’s ceremony. “It is a historic time for the operators and maintainers of Canada’s new fleet of C-17 aircraft, as they embark on providing Canadians with a truly independent strategic airlift capability at home and abroad.”
The stand-up is a resurgence for a squadron with an impressive history and a bright future.
“The re-establishment of 429 Squadron opens a new chapter in the famed Bisons’ history,” said Lieutenant-General Steve Lucas, Chief of the Air Staff. “Squadron members will have a very real and immediate impact on how the Canadian Forces can support operations – creating endless opportunities for modern-day success stories of their own.”
Originally formed as a Second World War bomber squadron on November 7, 1942 in Yorkshire, U.K., the squadron was disbanded in 1946 following the airlift of allied POWs back to England. In June 1967, the unit re-established as a CC-115 Buffalo squadron, beginning its association with the transport community. Known as the ‘Bisons,’ 429 (T) Squadron became part of 424 Squadron in September 1971; however it was re-established independently in April 1972, with the squadron’s responsibilities shifting from transport to training. Reorganization returned 429 Squadron to a transport role in 1981; however, it was then consolidated with 426 Squadron in July 2005 as part of the Air Forces’ transformation model at the time. Today’s stand-up as the C-17 squadron marks another momentous day for the unit.
An initial squadron capability will be in place for the arrival of the first C-17 aircraft in early August. As Canada’s remaining three C-17s are delivered between October and April 2008, the squadron’s operating capabilities will correspondingly increase. The squadron will consist of approximately 200 members, including such positions as pilots, loadmasters and technicians.
The acquisition of strategic lift aircraft is a landmark event, as it will provide the Canadian Forces with an independent means to rapidly and reliably and flexibly move heavy equipment over vast distances in response to domestic or international crises - delivering more troops and equipment faster to alleviate suffering. It also reduces the number of crews and stopovers required, and will alleviate the workload for the aging tactical Hercules fleet.