Wings Magazine

Canada’s Joint Task Force ends Afghanistan ops

Aug. 18, 2011, Ottawa - The Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing officially ended its operations today at Kandahar Airfield in a ceremony attended by key leaders of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), as well as the Canadian Forces (CF) members currently deployed at Kandahar Airfield.

August 18, 2011  By Carey Fredericks

This comes on the heels of the end of the CF's combat mission in Afghanistan, which concluded in July.

"Canadians are proud of the successes our men and women in uniform
achieved in Canada's name as part of a United Nations-mandated, NATO-led
mission in Afghanistan," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of
National Defence. "The Air Wing in Kandahar was a critical component of
these successes, moving personnel and resources in a hostile setting and
enabling critical military operations. Because of the work of our air
personnel in Afghanistan, Afghans live in a more secure environment."

"The establishment of the Canadian Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing
in Kandahar ushered in a new era of Canadian Forces air support to
combat operations," said Lieutenant-General Marc Lessard, commander of
Canadian Expeditionary Force Command. "In fact, it was the first
military formation of its size and type deployed by Canada had deployed
to an armed conflict since the Second World War."

"The Air Wing provided capabilities that helped save Canadian, coalition
and Afghan lives by reducing exposure to ambushes, landmines and
improvised explosive devices," said Brigadier-General Chuck Lamarre,
commander of the Mission Transition Task Force (MTTF). "With its skills
and robust capacity, the Air Wing has also supported the Mission
Transition Task Force, providing
helicopter over-watch of our convoys outside the wire. The Air Wing has
acquired knowledge and experience that will greatly benefit future
Canadian military operations."


"This is a significant day, as we close down the Joint Task Force
Afghanistan Air Wing after 32 months of first-class support to combat
operations," said the Air Wing Commander, Colonel Al Meinzinger.
"Everyone who served with the Air Wing displayed great flexibility and
agility in working with our many mission partners. Over the last five
months, all three units of the Air Wing surged to
unprecedented levels to support operations, cementing the legacy of Air
Wing member contributions to the mission over the last number of years."

With three distinct Royal Canadian Air Force units – tactical airlift,
tactical helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles – the JTF-Afg Air Wing
provided the ground forces of ISAF Regional Command (South) with the
full range of air support capabilities while also meeting Canadian
Forces objectives.

The CC-130 Hercules deployed in Kandahar Province will continue to fly
in support of the MTTF until the end of 2011. The mandate of the MTTF is
to ensure that the closure of Canada's recently completed combat
operation, and CF withdrawal from Kandahar Province, are conducted
effectively, while maintaining accountability for equipment, materials,
and personnel.

The JTF-Afg Air Wing stood up at Kandahar Airfield on December 6, 2008
with 200 personnel and quickly grew to its final operating strength of
450 personnel. Over the three years of operations, the JTF-Afg Air Wing
achieved the following milestones:

Aircraft                        Passengers      Hours flown   Cargo (pounds)
CH-146 Griffon                       2,294           16,343           20,615
CH-147 Chinook                      89,314            7,085        7,090,889
CH-146 & CH-147 combined            91,608           23,428        7,111,504
CU-170 Heron                    applicable           15,075   Not applicable

CC-130 Hercules                     28,180           23,000        7,046,759
MI-8 Chartered Cargo             Not
Helicopter                            applicable           11,000       16,000,000


Stories continue below