New command team installed at 401 Squadron

401 SQN COC PDE - 26 JUL 17

LCol Mullins, left, Col Doyle and LCol Rock share a moment on the dais during Wednesday’s parade.
Photo: OS Erica Seymour

401 SQN COC PDE - 26 JUL 17

Col Doyle presented LCol Rock with the General Campaign Star and the General Service Medal.
Photo: OS Erica Seymour

401 SQN COC PDE - 26 JUL 17

Col Doyle presented Capt Webb with the General Campaign Star and the General Service Medal.
Photo: OS Erica Seymour

401 SQN COC PDE - 26 JUL 17

LCol Mullins presented CWO Heron with his CD2 clasp.
Photo: OS Erica Seymour

Jeff Gaye

LCol Joe Mullins said “it’s been a crazy couple of years” since he took command of 401 Squadron. He passed command to LCol Forrest Rock last week.

LCol Mullins has been the squadron’s Commanding Officer since it was reactivated in 2015. Within three months, 401 deployed to Kuwait to participate in Operation Impact. “We hit the ground running,” he said at Wednesday’s Change of Command parade.

He recalled a proud moment from Op Impact, when the squadron was short one jet for a scheduled launch. “About 45 minutes later, a technician came out, covered head to toe in brake dust, grease and oil, and looked at me with a big smile and gave me the thumbs-up.

“We may have been a little late, but we didn’t cancel. And the sortie against ISIL was completed that day.”

401 Squadron excelled at every mission it was given, “and you always did it with a smile on your face,” LCol Mullins told the squadron.

4 Wing Commander Col Paul Doyle, the parade’s Reviewing Officer, said LCol Mullins’s tenure in command “has been a highlight reel of incredible achievements.”

“The Rams have made a name for themselves in excellence and professionalism, which is a reflection on the leadership of LCol Mullins and CWO Perry Heron,” he said.

Col Doyle told LCol Rock that 401 is “a squadron that is firing on all cylinders.”

“You are ready for this challenge,” he said. “Invest yourself in the mission, look after your people and advocate for their interests.”

LCol Rock said he is “ecstatic” to take command. He said that “all Rams, past and present, should be proud” of 401 Squadron’s contribution to the imminent defeat of ISIL.

“The coming year will be incredibly busy for us,” he said. “We have our work cut out for us, that’s the bottom line. But we will be ready to act when called on to do so.”

CWO Heron passed the Squadron Chief Warrant Officer appointment to CWO Frank Dwyer at the parade. CWO Heron is retiring after 32 years of service.