410, 401 Squadrons deploying to Louisiana for Exercise Puma Strike

Ex PUMA STRIKE

RCAF Hornets refuel during last year’s Exercise Puma Strike.
Photo: Cpl Andre Maillet, Wing Imaging

Jeff Gaye

When Cold Lake weather gets colder and less predictable, 410 Squadron heads south to get their training done.

The squadron will participate in Exercise Puma Strike October 30 to November 18 at Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base New Orleans in Louisiana. Members of 401 Squadron and 10 FTTS will also deploy for the exercise. In all, approximately 200 personnel are involved.

In recent years the exercise has taken place at Key West, Florida, but recent hurricanes in that area made it impossible to train there. “New Orleans has similar airspace availability,” said Maj Phil Meikle of 410 Squadron.

“It took a lot of extra work by the planning staff” to change the venue, he said, but everything will be ready when the RCAF Hornets and personnel arrive.

There are 10 students on the 410 Squadron’s current fighter pilot course, and the plan is to complete an entire training phase on the exercise. It would take two months to complete the training in Cold Lake, Maj Meikle said, but the squadron expects they will be able to achieve it in 16 flying days down south.

401 Squadron pilots will be doing force-generation training to upgrade their operational readiness. 10 FTTS is sending student technicians to take advantage of the intense flying schedule and gain important experience.