419 Squadron triumphantly returns from training deployment in El Centro, California

419 Tactical Fighter (Training) Squadron, CAE and other visiting T-45 Goshawk units pose for a photo opportunity with similar jet trainers during Exercise ANTLER SOUTH, last month. Maj. Maciej Hatta

419 Tactical Fighter (Training) Squadron, CAE and other visiting T-45 Goshawk units pose for a photo opportunity with similar jet trainers during Exercise ANTLER SOUTH, last month.
Maj. Maciej Hatta

Captain Kathryn Guenther

419 Tactical Fighter (Training) Squadron (Tac F Trg Sqn) recently returned home from their three-week migration south to El Centro, California.

In order to counter the snow and ice that October and November often bring in Cold Lake, the Moosemen of 419 Squadron took advantage of the clear, warm weather in the Californian desert to conduct a great deal of important training.

The deployment convoy was composed of student pilots, reserve and regular force instructor pilots, contracted engineers from CAE and several support personnel. Seven CT-155 Hawk trainer jets were flown south to carry out the fast paced Fighter Lead-In Training (FLIT) in Southern California’s Imperial Valley.

Selected for its more consistent Californian weather, Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro has become a home-away-from-home for the Moosemen; by taking advantage of both the weather and the military restricted airspace available nearby, 419 Squadron was able to maximize the quantity and quality of their training missions in a relatively short period of time. Comparatively, with the typical late fall conditions in Cold Lake, the same level of training would take months to complete.

While in El Centro, students and instructors from 419 Squadron conducted both air-to-air and air-to-ground training, including basic fighter manoeuvres, air combat tactics, conventional weapons delivery and much more. With the surrounding airspace being much busier with military and civilian traffic alike, NAF El Centro also provided an excellent opportunity to train in a more complex and unfamiliar environment.

NAF El Centro was a full house all throughout October and into November; in addition to 419 Squadron’s CT-155 Hawk, other aircraft that were taking advantage of the clear skies included: CH-53 Super Stallions, V-22 Ospreys, MH-60 Seahawks, AV-8B Harrier IIs, F/A-18EF Super Hornets, and 419 Squadron’s US Navy counterpart, the T-45C Goshawk. Carrier Training Squadron 9 (VT-9) T-45C staff and students also joined 419 members during an appreciation BBQ and photo op of the two similar jet trainers.

As well as accomplishing a great deal of great flying, the Moosemen also celebrated a fantastic Canada Night event to mark the deployment’s halfway point, with 4 Wing Commander (Comd) Colonel (Col.) Paul Doyle amongst the guests. In addition to the evening’s festivities, 419 Squadron was able to mug out instructor Captain Gregory “Sloth” Myers, who is now posted to Greenwood, N.S. to fly the CP-140 Aurora. The Sqn held an appreciation BBQ for the world’s best aviation maintenance team; also, CAE and 419 continued in a deployed tradition of collecting money and supplies for the local American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

419 Squadron plans to return to NAF El Centro in February 2019 to once again combat the harsh conditions of a Cold Lake winter. The Moosemen would like to thank our families, along with Col. Doyle (4 Wing Comd), Col. O’Reilly (15 Wing Comd) and NATO Flight Training in Canada (NFTC) Military Director, Mr. S Greenough and the Mr. Dale Daw (NFTC Program Manager and 419 Sqn Maintenance Group Leader); Captain (CAPT) Alfonzo (Comd NAF El Centro) and their respective staffs, for their support in making this deployment not only a reality, but a resounding success.

Moosa Aswayita!

A CT-155 Hawk flies past the control tower at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California during Exercise Antler South last month.  Maj. Maciej Hatta

A CT-155 Hawk flies past the control tower at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California during Exercise Antler South last month.
Maj. Maciej Hatta

Two CT-155 Hawks pose while returning to base, from an air-to-air mission north of El Centro, California during Exercise Antler South last month.   Maj. Maciej Hatta

Two CT-155 Hawks pose while returning to base, from an air-to-air mission north of El Centro, California during Exercise Antler South last month.
Maj. Maciej Hatta

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A CT-155 lands on Runway 26 at Naval Air Facility El Centro following an air-to-air training mission during Exercise Antler South, last month.   Maj. Maciej Hatta

A CT-155 lands on Runway 26 at Naval Air Facility El Centro following an air-to-air training mission during Exercise Antler South, last month.
Maj. Maciej Hatta

CAE and 419 Tactical Fighter (Training) Squadron members collected a truck-load of supplies for the local American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) last month during Exercise Antler South.  Maj. Maciej Hatta

CAE and 419 Tactical Fighter (Training) Squadron members collected a truck-load of supplies for the local American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) last month during Exercise Antler South.
Maj. Maciej Hatta