Air reservists carrying out tactical aviation mission in Iraq

Air reservists
Reservists serving at Camp Taji on Operation Impact, and supporting the NATO Mission Iraq, display the RCAF ensign in February 2019. Photo: Master Corporal Mingxin Li

RCAF Public Affairs

Nearly half of the members of Canada’s Tactical Aviation Detachment who are deployed on Operation Impact to provide air transport to the NATO Mission Iraq are Air Force reservists.

The detachment, based at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad, provides air transport to NATO and its operational partners – Australia, Finland and Sweden.

The detachment operates Royal Canadian Air Force CH-146 Griffon helicopters, a well-proven platform used extensively in Afghanistan and currently deployed to Mali as well as Iraq. These tactical aviation helicopters offer enhanced flexibility to the commander of the NATO Mission Iraq to move personnel and equipment to multiple locations every day to carry out NATO Mission Iraq’s advisory and training mission.

The detachment is currently composed of Regular Force and Reserve Force personnel who are mainly from units belonging to 1 Wing, headquartered in Kingston, Ontario. Approximately one-third of 1 Wing’s personnel, who belong to squadrons located across Canada, are reservists, making the wing a true leader in the “total force” concept.

Air reservists deployed with the detachment come from a wide spectrum of occupations—aviation systems technician, avionics systems technician, aircraft maintenance superintendent, human resources administrators, supply technicians, mobile support equipment operators, flight engineers, pilot, air traffic controllers and meteorological technicians. They are joined by Canadian Army reservists from the air gunner, intelligence and electrical and mechanical engineering occupations.

This makes the Tactical Aviation Detachment a truly total force and inter-service endeavour.

Under NATO Mission Iraq, Canadian Armed Forces personnel and resources are improving training for Iraqi security forces, thereby helping Iraq build a more effective national security structure.