They’re off to Romania

Front photo deploy
Canadian Armed Forces members walk out to a Airbus CC-150 Polaris to board for their departure for OP Reassurance to Romania, at Medley Terminal, 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, on August 29, 2019. Photo: Cpl Justin Roy, 4 Wing Imaging

Cliff Kenyon

They’re off.

It’s not a holiday trip, but it’s a mission members of the Canadian Armed Forces eagerly look forward to – deployment and doing their job.

About 75 members from 4 Wing Cold Lake left August 29 on their trip to Romania where they will be based until about the end of January taking part in Operation Reassurance.

“Any opportunity to deploy is always a good one,” said LCol Forrest Rock, 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron commander and in Romania he is Air Task Commander. “People don’t join the air force not to deploy. We’ve been looking forward to it for months.”

“The Romanians are wonderful people and they appreciate us being there,” said Rock.

“I won’t be flying as much as I normally do,” said Rock as the role of Task Commander includes administrative duties. “But it will be rewarding for me in other ways.”

Six CF-18 Hornets from 4 Wing are already in Romania. They left early last week for the journey which can take several days. Although the CF-18 could make the trip from Cold Lake in about nine hours, the journey is made in hops, said Rock. That way the trip is easier on pilots and equipment.

“Flying straight for nine hours can be quite hard on the body.”

The first hop is from Cold Lake to CFB Bagotville, in Quebec. Pilots stay in Bagotville overnight then depending on the weather on the Atlantic Ocean travel to Prestwick, Scotland. After an overnight stop the final hop is to Romania.

While there, Canadian pilots will be involved in air policing patrols as well as training tasks with Romanians. Along on the mission are aircraft maintainers and administrative personnel.

“It’s not greatly different when we are in Cold Lake fulfilling our NORAD duties.”

In total, there will be about 135 Canadians travelling to Romania, mostly from 4 Wing. There are also CAF members from 2 Wing in Bagotville.

On August 18, about 80 members of the 2 Wing Air Forces Activation Surge Team left Bagotville to travel to Romania to prepare for the arrival of Air Task Force.

Rock said deployments are always challenging, but it’s something CAF members “are very used to.”

It’s not the first time they have been in Romania. CAF members from 4 Wing Cold Lake took part in Operation Reassurance in 2017 and the job was done in 2018 with members from CFB Bagotville.

401 Sqn Deploy For OP Reassurance

1 Air Maintenance Squadron Acting Commanding Officer Major Lisa Sterby (left) shakes hands with Sgt Jillian McNeil as she departs for Operations Reassurance in Romania, at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, on August 29.
Photo: Cpl Justin Roy, 4 Wing Imaging


401 Sqn Deploy For OP Reassurance

Canadian Armed Forces members shake hands with the senior officers of 4 Wing Cold Lake before boarding an Airbus CC-150 Polaris for their departure for OP Reassurance to Romania.
Photo: Cpl Justin Roy, 4 Wing Imaging


401 Sqn Deploy For OP Reassurance

Traffic Technician Cpl Fawn Silva checks the identification of Cpl Robynne Hansen before her departure for Operations Reassurance in Romania at 4 Wing Cold Lake on August 29.
Photo: Cpl Justin Roy, 4 Wing Imaging