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Tactical Helicopters in Large Military Exercise

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Captain Geoffery Baker sits in the cockpit of a CC-146 Griffon helicopter at the Cochrane airport. He is a pilot at 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron from CFB Borden.  Credit Cpl Lisa Fenton Captain Geoffery Baker sits in the cockpit of a CC-146 Griffon helicopter at the Cochrane airport. He is a pilot at 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron from CFB Borden. Credit Cpl Lisa Fenton

“Being able to touch down in remote areas of Northern Ontario has made the CH-146 Griffon Tactical Helicopter a perfect fit for Exercise TRILLIUM RESPONSE 2013,” states Captain Geoffrey Baker, Pilot Aircraft Captain.

Thirty-five year old Baker, a former commercial pilot before joining the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), has been with 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, based in Canadian Forces Base Borden, and has been flying the Griffon helicopter for four years, a Pilot Aircraft Captain for the past seven months.

400 Tactical Helicopter squadron while based in Borden reports to 1 Wing Headquarters in Kingston, Ontario. During peacetime, 400 Squadron fills 1 Wing commitments by providing operational and training support to Land Force Central Area , defence of national sovereignty, support to national taskings, support to peacekeeping operations, and secondary search and rescue and response to major air disasters.

Capt. Baker explains, “Outside an actual operation this is the closest we can get to applying what we have learned in regards to communication and tactical flying.”  During Exercise TRILLIUM RESPONSE 2013 the primary role of the Griffon is to provide support to the land forces including:  re-supply, movement of personnel and as stand-by for casualty evacuation (real or for exercise).

The RCAF support to Exercise TRILLIUM RESPONSE 2013 includes two CH-146 Griffon helicopters, one CC-138 Twin Otter, one CC-130J Model Hercules, and one CP-140 Aurora Maritime Patrol Aircraft and one BE-200 King Air.  Coordinated by the Air Component Coordination Element, a liaison team normally based at JTFC Headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, but for exercise working from the Cochrane Airport, facilitates integration of aerospace power by representing the RCAF throughout the planning and execution of joint operations.

Exercise TRILLIUM RESPONSE 2013 is the name for Joint Task Force Central’s (JTFC) annual field training exercise aimed at developing and maintaining the capability and expertise to conduct various operations in remote areas and austere conditions.  This year’s exercise, which includes approximately 1,500 Canadian Forces members, focuses on a Defence of Canada scenario in a remote area of Northern Ontario, and takes place from February 11 to 21, although personnel will be in location from February 8 to 26, 2013.

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