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A passion that never dies

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News Article / May 11, 2015

By Corporal Laura Landry

Corporal Chris Colson is an aircraft structures technician at 444 Combat Support Squadron 5 Wing Goose Bay, Labrador.

This proud

Newfoundlander began his military career as a naval communicator in the Royal Canadian Navy, where he deployed on Operation Apollo. He was awarded the South West Asia Service Medal for his contribution during that deployment. In 2004, he decided to make a career change and joined the ranks of the Royal Canadian Air Force as an aircraft structures technician.

It was, above all, the hands-on work that motivated Corporal Colson to choose this career.

“The part of my job I enjoy the most is creating parts that I build myself. I love taking a simple piece of metal and transforming it into a helicopter part,” he says.

The primary role of 444 Squadron is to provide support to the operations of 5 Wing Goose Bay. When required, the squadron deploys its search and rescue teams on board CH-146 Griffon helicopters in support of military exercises taking place in Labrador. 5 Squadron is, above all, a forward operating base for NORAD, and so the squadron may also be called upon to offer search and rescue services for fighter aircraft deployed there. This is a mandate in which Corporal Colson is actively engaged through his work in maintaining the squadron’s three aircraft.

His passion for building aircraft structures has not dimmed over time. After more than 10 years in this occupation, it is still the part of his job he enjoys the most. And this explains why Corporal Colson is so eager to pass on his knowledge.

“I recognize that I no longer have the agility I had at 20 for climbing onto the aircraft," he says, "but I love my work and I take great pleasure in sharing my knowledge with the new technicians.”

With a great deal of pride, he describes his skill at recruiting people to his occupation, referring to past experiences. “I was able to convince several of my colleagues to redirect their careers into my current occupation simply by explaining what it is that I do. My trade is interesting so it wasn’t all that difficult to persuade them.”

His career as a aircraft structures technician has led him to work on CH-146 Griffon helicopters at 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Edmonton, Alberta, and on CH-124 Sea King helicopters at 12 Maintenance Squadron in Shearwater, Nova Scotia. He really enjoys working at 444 Squadron.

“Unlike the larger units, everybody here is on a first-name basis in the workshop. I feel far more comfortable in this kind of work environment,” he explains.

A total of 45 military and civilian personnel work at 444 Combat Support Squadron. Their work is essential to base operations and, more specifically, to the members who deploy there to profit from the unique environment that Labrador offers for training.

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