Combat support and search and rescue squadrons conduct Exercise SOUTHERN BREEZE
Aircraft and personnel from 417, 439, and 444 Combat Support Squadrons, and 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron were deployed on Exercise SOUTHERN BREEZE at United States Coast Guard Air Station Miami in Opa Locka, Florida.
The exercise, designed to employ the skills required to deploy a small scale force and sustain operations while dislocated from main supporting units, ran from February 6 to March 4. Approximately 120 personnel and three CH-146 Griffon helicopters were deployed on the exercise.
The training allowed CH-146 Griffon combat support and search and rescue (SAR) crews to refine overwater and boat rescue skills alongside partners in the United States Coast Guard (USCG).
The ability to plan and execute small-to-medium-scale deployments and operate as composite detachments is important for these units to remain agile in support of short-notice events that require personnel recovery and SAR-like capabilities at locations not readily supported by their main operating locations.
Semi-annual requirements to train for day and night overwater operations and boat hoisting become a challenge during the winter months for some RCAF squadrons. Frigid temperatures and local ice conditions in Cold Lake, Bagotville, and Goose Bay result in a lack of training areas available to conduct training. While in Florida, RCAF crews capitalized on the opportunities to train and develop vital SAR skills in a safe and unencumbered environment.
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