436 Transport Squadron receives Afghanistan Battle Honour
8 Wing Trenton public affairs
Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 436 Transport Squadron trooped their Colour (a ceremonial flag) for the first time since receiving the “Afghanistan” Theatre Honour in March, during a parade held on Friday, June 22, 2018, at the Afghanistan Repatriation Memorial in Trenton, Ontario.
A Theatre Honour is a type of Battle Honour given to publicly recognize a Canadian Armed Forces unit for successful participation in a theatre of armed conflict.
“It is with great pride that we add the Afghanistan Theatre Honour to our Colour, which embodies the dedication, duty, and honour of all 436 Transport Squadron personnel, past and present,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Spencer Selhi, commanding officer of 436 Squadron. “While we take time to reflect on this great Squadron’s past deeds, we also use this occasion to rededicate ourselves to achieving operational excellence in support of today’s missions, at home and abroad.”
This is the first addition of a Battle Honour to the squadron’s Colour since the end of the Second World War. Beginning in November 2001, the squadron made many important contributions to Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, which ended in 2014. Members of 436 Transport Squadron, flying the CC-130H and CC-130J Hercules aircraft, had key roles in transporting soldiers, equipment and other supplies in and out of the Afghan theatre, as well as tactical airlift functions within Afghanistan. On July 14, 2006, members of 436 Squadron parachuted supplies (including ammunition, food and water) to support combat troops. This was the first time since the Second World War that the RCAF had conducted an operational air drop in a combat theatre.
When the RCAF formed the Afghanistan Air Wing, 436 Transport Squadron members contributed to the tactical airlift component (Hercules) alongside the tactical helicopter and Remotely Piloted Aircraft System components, providing the ground forces of ISAF Regional Command (South) with a full range of air support capabilities. The Air Wing’s Hercules crews flew 28,180 passengers and 7,046,759 lbs of freight from July 2008 to August 2011.
A squadron is eligible to receive its Colour, which is a standard bearing the squadron crest, motto and Battle Honours, after 25 years of existence. The Colour is paraded during change of command ceremonies and is kept on display at the squadron or wing, often in the officers’ mess. The Colour can only be paraded when the majority of the squadron is present.
Colours are special, consecrated flags that are specific to military units—although no longer carried onto the field of battle as a rallying point, over the years, Navy and Air Force units have adopted this Army tradition. Battle Honours (including Theatre Honours) are awarded by the Chief of the Defence Staff and approved by the Governor General.
Living up to its motto “Onus Portamus” (“We Carry the Load”), 436 Transport Squadron is tasked with carrying personnel and materiel on a global response basis. Tactical flying is an important part of 436 Transport Squadron’s role. The skills associated with aerial delivery of troops and equipment by parachute or delivery of humanitarian aid to isolated and austere locations are increasingly sought after as part of Canada’s contribution to Operation Impact and support for other NATO and United Nations missions.
436 Transport Squadron currently flies the CC-130J Hercules, the workhorse of the Royal Canadian Air Force transport fleet. The squadron was formed in India during the Second World War late in 1944. Equipped with the C-47 Dakota, the squadron’s role was to supply troops and materiel to the Allied 14th Army in Burma. Their badge features an elephant carrying a tree trunk, symbolizing its function and history.
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