© Submitted/Master Corporal Johanie Maheu, 14 Wing Imaging
Search and rescue technician Master Corp. Kevin McFarlane is hoisted up into a CH-149 Cormorant helicopter while Master Corp. Jeff Connors waits his turn during a training flight in Nova Scotia on Jan. 8.
SUMMERSIDE — The 413 Squadron is coming home — temporarily.
The squadron, which at one time called the former CFB Summerside home, will be in the city Tuesday through Saturday for search and rescue training exercises.
“This year is our 75th anniversary of the squadron,” said its commanding officer, Lt.-Col. James Marshall. “That’s one of the reasons we are going to Summerside this year for our exercise.”
The 413 Squadron, situated at 14 Wing CFB Greenwood, is setting up temporary headquarters for the five days at Summerside airport.
“Sometimes if a search happens far away from Greenwood we need to deploy our aircraft so we can get a lot more efficient with our searches. What we are pretending is Summerside is that destination,” explained Marshall. “It gives us the advantage of learning how to operate outside our own base. We get comfortable with our own procedures. There are things that you get used to by working in the same area.”
That’s why, once a year, the squadron deploys to another location for training.
Two Hercules airplanes, along with two Cormorant helicopters, will be situated at Slemon Park for the five days, flying in and out of its airport.
On Tuesday through Thursday, the squadron will conduct day and night exercises.
“You will see the takeoffs in Summerside but, where we are doing the work, at night, is going to be out of Sydney, N.S., because we have Coast Guard help there.”
Marshall said 83 people, about half of the squadron, will be in the area for training.
It’s not the first time the squadron’s commanding officer has trained at Slemon Park.
“A few years back, I was flight commander out of Trenton doing the training course and, for the same reason, we used to go to Summerside,” he added. “Slemon Park is very friendly and helpful to us, but also the flying we get in Summerside is great because it is not very busy. A lot of times when we do air drops and paratroopers jumping out, it takes a lot of time, so we tend to dominate the airfield during that time.”
The public can stop by the airport at Slemon Park to view the equipment and, if there is an opportunity, speak with the officers here for training, said Marshall.
“It is a great scene to see,” he added. “It is a good show. Stop any of the air crew and if we are free to talk, we can let them know what is going on.”