Change of Command for Canada’s 442 Squadron

Change of Command for Canada’s 442 Squadron

31-Aug-2012 Source: Royal Canadian Air Force

Flanked by yellow and red search and rescue (SAR) aircraft and before the formed ranks of blue-uniformed members of 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron, Lieutenant-Colonel Todd Sharp took command from LCol Jonathan Bouchard in a ceremony held today at 19 Wing, Comox.

“Operations are not always easy on our families and I truly appreciated the constant efforts and flexibility demonstrated by squadron members in my time here,” said LCol Bouchard, who led 442 Squadron for two years.  “I sincerely thank everyone at the Squadron for their dedication and professionalism.  The support provided by our administration and maintenance personnel allowed the aircrews to do their job:  So Others May Live.”

LCol Sharp takes over one of the busiest SAR squadrons in the RCAF.  Since the beginning of 2012 alone, 442 Squadron has been launched over 100 times in response to SAR callouts, rescuing five people, and medevacing a further 11.

“My family and I are thrilled to be returning to Comox, and I am personally looking forward to returning to 442 Squadron as CO,” said LCol Sharp, a former Deputy Commanding Officer of 442.  “SAR is a vital role that Canadians rely upon, and I know that the men and women of 442 Squadron are up to the task. I am therefore honoured to be provided the opportunity to command this fine unit.”

While the Squadron primarily responds to air and marine incidents within the federal SAR mandate, 442 Squadron frequently supports provincial Ground SAR operations as well. Making these missions possible are approximately 150 squadron members including pilots, navigators, Search and Rescue Technicians, CC-115 Buffalo aircraft maintenance technicians and administrative staff.  There are also approximately 50 contracted civilian maintenance personnel supporting the five Cormorant helicopters based at the Squadron.

442 Squadron is an important part of SAR response within the Victoria Search and Rescue Region (SRR).  The region consists of approximately 920,000 square kilometers of mainly mountainous terrain of Yukon and British Columbia and 560,000 square kilometers of the Pacific Ocean extending to approximately 600 nautical miles off shore.  The rugged and often inaccessible terrain, severe weather, and large expanses of sparsely populated areas make the Victoria SRR the most demanding region in the country.

LCol Sharp was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island and joined the Canadian Forces in 1984. He graduated from Royal Military College of Canada with a Bachelor of Arts in History before taking his year-long Air Navigation training in Winnipeg.  He received his Navigator Wings in 1990 and began his career with 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron in Summerside, PEI.

He returned to Winnipeg to instruct at the Canadian Forces Air Navigation School, ultimately as an Instructor and Standards Officer. He then returned to Transport and Rescue flying at 435 Squadron inWinnipeg, where he was promoted to Major. He returned to 413 Squadron as the Squadron Operations Officer before coming out to join 442 Squadron in 2005 as Deputy Commanding Officer and briefly as CO in late 2007.

He received exposure to Joint Staff planning at Canada Command Headquarters as an Operational Planner before being selected to attend the Advanced Command and Staff Course at the Joint Services Command and Staff College in Shrivenham,UK. He also earned a Master of Arts in Defence Studies from King’s College London.  In 2009 he was promoted to LCol and stayed on in Shrivenham as Directing Staff. He is happily married to Gail Macdonald and they share their joyful return to 19 Wing Comox with their children, Brendan and Jenna.

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