October 08, 2010 14:48 ET

Canada's Air Force Joins a Disaster Response Exercise in Chile

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 8, 2010) - Twenty members of Canada's Air Force and a CC-130 Hercules aircraft from 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron in Winnipeg are participating in the first multi-national disaster response exercise organized by the Sistema de Cooperación entre las Fuerzas Aéreas Americanas (System of Cooperation among the Air Forces of the Americas – SICOFAA). The two-week exercise, which began October 4 and is hosted by the Republic of Chile, aims at improving the interoperability of SICOFAA members during a disaster response operation.

"Canada's participation in Exercise COOPERATION 1 demonstrates our active engagement in the Americas," said the Honorable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "Participating in military exercises such as this one strengthens our ties of friendship and cooperation with our 17 SICOFAA partners."

The Canadian military contingent participating in the exercise consists of search and rescue technicians and Hercules air and ground crews from 435 Squadron. Operating in the Santiago and Puerto Montt areas of Chile, they are working with their partners to exercise humanitarian assistance, search and rescue, evacuation, and transport support services following a simulated earthquake in the region.

"Canada's Air Force is committed to working with our partners in the Americas in order to improve our interoperability and our ability to effectively respond to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, if requested to do so," said Major-General Yvan Blondin, Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division and the senior Canadian military observer of the exercise. 

Canada has been a member of SICOFAA since 1992. SICOFAA consists of five committees whose areas of research and development include personnel, information, operations, logistics, and science and technology. These committees meet individually throughout the year to discuss common issues and concerns, and then report their findings to a yearly pre-planning committee. This committee reviews all the reports and decides what topics will be brought forward for implementation at the annual Conference of Air Chiefs of the Americas. 

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For additional information about Canada's engagement with the Americas, please visit:

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