Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

February 08, 2017 13:36 ET

Combat Support and Search and Rescue Squadrons conduct Exercise SOUTHERN BREEZE

OPA LOCKA, FLORIDA--(Marketwired - Feb. 8, 2017) - National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Aircraft and personnel from the Royal Canadian Air Forces' (RCAF) three Combat Support Squadrons (417, 439 and 444) and one Transport and Rescue Squadron (424) are deployed on Exercise SOUTHERN BREEZE, at United States Coast Guard Air Station Miami in Opa Locka, Florida from February 6 to March 4, 2017.

The exercise is designed to employ the skills required to deploy a small scale force and sustain operations while dislocated from main supporting units. The training enables combined unit operability, and provides CH-146 Griffon Combat Support and Search and Rescue (SAR) crews with an opportunity to refine overwater and boatrescue skills alongside partners in the United States Coast Guard (USCG). This training aims to leverage and build upon the partnership between the RCAF's CH- 146 Griffon based Combat Support and SAR assets, and the experiences of the USCG.


"Our Combat Support Squadrons provide an agile medical response capability and a high-readiness operational posture to support local Wing operations. Their residual capacity and SAR-like capabilities make Combat Support a natural choice for augmenting SAR operations when situations require. This exercise will improve the proficiency of our Combat Support and SAR Griffon capabilities, ensuring that these crews are ready to help Canadians and serve Canadian interests whenever and wherever that need arises."

- Major Steven Siket, Air Task Force Commander

Quick Facts

  • Approximately 120 personnel (up to 50 personnel at any one time) and three CH-146 Griffon helicopters are deployed to United States Coast Guard Station Miami in Opa Locka, Florida.

  • Exercise personnel and equipment come from all three RCAF Combat Support Squadrons, and one Transport and Rescue Squadron:

    • 3 Wing Bagotville: 439 Combat Support Squadron (CSS);

    • 4 Wing Cold Lake: 417 CSS;

    • 5 Wing Goose Bay: 444 CSS; and

    • 8 Wing Trenton: 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron; and Transport Standards and Evaluation Team

  • 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 currency requirements for day and night overwater operations and boat hoisting become a challenge to maintain 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.

  • Throughout the exercise, both day and night operations will take place, thereby capitalizing on every possible opportunity to train and develop vital SAR skills in a safe and unencumbered operating environment.

  • Search and Rescue readiness and operations in Canada will not be affected by this training.

  • Imagery is available at

Associated Links

417 Combat Support Squadron

439 Combat Support Squadron

444 Combat Support Squadron

424 Transport and Rescue Squadron

Royal Canadian Air Force

Contact Information

  • 4 Wing and CFB Cold Lake Public Affairs
    Captain Mathew Strong
    (780) 840-8000 Ext. 8121
    Cellular: (780) 813-0210