Edmonton helicopter squad heads to Iraq to replace Quebec squadron
A Canadian flag sits on a member of the Canadian Armed Forces in this file photo. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)
EDMONTON -- The Canadian military has deployed 60 members of an Edmonton-based helicopter squadron to Iraq as part of Operation Impact, a mission to fight Islamic State militants in the country's north.
The Department of National Defence says the Royal Canadian Air Force's 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron will take over from their counterparts from Valcartier, Que., who have been providing tactical support since October 2016.
The 408 squadron operates out of 3rd Canadian Division Support Base in Edmonton.
They will fly and maintain up to four CH-146 Griffon helicopters at Camp Erable near Erbil, Iraq.
Maj.-Gen. Christian Drouin, commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, says the squadron will provide support to both Canadian and coalition partners.
There are currently 830 Canadian military personnel based in both Iraq and Kuwait as part of Operation Impact.
"The men and women of 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron will continue to provide agile, reliable and dedicated service that Canada's Special Operations Forces and our coalition allies have come to expect from the RCAF," Col. Jeannot Boucher, commander 1 Wing, said in a news release.