19 WING COMOX – 192 Construction Engineer Flight, a reserve unit of 19 Wing, received on Saturday a Canadian Forces Unit Commendation from the hands of the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk, for the crucial work they performed for the Air Wing at Kandahar Airfield.
In November 2008, members of 192 Construction Engineer Flight in Aldergrove, B.C., 191 CEF in Comox and 14 Construction Engineering Squadron from Bridgewater, N.S. deployed to Kandahar Airfield with the task of preparing various sites for the arrival of the Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing. The infrastructure was to accommodate a variety of Air Force assets like the Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, as well as the Chinook and Griffon helicopters.
“The outstanding contribution, tireless efforts and tremendous dedication displayed by the members of 192 AEF were instrumental in advancing the Air Force commitment to Operation Athena and represented a significant contribution to the Canadian Forces overall mission success,” said General Natynczyk during the ceremony.
In a short six weeks, the team built a mix of shelters with all necessary generators, electrical systems and ventilation to form what would be home for the folks from the Air Wing that would be stationed in KAF for the months to come. After completing all tasks and construction to a high level, well ahead of schedule, the team took on the task of providing much needed alterations and additions to the KAF Role 3 hospital which has benefited many wounded civilian and military patients.
The Canadian Forces Unit Commendation may be awarded to any formation, unit or sub-unit of the CF, or to any similar organization of a foreign armed force working with or in conjunction with the CF, that has performed a deed or activity considered beyond the demands of normal duty.
The JTF-Afg Air Wing comprises all CF air assets deployed in southwest Asia. It was formed at Kandahar Airfield on December 6, 2008, with the 200 Air Force personnel already in theatre, and quickly grew to its operating strength of 450 people. The establishment of the JTF-Afg Air Wing in Kandahar, Afghanistan, ushered in a new era in CF air operations; it is the first formation of its size and type that Canada has deployed to an armed conflict since the Second World War. This capability was put in place to ensure that Canada is able to play a leadership role abroad and make a meaningful contribution to international security while also protecting our own sovereignty at home.