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RCAF members receive intentional honour

October 23, 2012  By Carey Fredericks

Oct. 23, 2012, Ottawa - At a ceremony in London, U.K., Canadian Forces Search and Rescue personnel received the Award of Gallantry from the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators for their heroic actions in saving the lives of two Inuit hunters stranded in icy waters near Igloolik, Nunavut, on October 27, 2011.

"This award highlights the exemplary skill, service, and sacrifice that
our men and women in the Canadian Forces demonstrate every day, whether
on missions around the world or across this vast country," said the
Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "Canada is proud
to have the most highly-trained and capable search and rescue
professionals in the world."

Receiving this prestigious award
were a Cormorant helicopter crew from 103 Search and Rescue Squadron
based in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador: Aircraft Commander, Captain
Aaron Noble; First Officer, Captain Dean Vey; Flight Engineer, Sergeant
Brad Hiscock; and Search and Rescue Technicians, Sergeant Dan Villeneuve
and Master-Corporal Shawn Bretschneider. The honour was also awarded to
Search and Rescue Technicians Sergeant Janick Gilbert, Master Corporal
Max Lahaye-Lemay, and Master-Corporal Marco Journeyman from 424
Transport and Rescue Squadron, Trenton, Ontario. Tragically, Sergeant
Janick Gilbert perished during the rescue and will receive this award

"I am extremely proud of our Search and Rescue
Technicians and Aircrew who have been presented with this international
award for gallantry. They deserve our deepest admiration and
appreciation for their service to Canada and their unwavering commitment
to saving lives," said the Chief of Defence Staff, General Walt
Natynczyk. "The men and women of the Canadian Forces' Search and
teams are the truest embodiment of service beyond self. In keeping with
their motto, everyday they do their best so 'That others may live'."

Search and Rescue mission was a collaborative effort that included
Search and Rescue aircraft and crews from 8 Wing Trenton, 9 Wing Gander,
14 Wing Greenwood, and 17 Wing Winnipeg, and was coordinated by the
Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton. Searchers located the two
local hunters who were stranded in an open boat and dropped a radio to
them. The condition of one hunter was deteriorating and when
communications were lost, the three Search and Rescue Technicians from 8
Wing conducted a parachute insertion into the high seas and strong
winds from a CC-130 Hercules to render assistance. The CH-149 Cormorant
helicopter from 103 Squadron, 9 Wing Gander, arrived on scene after a
long and demanding transit, airlifted the two local citizens and the
three Search and Rescue Technicians from the area under extreme weather
conditions, and transported them to the medical centre in Igloolik. The
mission itself resulted in the rescue of the two local citizens with
only minor injuries.



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