Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.
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I noticed a rather large tattoo creeping above the collar of his dress shirt. Normally I have a strong aversion to “body art”, but, having heard of his exploits, this chap could have had a carrot in each ear for all that it mattered. He was there for his valour - and that of his fellow crew members of Rescue 915, 103 SAR Squadron RCAF – to be recognised. It was an astonishing and moving tale of bravery and sacrifice.
This particular mission – exactly a year ago today - had already earned them Agusta Westland 2012 Cormorant Trophy for Helicopter Rescue. Together with SAR technicians from 424 Squadron, who themselves were rescued, this week they were also awarded GAPAN’s Guild Award for Gallantry. It is an astonishing tale of skill, crew co-operation and bravery. The citation is as follows:
CREW OF ‘RESCUE 195’, 103 SAR SQN RCAF
and the SAR TECHNICIANS FROM ‘RESCUE 323’, 424 SQN RCAF
On October 27 2011, the Cormorant crew of Rescue 915 from 103 Search and Rescue Squadron in Gander, NL were tasked to rescue 2 Walrus hunters who were stranded on an ice flow in the arctic waters adjacent to Igloolik, in Nunavut, Canada. Captain Aaron Noble, the Aircraft Commander was responsible for the overall mission, which spanned 1500 nautical miles and 14 hours of airborne flight time.
In appreciation of the dire situation on scene, Captain Noble initiated a plan from the outset that required no external crewing. Though placing enormous pressure on his crew to succeed with little margin for error or delay, this plan would guarantee the most rapid possible response as crew replacement would have forced en-route delays and increased overall transit
time. Captain Noble, along with first officer Captain Dean Vey were able to utilize expert mission planning skills to complete the enormous transit with only three very short duration fuel stops. During these stops Captain Noble provided precise direction to his crew ensuring turnaround times were as short as possible while quickly devising creative solutions to a number of cold related mechanical issues.