Canadian Detachment History: Part 3 of 4

  • Published
  • By Capt Eric Emanuele, RCAF

This year marks the 40th anniversary of a Canadian co-manning presence at Tinker Air Force Base.

The start of the new millennium brought many changes for the Canadian Detachment. In March 2000, the first Canadian Commanding Officer, LCol Penton, was deployed in support of Operation Northern Watch. The first Chief Warrant Officer was deployed shortly after that in August, 2000.  

Following the events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, five NATO E-3 Sentry AWACS were deployed to Tinker AFB to aid in the surveillance of U.S. airspace. This deployment brought an additional 22 Canadians from Geilenkirchen, Germany to Tinker AFB.  NATO crews stayed in Oklahoma for nine months with over 600 sorties flown in support of Operation Noble Eagle.

The operational tempo was not constrained as an additional 680 sorties were flown in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  Canadian component members were full participants in both operations as 13 Canadians were deployed. 

As the E-3 Sentry AWACS operations ceased in Afghanistan towards the end of May 2003, all 552nd Air Control Wing crews, including all deployed Canadians, returned from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.  It was the first time since Operations Desert Shield/Storm in 1991 that the Canadian Component did not have anyone deployed overseas.