450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (THS), based at Garrison Petawawa, Ontario, is proudly celebrating its 50th anniversary today – March 29, 2018.
The squadron is the sole Royal Canadian Air Force operator of the F-model CH-147F Chinook that, in conjunction with the CH-146 Griffon, provides tactical helicopter support to the Canadian Army and Special Operations Forces.
The numerical designation of 450 was originally allocated to a squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force, which operated from 1941 until the end of the Second World War in 1945. Although Canada had been assigned squadron numbers 400 through 449 during the war, an administrative error resulted in Canada allocated the 450 number to the Canadian 450 Heavy Transport Squadron on March 29, 1968. The new squadron signalled Canada’s venture into the comparatively new role of logistic air support using Canadian CH-113A Voyageur helicopters.
In 1968, the squadron flew the Voyageur and was based at Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Station Saint Hubert, Quebec, until their relocation to Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Ottawa (Uplands), Ontario in May 1970. On May 20, 1970, the squadron received Royal Assent for the designation 450 Transport Helicopter Squadron.
At the time of the move, the squadron began to operate the CH-135 Twin Huey in conjunction with the Voyageur at Uplands from 1970 until 1975. At that time, the RCAF replaced the Voyageur with the C-model CH-147 Chinooks and the squadron’s Twin Huey utility…