427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron
|427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron|
427 Squadron badge
|Type||Special Operations helicopter squadron|
|Part of||Canadian Special Operations Forces Command|
|Motto||Ferte Manus Certas – "Strike with a Sure Hand"|
|Engagements||World War II
War in Afghanistan
|Decorations||Distinguished Service Order
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Distinguished Flying Medal
Distinguished Flying Cross
|Website||427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron|
427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron (427 SOAS) (French: 427e Escadron d'opérations spéciales d'aviation, 427 EOSA) is a tactical helicopter unit that provides aviation support to Canadian Special Operations Forces Command. The squadron is based at CFB Petawawa, Ontario with a fleet of Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopters. It was originally founded as No. 427 Squadron RCAF.
427 Squadron started as a bomber squadron formed at Croft, England on 7 November 1942 and spent its wartime entirely in England as a part of No. 6 Group RCAF, RAF Bomber Command. 427 flew Vickers Wellington Mk IIIs and Mk Xs from its first operational mission on 14 December 1942, a minelaying sortie to the Frisian Islands, until May 1943 when it was relocated to Leeming, North Yorkshire. Re-equipped with Handley Page Halifax Mk V aircraft, the squadron flew intensely until early 1944 when it replaced its inventory with Halifax Mk III aircraft. This fleet saw the greatest number of missions and in slightly more than a year's time they were then replaced by Avro Lancaster bombers prior to the end of WWII. The Lancasters were used for Prisoner of War repatriation until the end of May 1946. 427 was stood down on 1 June 1946.
The squadron was reformed on 1 August 1952 at RCAF Station St Hubert (a suburb of modern day Montreal, Quebec, Canada) as 427 Fighter Squadron, flying Canadair Sabres, and was transferred to No. 3 (Fighter) Wing at Zweibrücken in March 1953. Selected as the first European RCAF squadron to receive the CF-104 Starfighter in the nuclear strike role, the squadron was stood down from its day-fighter role on 15 December 1962 and reformed as 427 (Strike-Attack) Squadron two days later.
1 February 2006 saw command of 427 transferred to Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, as it took on a full-time role of special operations aviation support. Shortly thereafter, it was renamed as, "427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron (SOAS)." Unlike the 160th SOAR (US Army) and other units in CANSOFCOM – JTF 2, CSOR, and CJIRU – there are no specialized standards (in the "Special Operations" context) for any 427 SOAS members and entrance into 427 SOAS requires only "negotiations through Career Managers and losing units."
Aircraft flown by 427 Squadron
- Vickers Wellington III (November 1942 – April 1943)
- Vickers Wellington X (February 1942 – May 1943)
- Handley Page Halifax V (May 1943 – February 1944)
- Handley Page Halifax III (January 1944 – March 1945)
- Avro Lancaster I/III (April 1945 – May 1946)
- Canadair Sabre
- CF-104 Starfighter
- L-19 Bird Dog
- CH-135 Twin Huey
- CH-136 Kiowa
Battle honours in small capitals are for large operations and campaigns and those in lowercase are for more specific battles. 427 Squadron was awarded the following battle honours, which are carried on their standard:
- English Channel and North Sea, 1943–1945
- Baltic, 1944–1945
- Fortress Europe, 1943–1944
- France and Germany, 1944–1945
- Biscay Ports, 1943–1944
- Ruhr, 1943–1945
- Berlin, 1943–1944
- German Ports, 1943–1945
- Normandy, 1944
- Biscay, 1944
- Canadian Forces
- Canadian Special Operations Regiment
- Joint Task Force 2
- List of Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons
- Similar units in other armed forces
- 4th Special Forces Helicopter Regiment (French)
- 26th Special Operations Helicopter Unit (Italian)
- 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) (US)
- 171st Aviation Squadron (Australia)
- Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing (British)
- Canadian Forces (December 2008). "427 Squadron". Retrieved 2009-01-22.
- Canadian Forces (December 2008). "427 Squadron History World War II". Retrieved 2009-01-22.
- Canadian Forces (December 2008). "427 Squadron History Re-Activated as Fighter Squadron". Retrieved 2009-01-22.
- Canadian Forces (December 2008). "427 Squadron History Tactical Helicopter Squadron". Retrieved 2009-01-22.
- Morehen, Travis A. (Winter 2010). "The Proposed Canadian Model for Special Forces Aviation Part II". The Canadian Air Force Journal. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- "South-West Asia Theatre Honours". Prime Minister of Canada. Retrieved 2014-05-09.