401 Squadron takes to the skies

From Royal Canadian Air Force History and Heritage Archives

By Jeff Gaye

L-R: Lieutenant-Colonel Joe Mullins (401 Sqn), Lieutenant-Colonel William Radiff (409 Sqn)

Lieutenant-Colonel Joe Mullins, 401 Squadron’s commanding officer, made the newly reactivated unit’s first flight on Monday July 20, 2015. “We had a goal of getting our first flight on that day,” he said. “We were ready, aircraft were available, so we decided to go for it.”

Although the flight was a new page in the squadron’s history, it wasn’t just a sentimental journey. “It was a test of the system,” Lieutenant-Colonel Mullins said. “Everything from computer systems [to] our maintenance team making sure planes were ready, to testing that the squadron and the aircraft were working seamlessly into ATC [Air Traffic Control] systems.”

With the first flight accomplished successfully, Lieutenant-Colonel Mullins said the squadron’s priority is now to contribute to the full-time flying program at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta.

Although it was a working trip, the first flight wasn’t entirely without symbolism. The aircraft that came available was a two-seater, so Lieutenant-Colonel Mullins invited Lieutenant-Colonel William Radiff, commanding officer of 409 Squadron, to join him.

401 Squadron was re-established on June 30, 2015, at 4 Wing by separating equal portions of personnel and equipment from 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron, also based at 4 Wing.

“The symbolism is good,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Mullins. “We’re two separate squadrons now, but we still work together.”

This story first appeared in the July 28, 2015, issue of The Courier, 4 Wing’s base newspaper.

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