“The best part of my job is the traveling,” explains Cpl. Dean Smith, “But I will not forget being involved in the successful rescue of four Inuit hunters.”
Cpl. Smith, from Campbell River, where his mother Barbara still resides, joined the Air Reserves in 2003 as an Aviation Systems Technician, later transferred to the Regular Force in August 2005 and made a career change becoming a Flight Engineer in 2010.
He has been a member of 440 “Vampire” Transport Squadron in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories flying in CC-138 Twin Otters since September 2010.
“While our squadron was involved in a joint Canadian Forces exercise in the Northwest Territories we got the call that a family of hunters went missing. Our crew immediately went from a training exercise into a real-time life and death search. The Twin Otter I was in had searched a large area which narrowed the search field down considerable when the Hercules aircraft joined the search. In the end the family was found after spending five days adrift at sea – alive but showing signs of hyperthermia.”
Now, Corporal Smith and members of 440 Squadron are taking part in a Canadian Forces winter exercise in Northern Ontario.
This is the first time that a Twin Otter has participated in a Trillium Response exercise providing cargo lift and personnel transport.
Exercise Trillium Response 13 is a Joint Task Force Central-led exercise, aimed at developing and maintaining the capability and expertise to conduct various operations in remote areas and austere, conditions. Approximately 1,500 members of the Regular and Reserve Force, Canadian Rangers from Ontario and Royal Canadian Air Force personnel from Ontario, Nova Scotia and the NWT will be participating.