SkyHawks jump with parachute rigger logisticians to celebrate 50th anniversary

Article / February 1, 2018 / Project number: 17-0370

By Master Corporal Annie-Claude Venne, Canadian Joint Operations Command

Note: to view additional photos, click the photo under Image Gallery.

The Canadian Armed Forces Logistics Branch is ramping up for its 50th Anniversary on February 1, 2018 and a keystone activity involves passing an official Canadian Forces Logistics Branch Flag and pennant among Logisticians across Canada and around the world. The flag began its journey on July 1, 2017 when a group of Logisticians gathered at the National Military (Beechwood) Cemetery in Ottawa to unfurl the Logistics Branch 50th Anniversary Flag for the first time. The flag, which has a GPS tracking system, travels in a weather-resistant backpack and includes a logbook for signatures of serving and retired members.

Trenton, Ontario — As part of the lead up to the February 1, 2018 celebration surrounding the 50th Anniversary of the Logistics Branch, a flag relay has been organized to highlight the contribution to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) by Logisticians. In September 2017, the journey brought the flag to Trenton where two members of the Canadian Armed Forces Parachute Team, The Skyhawks, took it for a sky dive from 6,000 feet. Along with the two members from the team were six Logisticians on board the aircraft to do various types of airborne currency training.

“The SkyHawks’ team Warrant Officer, WO Steve Ouimet, informed me about (the Flag Relay).  His wife, Sergeant Isabelle Dufour, is a Logistician and they thought that this would be a good opportunity to show that riggers are also Logisticians,” said Master Corporal Jeremy Canfield, a supply technician and parachute rigger. 

Skyhawks depend on Logistician parachute riggers

Parachute riggers are supply technicians by trade.  There are around 50 who are currently qualified to rig parachutes in the CAF. They are mainly located in Trenton, but can also be posted with Search and Rescue squadrons and other units with parachutists. It takes three years of training to qualify as a parachute rigger.

“Perfection” is the word MCpl Canfield uses to describe a parachute rigger’s job. “It has to be perfect every time,” he said. “When we give a parachute to a Skyhawk, there can be no doubt in their mind that the chute is going to work.”

Corporal Jason Bent, a parachute rigger, had the privilege of carrying the official 50th Anniversary Logistic Branch flag during the dive, while MCpl Canfield, who has more experience with camera work, took the lead with imagery. 

Cpl Bent describes this event as a good opportunity to show pride in the Logistics Branch.  “It feels special to be part of the very few people that will have the opportunity to jump with this specific flag,” he said. “Other than that, it was like any other day at work. It was fun to have my teammate filming to get the perfect shot.”

To prepare for the jump, the riggers removed numerous lapel pins attached to the flag and a small banner for safety reasons. These items were put in a small bag and were also part of the jump.

‘Dirt dive’ rehearsal before jump with flag

MCpl Canfield explained that they did a quick rehearsal, what the SkyHawks call a “dirt dive,” to plan the whole sky dive before the actual dive. “This jump is a good opportunity for us to show what we can do, not only as Logisticians, but also to take what we do as a job and show the rest of the community what we can achieve.”

Logisticians are the backbone of military operations and the flag relay contributes to get the word out about the 50th Anniversary of the Logistics Branch. “It is important, we have been around for 50 years,” MCpl Canfield said. “Especially within my unit, this place couldn’t run without Logisticians.”

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