The Canadian Forces (CF) mission deployed in Kingston, Jamaica, formally lowered the Maple Leaf flag today to mark the end of Operation JAGUAR and celebrate the successful completion of its mandate.
â€œCanada and Jamaica enjoy close, long-standing and historic bilateral relations. The Canadian Forces have enjoyed a productive 45-year relationship with the Jamaica Defence Force, which has been mutually beneficial,â€ said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. â€œI’m proud our Forces are building on their long-standing traditions of working with allies and making a difference in the lives of others.â€
Operation JAGUAR began with a request from the Government of Jamaica for military aviation and search-and-rescue support.Â Task Force Jamaica, the team deployed on Operation JAGUAR, arrived at Up Park Camp, the headquarters of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Air Wing, on August 10, 2011, with three CHâ€‘146 Griffon helicopters and 65 Canadian Forces personnel under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Christian Lalande.
â€œIt was an honour to participate in the flag lowering ceremony today that marked the end of Operation JAGUAR. We recognize those Canadian men and women who have had the opportunity to serve in Jamaica these past few months,â€ said General Walt Natynczyk, the Chief of the Defence Staff. â€œWe were privileged to have had this time to strengthen our relationships, through training and experience, with our partners in the Jamaica Defence Force. It’s my hope that we will continue to work together, both in the Caribbean and wherever we may be called upon to serve next.â€
Brigadier Rocky Meade, Jamaicaâ€™s Deputy Chief of Defence, also attended. â€œThe relationship between the Jamaica Defence Force and the Canadian Forces has been a long-standing one and is an embodiment of the mutually beneficial relationship shared over the past four decades,â€ he said. â€œThe Jamaica Defence Force would like to recognize the efforts of the Canadian Forces for their commitment to the task. Notably, Operation JAGUAR serves as a testament to the continued collaborative efforts between the Jamaica Defence Force and the Canadian Forces.â€
The recently concluded Operation JAGUAR assisted in fulfilling the mandate of the JDF while enabling the Canadian Forces to conduct mission-essential training for search-and-rescue operations. Since August 16, when flying operations began, Task Force Jamaica supported the JDF with 29 search-and-rescue missions, casualty evacuation missions and medical evacuation missions, assisting 31 Jamaicans. Search-and-rescue training â€“ more than 445 hours in total as of November 14 â€“ resulted in qualifications for 17 pilots and flight engineers.
With their mandate successfully completed, the members of Task Force Jamaica are now preparing to return to Canada with their aircraft and equipment. All CF personnel are scheduled to be back in Canada by the end of November.
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