We are currently in the process of updating this segment of our web site to document the changes in Canadian foreign and defence policy in the post 9/11 era. While our in-depth material on this topic is being prepared, we offer this interim photo narrative.
The promotion of Lieutenant-General Rick Hillier to General and his appointment as Chief of the Defence Staff effective 4 February 2005 was a clear signal that the Government of Prime Minister Paul Martin was initiating a radical change of direction for the Canadian Forces. Here we seem him in Kabul on 4 February 2004 when he assumed command of the NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
A key component of the rebuilding of the Canada's armed forces was the procurement of new equipment. One of the most critical needs was new C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, the workhorse of Canada’s strategic transport air fleet. A replacement project to procure “at least 16” C-130J Hercules was announced by Defence Minister Bill Graham on 22 November 2005.
Here we see the first of the 17 procured arriving at Trenton on 4 June 2010. Defence Minister Peter MacKay appears in the roof hatch.
The Conservative government’s first Minister of National Defence, Gordon O’Connor, insisted that the Canadian Forces air transport fleet needed more than just the Hercules fleet. He convinced cabinet that we should procure also four Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft (in Canadian usage designated C-177). Canada would no longer have to hire aircraft space for loads larger than the capacity of a Hercules.
The Globemaster can carry loads as large and heavy as a Leopard tank. Canada can now deploy military force or humanitarian aid anywhere in the world using its own resources and on its own timetable! In the photos below we see a Sea King Helicopter being loaded at Shearwater and, mere weeks after being accepted in Trenton, another Globemaster departs for the humanitarian relief mission to aid Myanmar, hit by a devastating cyclone.
Canada's Navy was perhaps the first of our armed forces to commence operations in the “War on Terrorism” campaign that followed the horrific attack by Islamist terrorists on the United States on 11 September 2001. In fact the navy had been continuously deployed in the Persion Gulf and Arabian Sea since the first Gulf War that followed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
On 17 October 2001 we see the Canadian Fleet Atlantic Headquarters building in HMC Dockyard Halifax flying a farewell banner for the departure of HMC ships Iroquois, Charlottetown and Preserver, deploying to the Arabian Sea for Operation APOLLO, Canada's military contribution to the international war against terrorism
while on 26 November HMCS Preserver, refuels the United States Navy warship USS Ingraham in the Persian Gulf.
More recently the navy's attention in the region has shifted to Somali based pirates harassing shipping in the area of the Horn of Africa.
In April 2009 Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg escorts a United Nations World Food Program contracted ship carrying urgent humanitarian supplies to Somalia during counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
Right, a CH-124 Sea King Helicopter provides air support to Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Fredericton’s Naval Boarding Party as they approach a fishing dhow during a routine operation in the Gulf of Aden on 1 December 2009.
Here the Naval Boarding Party from Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg boarded a dhow that matched the description of a vessel that reportedly opened fire on a merchant vessel in a shipping lane in the Gulf of Aden on 9 April 2009. The vessels were later released following a thorough search.