he origins of Canada's NATO air commitment date back to the early 1950's with the formation of the Royal Canadian Air Force's 1 Air Division. From headquarters at Metz in France, the division consisted of 12 squadrons divided into four wings, located at Marville and Grostenquin, France and Zweibrucken and Baden-Soellingen, Federal Republic of Germany.
Flying the F-86 Sabre and later joined by the CF- 100 all-weather fighter, the Canadians provided a significant and respected contribution to NATO's air defence capability.
The arrival of the CF-104 Starfighter in 1962 marked the change from air defence to the strike/reconnaissance role.
After the move from France in 1967, and following various consolidations, the Canadian Forces air element in Europe was reorganized in 1970 and 1 Air Division was superseded by 1 Canadian Air Group (1 CAG) with headquarters in Lahr, Federal Republic of Germany, and its operational units based entirely at Baden-Soellingen.
Another chapter of 1 Canadian Air Group's history began in 1972 when the Canadian government announced that the three remaining NATO assigned air squadrons would switch to the conventional attack role, discarding the nuclear strike capability and the reconnaissance mission.
1 Canadian Air Group entered a new era in June 1985 with the arrival of the CF- 18 aircraft. Three tactical fighter squadrons were operational in Canadian Forces Europe equipped with this multi-role aircraft: 409 (Night Hawk); 439 (Tiger); and 421 (Red Indian). Aircraft maintenance is the responsibility of 1 Air Maintenance Squadron, also located at Baden-Soellingen.
In accordance with government direction, Canada's commitment with the ACE Mobile Force (Air) in Northern Norway terminated at the end of May 1988. During that time the rapid reinforcement role of two Canada-based squadrons (416 and 433 Squadrons), shifted to the Central Region necessitating the reactivation of 1 Canadian Air Division with two wings of five CF-18 squadrons - 3 (Fighter) Wing Lahr and 4 (Fighter) Wing Baden-Soellingen.
With the disbandment of 421 Squadron in June 1992, 1 Canadian Air Division was reduced to one Tactical Fighter Squadron at Baden-Soellingen. 1 Canadian Air Division itself, was unofficially disbanded on 1 September 1992.