[ Baden Soellingen ]

4 WING Operations
Wing Operations has been an integral part of Canadian Forces Base Baden since its origin in 1953. 4 Wing Operations has been comprised of Intelligence, Meteorological, Air Traffic Control, Flight Safety and Tactical Evaluation Sections. From 1953 to 1968, 4 Wing Operations was headed by a Wing Commander. When integration occurred in 1968 the Wing Operations branch retained its structure but the rank of its Operations Officer changed to Lieutenant-Colonel. This was not to last though as 4 Wing officially disbanded in 1970 to become Canadian Forces Base Europe Detachment Baden. In 1978 Wing Operations regained its former prominence and its functions have remained relatively unchanged over the years.

With the arrival of 62 F-86 Sabres in August 1953 Wing Operations assumed the formidable task of posturing the Wing into a "lean, mean, fighting machine", capable of responding to every conceivable operational tasking.

The next decade witnessed many changes to the posturing of aircraft resources and assignment of operational commitments to 4 Wing. Variously CF-100s, C-45s and Sabres graced the skies of Europe, with T- 33s outlasting them all. A total of 14 CF-100s and 166 Sabres were lost in Europe during this hectic chapter of our history.

With the arrival of the CF-104s in 1963, Wing Operations was tasked to co-ordinate the Quick Reaction Alert (Strike) mission and hence, develop the Wing Operations Center on a twenty-four hour/seven days a week (24/7) basis. In conjunction with this new tasking, 4 Wing was subjected to its first evaluation by NATO. Again, Wing Operations was faced with a new challenge of developing the Wing's readiness posture. With this objective in mind all units gave 100 percent resulting in 4 Wing passing its first Tactical Evaluation with flying colors. This trend continued right through to the subsequent CF- 18 operational era at Canadian Forces Base Baden-Soellingen, from 1985 - 1992. It was during this final period of fighter operations that Wing Operations underwent its last series of adjustments.

In 1985 emphasis was placed on survival to operate with the development of an alternate Air Traffic Control Tower and alternate bunker for Wing Operations. The main operations compound experienced a face-lift also, with area fencing and a controlled access point being added. Even the exercise perpetrators were quick to learn that the Wing Operations Center and Alternate Wing Operations Center were impregnable under the cunning leadership of the Base Commander and Wing Operations Officer. It was also at this time that the CF- 18 Weapons Simulator Trainer would commence operation, manned by two pilot officers and a support staff under Wing Operations control.

In 1986, 4 Wing experienced a runway change from 04/22 to 03/21 and accepted a multi role operational commitment (air-to-air/air-to-ground). Preparations commenced in earnest for a NATO Tactical Evaluation. Nine Starfighters and one National Tactical Evaluation were completed in the span of a year, gearing the Wing fully for the NATO Evaluation and culminating in an excellent rating.

As "perestroika" and "glasnost" loomed in Europe, 4 Wing Operations, with 409 Squadron forming the core operational unit, was tasked to develop plans and co-ordinate the movement of personnel, aircraft and support equipment to the Persian Gulf Theatre of Operations Members of Wing Operations served in both OPERATION FRICTION and OPERATION SCIMITAR, principally at the Wing deployment base, in Doha, Qatar.

By March 1991 the last jets were returning to Baden-Soellingen from the Gulf and the Wing Operations branch was well on its way to developing a Quick Reaction Alert (Intercept) capability for the CF- 18. This was to be the last major undertaking for 4 Wing Operations, as shortly there after the government announced the close down of Canadian Forces Base Baden-Soellingen.

Looking back over the last four decades Wing Operations has had its share of challenges and successes. As the nucleus of Air Operations in 4 Wing it has experienced the best years imaginable - its personnel having served with great distinction. Wing Operations was and probably will remain the best the air force has seen thanks to the professionalism and extraordinary achievements of the many people who have served there.

[ Baden Remembered | Forty Years ]