408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron

Badge: Argent a Canada goose volant proper.
Motto: For freedom
Significance: The Canada goose is at home in Canada, England and Scotland. Its speed and power of flight are indicative of the operational functions of the squadron.

408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (THS) is co-located with 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group at the 3rd Canadian Division Support Base, Edmonton, Alberta. 

Equipped with CH-146 Griffons, the squadron's primary role is helicopter support to the Canadian Army and other government departments.

The squadron has been involved in overseas operations such as in the Sinai Peninsula, Honduras, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, the Philippines, and Iraq, as well as many operations and exercises here at home.

408 THS remains ready to serve on future domestic and foreign operations, providing tactical helicopter support as required. 

408 Squadron was originally formed in Yorkshire, England on the 24th of June, 1941. The squadron, which would come to be known as the Goose Squadron, initially flew the Handley Page Hampden, and then the Handley Page Halifax. 

Over the course of the war, the squadron flew over 4,600 sorties. A total of 170 aircraft were lost and over 930 personnel were killed, listed as missing in action, or prisoners of war.

In August of 1943, the squadron moved from the Handley Page Halifax to the Avro Lancaster. The Squadron received a total of 11 battle honours for its wartime operations.

On January 10th 1949, Goose Squadron was reformed in Rockliffe, Ontario, flying Lancaster bombers for photo mapping of Canada. In 1962, a flight of Canadair CT-33 Silver Star aircraft was formed and given the additional task of photo reconnaissance in support of army exercises.  

The Avro Lancaster was retired on the 29th of February, 1964 and replaced with the Douglas C-47 Dakota. At this time, the squadron was moved to Rivers, Manitoba and re-designated as a transport support and area reconnaissance squadron. 

After being disbanded in 1970, 408 Squadron was once again reformed on January 1st, 1971 in Edmonton, Alberta as 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, equipped with the CH-135 Twin Huey and CH-136 Kiowa.

During this post-war era, the squadron flew several different aircraft — the Avro Lancaster, the Canso, the Noorduyn Norseman, the Douglas C-47 Dakota, the Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar, the T-33 Shooting Star, and the C-130 Hercules.

In September 1996, the squadron was re-equipped with CH-146 Griffons.  

The squadron deployed to Afghanistan from 2008 to 2011 in support of combat operations during Op ATHENA. It was during this operation that 408 earned its twelfth battle honour – the only battle honour received since the end of World War II.

In 2013, after typhoon Haiyan, 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron deployed to the Philippines to provide food, assistance personnel, medical relief, and infrastructure materials to isolated areas where roads and bridges had been destroyed.

In 2017, 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron deployed to Iraq, supporting Op IMPACT and NATO Mission - Iraq.

In 2018, the squadron deployed to Mali, on Op PRESENCE, in support of the United Nations.  408’s Griffons served as armed escort for CH-147 Chinooks, and conducted MEDEVAC for the United Nations’ Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA).

The complete squadron history is available on the National Defence, Directorate of History and Heritage website

408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron
Canadian Forces Base Edmonton
PO BOX 10500 Stn Forces
Edmonton AB  T5J 4J5

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