425 Tactical Fighter Squadron
To fulfil their mission, 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron (the Alouettes) have to maintain their skills in the air-to-air and air-to-ground roles. To achieve this, the Squadron participates in numerous deployments in addition to its routine training. In a typical year, the Alouettes deploy once to the Northwest Territories for NORAD exercises and take part in the contingency exercises such as Maple Flag at Cold Lake, Alberta. The Alouettes also participate in combined exercises with US Forces, such as Alouette Mobile, which is held annually at an American base.
Squadron personnel support local flight training at Bagotville, maintain round-the-clock alert status and provide the support necessary for the numerous deployments of 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron.
425 Squadron formed up on 25 June 1942 in Yorkshire, England. Its designation as the "First French Canadian Squadron" and its lark emblem, "Les Alouettes", made it a special squadron and it accordingly adopted the motto "Je te plumerai" ("I shall pluck you"). 425 Squadron, flying Wellingtons, Halifaxes and Lancasters, carried out over 287 bombing raids and earned more than 190 decorations during World War Two.
Like many other squadrons, 425 was decommissioned at the end of the war. It was reactivated in 1954 at St-Hubert, Quebec, equipped with the CF-100, the last Canadian-designed and built fighter. Its new role was that of all-weather fighter interceptor within the North American Air Defence Command (NORAD). In 1961, 425 Squadron was re-equipped with the CF-101 Voodoo at Namao, Alberta.
In July 1962, the Alouettes finally settled at the Bagotville base. Since then, the squadron has retained its fighter interceptor role in NORAD. A new era dawned in 1985 when it re-equipped with an ultra-modern aircraft, the CF-18 Hornet. 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron is an integral part of NORAD and of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In peacetime, the squadron's fighters provide continuous surveillance of the East Coast of Canada. In addition, it must be ready for rapid deployment anywhere in the world in support of NATO or contingency operations.
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