438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron

Badge. Argent the head of a wildcat affronté Gules langued Azure.
Motto: Going down
Significance: The wildcat represents the squadron's nickname. The motto is taken from the last instructions of the formation leader when the Second World War Typhoon fighter bombers of this unit were about to attack.

438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron is located at Saint-Hubert, Quebec. With a typical staffing level of 50 percent reservists and 50 percent Regular Force members, 438 Squadron typifies the Total Force concept.

Equipped with CH-146 Griffons, 438 Squadron’s tasks include armed and unarmed tactical utility transport, training tactical helicopter aircrew personnel in basic and advanced aviation tactics, technical training of CH-146 ground crew personnel and flight engineers, and the periodic maintenance of CH-146 fleet aircraft. They also include as residual capabilities search and rescue, reconnaissance, and support to federal, provincial and local law enforcement agencies.

438 Squadron also proudly boasts a full 35 piece professional Air Reserve military band. Their reserve status notwithstanding, the members of the 438 Squadron Band are all professional musicians with many possessing remarkable academic achievements in their field.

438 Squadron had its roots dating back to September 1934, when it was created in the auxiliaries in Montreal as 18 (Bomber) Squadron, at the behest of local francophone World War I veterans and influential members of the local business community and was the very first RCAF francophone squadron.

Renumbered 118 Squadron shortly before World War 2, its reservists were activated for full time war service on 3 September 1939 with the unit’s role changing to support to Coastal Artillery in Nova Scotia. 118 Squadron became a fighter unit in early 1941 and spent the next 3 years patrolling Canada’s East and West coasts flying the Kittyhawk fighter.  

Renumbered 438 upon arrival in the United Kingdom in November 1943, it was now a fighter-bomber squadron on the powerful Hawker Typhoon. After the war, it was reformed at St-Hubert equipped with Vampires and Sabres, becoming 438 "City of Montreal" Squadron Reserve.

With unification, it took on the role of an Air Reserve Squadron based at Canadian Forces Base Montreal flying the CC-123 Otter and CH-136 Kiowa aircraft. In January 1996, the Kiowas were retired from service and that April the Squadron took delivery of its first CH-146 Griffon. The squadron simultaneously absorbed 401 (Kiowa OTU) Squadron and 1 Tactical Aviation Support Squadron with many Regular Force members. The arrival of the Aviation Tactics Flight in 2015 gave 438 Squadron its current dynamic mixed composition.

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

438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron
PO BOX 100 Stn Bureau-Chef
Richelain QC  J0J 1R0

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