Task Force Mali conducts personnel rotation

News release

January 25, 2019 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Today marks the halfway point of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) deployment of a helicopter Task Force to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the rotation of deployed personnel into and out of theatre. During a Transfer of Command Authority ceremony held in Gao, Mali, Colonel Chris McKenna, outgoing Commander Task Force (TF) Mali, handed over command responsibility to Colonel Travis Morehen, incoming Commander TF Mali.

As outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged - Canada’s Defence Policy, UN peace operations are an important tool for the international community to promote and support peace and security around the world. Through Operation PRESENCE, our CAF personnel are providing a critical aeromedical evacuation and air transport capability that is saving the lives of peacekeepers and civilians in the operational area.

This contribution is part of an integrated, whole-of-government approach in Mali built on nearly five decades of cooperation in the development, humanitarian, and security sectors. It also delivers on Canada's commitment to increase its support for UN peace operations and help the UN respond to the complex and broad challenges it is facing in its missions around the world.


“Through Operation PRESENCE, the women and men of our Canadian Armed Forces are providing critical support to MINUSMA to help set conditions for durable peace, development, and prosperity in Mali. Congratulations and thank you to all CAF members who have just returned home from their deployment. I am confident that the next rotation of CAF personnel will continue to deliver lifesaving medical evacuation support to further assist MINUSMA in its mission.”

—   Defence Minister, Harjit S. Sajjan

“Congratulations to the CAF personnel who recently completed their deployment on Operation PRESENCE. Your invaluable contribution to MINUSMA with world-class medical and casualty evacuations as well as transport and logistics support reflects the best of what Canada has to offer. I also welcome the next rotation of dedicated aviators and soldiers who will continue delivering these essential functions to enable MINUSMA to fulfill its mandate.”

—   Lieutenant-General Mike Rouleau, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command

“Operation PRESENCE delivers a world-class aeromedical evacuation capability for the UN and by doing so, saves lives in Mali. Our operations guarantee our partners have the confidence to manoeuvre on the ground and that we are here to support them. We are proud to have been part of MINUSMA and contribute to the stabilization of the Sahel. My team has my unwavering respect and admiration for a job well done.”

—   Colonel Chris McKenna, Commander Task Force Mali (outgoing)

“I am extremely honoured to lead this rotation of 250 Canadian Armed Forces members operating alongside our MINUSMA partners. Our task is noble and our purpose clear: we bring a highly-effective, aeromedical capability that ultimately saves lives and allows greater freedom of movement for our international partners working to stabilize the region. I can think of few things more rewarding than helping a country provide its people with better security and prosperity for the future.”

—   Colonel Travis Morehen, Commander Task Force Mali (incoming)

Quick facts

  • The Task Force consists of approximately 250 CAF personnel in Gao, Mali.

  • Task Force Mali, which includes CH-147F Chinook and CH-146 Griffon helicopters, provides MINUSMA with a critical capability for forward aeromedical evacuation, transportation and logistical support. The three Chinook helicopters provide transport and logistics capability, and the five Griffon helicopters provide armed escort and defensive tasks. One of each aircraft type is a spare airframe to ensure we can sustain 24/7 operations. 

  • As of January 2019, Task Force Mali has conducted seven medical evacuation missions and has flown more than 2,100 hours in support of MINUSMA. The CC-130J Hercules aircraft from the Tactical Airlift Detachment has flown more than 850 hours and has airlifted more than 1.6 million pounds of cargo, in support of Op PRESENCE. The Tactical Airlift Detachment and Operational Support Hub has been enabling Task Force Mali by supporting sustainment flights and air transport within the area of operation.

  • Outgoing personnel are mainly from 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, Edmonton. They are being replaced by personnel from 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, Valcartier. The Chinook crews from 450 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, Petawawa, will handover with their own personnel. Other support personnel come from various CAF units across Canada. The redeploying CAF members were in Mali from July 2018 to January 2019. Task Force Mali’s year-long mission in support of MINUSMA will be complete on July 31, 2019.

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Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-2353
Email: mlo-blm@forces.gc.ca

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