Operation MAGNET III

International Operation Name: not applicable

International Operation Dates:  not applicable

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name:  Asia

Location: Malaysia

Canadian Operation Name: Operation MAGNET III

Canadian Operation Dates: 1981/01/01 – 1981/04/10

Mission Mandate:

The Department of National Defence will support the Department of Employment and Immigration's Program for the Reception and Redistribution of South East Asian Refugees in transporting and processing refugees from South East Asia

Mission Notes:

After the fall of Saigon in 1975, significant numbers of Indochinese (predominately Vietnamese, Laotian and Kampuchean) citizens fled the region for fear of retribution under the new Communist regime. The result was a refugee crisis, which garnered world attention.

Canada's response to this situation would be Operation Magnet in 1978, which was followed by Operation MAGNET II in 1979. By the end of Op MAGNET II on 01 January 1981, over 50,000 refugees had entered Canada with the CF's help.

Op MAGNET III would be a continuation of Op MAGNET II, but on a smaller scale, with the CF supporting the newly formed Department of Employment and Immigration's Program for the Reception and Redistribution of South East Asian Refugees. Officially commencing on 01 January 1981, 437 Transport Squadron's CC-137's were tasked to continue to provide transportation for incoming refugees from Kuala Lumpur, via Hong Kong, Tokyo and USAFB Elmendorf, Alaska, to Montreal where the Longue Pointe Garrison (which was used in the two previous Op MAGNETs) would receive and process the individuals involved. Op MAGNET III would be directed by CFB Montreal's Commanding Officer, Col. J. E. P. Lalonde.

By the time all logistical aspects of Op MAGNET III were concluded on 10 April 1981, including the restoration of CFB Montreal facilities to military use, an additional 3,295 refugees had been processed, bringing the total for all three Op Magnet's to 56,891 persons received. Four years later, in 1985, the citizens of Canada would be recognized for their willingness to accept so many Indochinese refugees, with the award of the United Nations Nansen Medal for services to refugees. This was the first and only time this award has gone to the citizens of an entire nation.


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