Operation BANDIT

International Operation Name: not applicable

International Operation Dates: not applicable

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name:  Central America

Location:  Haiti

Canadian Operation Name: Operation BANDIT

Canadian Operation Dates: 1988/01/05 – 1988/02/09

Mission Mandate:

To evacuate Canadians from Haiti

Mission Notes: 

The Haitian Army aborted the elections planned for 29 November 1987, in part due to the high level of violence. These were rescheduled for 17 January 1988. The deteriorating situation caused concern within the Department of External Affairs over the security of the estimated 1400 Canadians living in Haiti. The CF was tasked with preparing an evacuation plan, should it be required, planning having started on 11 December, with more detailed planning commencing 20 December. This planning anticipated similar American actions, although there was no collaboration between Canada and the United States.

Should an immediate evacuation be required, an immediate mission, given the name Op SPEAR was to be implemented. As it was, a more detailed plan was drawn up – Op BANDIT. On 30 December 1987, a DCDS Warning Order was issued, preparing the naval component of the operation, under cover of an exercise in the Puerto Rico Operating Area. On 5 January 1988, naval Task Force 300.1 departed Halifax, composed of HMC ships Athabaskan, Preserver and Skeena. Onboard were two members of the Royal 22nd Regiment, an air transport advisor, a signals intelligence team, and three CH-135 Twin Hueys and four CH-124 Sea Kings and required air and ground crew. The Task Force remained in the area of Haiti from 15 to 19 January. Had the evacuation taken place, CC-130 and CC-115 Buffalo would also have been used to fly three companies from the R22eR to secure airfields to further speed the evacuation.

As it was, there was only very limited violence. The elections went forward and President Leslie-Francois Manigat assumed power on 7 February, only to be overthrown by a military coup on 20 June 1988.

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