Operation UNIFY

International Information

International Operation Name: Operation UNIFY

International Mission Name: Operation UNIFY

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name: North America

Location: United States

Mission Date: 31 August 2008 - 1 September 2008

Mandate: to assist in the preparations for Hurricane Gustav

Details: Hurricane Gustav was the third hurricane of 2008 season. Formed early on 25 August southeast of Haiti, the storm increased rapidly in strength and reached hurricane strength the next morning. Later on the 26th it struck Haiti, and caused extensive flooding in that country and the Dominican Republic. Jamaica also received heavy rains, before Gustav hit western Cuba as a Category 5 storm, as it wandered around the Caribbean. Around 9:00 AM on 1 September, Hurricane Gustav came ashore in Louisiana. At that time its strength was just below Category 3, but began to weaken as it moved inland. By 10:00 PM on 1 September it was a tropical storm. In the process, Gustav was responsible for an estimated 110 deaths and $18 billion (US) in property damage. It had produced severe flooding in Haiti and forced the evacuation of 1.9 million people in southern Louisiana. 

On 14 February 2008, the United States and Canada signed the Civil Assistance Plan, which formalized the long-standing military co-operation between the two nations in support of civil emergencies in either country. It was first used with Hurricane Gustav as the storm approached New Orleans when the United States Government requested Canadian assistance. Under the name Operation UNIFY, the CF sent a CC-177 Globemaster from 429 Squadron and two CC-130 Hercules, one from 14 Wing Greenwood and one from 17 Wing Winnipeg. The Globemaster arrived at Lakefront Municipal Airport, just east of New Orleans on 31 August with the task of airlifting civilians from the area. Partly fitted with seats, the Globemaster could carry up to 150 persons on each flight. Some of the evacuees were not ambulatory and required medical assistance. They were flown to Little Rock, Arkansas after which the aircraft returned to Trenton.

The two Hercules were dispatched to US Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida where they were placed on standby for any potential search and rescue operations. Their date of return to Canada is not known.


02 Sep 08
Pensacola, Florida, USA
Photo by Pte Melissa Spence

Mass Communication Specialist, Petty Officer Third Class (PO3) Kenneth Hendrix rolls tape as Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) Riza Caparros, both from Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, interviews Captain
(Capt) Leighton James. 

Capt James is the Air Commander of a Search and Rescue (SAR) Hercules from 413 Squadron based out of 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

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