Canada Department of National Defence, September 13, 2018 - Ottawa – On September 11, 2018, a CH-147 Chinook and CH-146 Griffon helicopter took to the sky during Operation PRESENCE-Mali successfully helping a United Nations soldier reach medical aid.
Members of Task Force Mali were woken up in the early hours this morning by a request for medical evacuation north of Gao. At the time of the call, Gao was under severe weather conditions, however, within 20 minutes, visibility had cleared enough for the teams to launch and successfully evacuate the soldier and return to camp without further incident.
The medical evacuation is at the core of the Canadian Armed Forces efforts as part of the MINUSMA mission and this first successful Canadian MEDEVAC mission illustrates our commitment to peace and stability in the Sahel region.
“Our government promised Canadians we would renew our commitment to peacekeeping and we are doing just that. Through Operation PRESENCE—Mali, we are supporting United Nations peace-support operations and helping to secure the conditions for lasting peace and security in Mali. The successful execution of today’s first medical evacuation mission by the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces Task Force demonstrates that they have the skills and expertise necessary to make a meaningful difference in the region.”, said Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
“I am extremely proud to lead the Canadian Armed Forces personnel deployed under the UN in Mali, who completed a successful medical evacuation in a very challenging operating environment. The evacuation conducted by this group of specialized CAF personnel in Mali provides an opportunity to demonstrate our skills and expertise operations and indicates how our deployed personnel handle themselves with the professionalism and composure for which Canadian Armed Forces members are known.”, said Colonel Christopher McKenna, Commander of Task Force Mali, OP PRESENCE
Canada announced its intent to deploy an Air Task Force to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in March 2018, in response to a request from the UN.
The Air Task Force provides transport and logistics capability and includes a Forward Aeromedical Evacuation capability which include a number of Canadian Armed Forces personnel, which conducts medical evacuations for UN forces on the ground.
The Task Force demonstrates Canada’s ability to provide a critical capability to augment UN peace support operations in Mali through MINUSMA.