During a special ceremony held July 13, 2018, command of 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron (SOAS) officially changed hands in Petawawa, ON. Lieutenant-Colonel Jeremy Fountain assumed command from Lieutenant-Colonel Clay Rook before an audience of unit members and distinguished guests of the Squadron and Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM).
“It has been a true honour and privilege to lead 427 SOAS over the past two years. All squadron members have worked tirelessly to ensure the unit is well-positioned and ready to take on future challenges,” said Lt.-Col. Rook in a press release issued July 13. “I am confident that the Squadron will enjoy continued success under the leadership of Lt.-Col. Fountain.”
Lt.-Col. Rook accepted command of 427 SOAS on July 5, 2016, from Lt.-Col. Jeffrey Orr. Lt.-Col. Rook attended Royal Military College of Canada and received his Bachelor of Commerce. He has over 26 years’ experience in the Canadian Armed Forces.
“It is an extreme privilege to command 427 SOAS, which has benefited greatly from the strong leadership of Lt.-Col. Rook. I will do my utmost to enable the exceptional people of this squadron to continue to provide world-class, precision aviation support to CANSOFCOM,” said Lt.-Col. Fountain in a press release issued July 13.
Lt.-Col. Fountain has more than 18 years of experience in the CAF and has held positions in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), CANSOFCOM and 9 Regiment Army Air Corps in the UK. He was awarded his Master’s Degree in Defence Studies by Canada’s Royal Military College. Lt.-Col. Fountain’s operational experience includes tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
The ceremony was presided over by Major-General Peter Dawe, Commander CANSOFCOM. During this ceremony, Lt.-Col. Rook’s two-year tenure as commanding officer of Canada’s only special operations aviation squadron came to an end.
“427 SOAS provides me with precise special operations aviation effects that enable our success in support of Government of Canada objectives. Lt.-Col. Clay Rook has demonstrated outstanding leadership throughout his time at 427 SOAS,” said Maj.-Gen. Dawe in a press release issued July 13. “I welcome Lt.-Col. Jeremy Fountain on his return to CANSOFCOM and look forward to his leadership of Canada’s special forces aviators.”
427 SOAS has been a part of CANSOFCOM since 2006, and they are equipped with CH‑146 Griffon helicopters, providing dedicated special operations aviation effects to all of the units within CANSOFCOM.
The day before, on July 12, the Squadron also held an Honorary Colonel Change of Appointment ceremony, where the Squadron said goodbye to Honorary Colonel Del Lippert and welcomed Honorary Colonel Lianne Ing as the new 427 SOAS Honorary Colonel.
A native of Deep River, Ont., Honorary Col. Ing has more than 15 years with Bubble Technology Industries. A University of Toronto graduate with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering, she currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and is an active member of the Chamber’s Small & Medium Enterprise Committee.
Since 1970, more than 225 distinguished Canadians have served the RCAF through the Honorary Colonel program. Honorary Colonels act as advisors to unit commanders, becoming critical members within the Air Force environment. There are around 60 appointments throughout the RCAF at any one time.