Brigadier-General James Irvine assumed command of Joint Task Force-Iraq (JTF-I) as part of a regular planned rotation for Operation IMPACT, Canada’s contribution in the fight against ISIS.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to once again lead an agile and versatile team to carry out this important international mission. Under the leadership of Brigadier-General Bourgon, the Task Force accomplished an incredible amount of work, putting forward a tremendous effort to effectively contribute to the mission to disrupt and degrade ISIS,” said the incoming Commander.
He assumes Command from Brigadier-General Lise Bourgon.
Irvine, a RCAF CP-140 pilot, has served in the Air Force at the crew, flight, detachment, squadron and wing levels. He was Commanding Officer of 405 “Pathfinder” Squadron during Operation ATHENA in Afghanistan. Irvine recently served as Director of Plans at the Canadian Joint Operations Command.
“Brigadier-General Irvine brings experience, expertise, and a proven record of operational leadership to his post as the new Commander of Joint Task Force-Iraq. As JTF-I moves forward under Brigadier-General Irvine’s watch, I thank Brigadier-General Lise Bourgon for her unwavering commitment to the success of Operation IMPACT,” said the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Johnathan Vance.
The new Defence Minister, Harjit Sajjan, also offered his congratulations to Irvine.
“I would like to express my sincere congratulations to Brigadier-General Irvine on his appointment as commander of Joint Task Force-Iraq. I am confident that his leadership will contribute to the coalition’s success in stopping the advance of ISIS and countering the global terrorist threat,” said Sajjan.
Irvine will command close to 600 members of the CAF deployed on Operation IMPACT, Canada’s military contribution to the coalition against ISIS. JTF-I includes Air Task Force-Iraq (ATF-I) as well as planning teams and liaison officers working within the U.S.-led coalition. The CAF is participating in a wide range of operations including the use of special operations forces in training, advising and assisting Iraqi security forces.
Three types of aircrafts operate under the Air Task Force-Iraq. The CC-150T Polaris supports other aircrafts in the region with aerial refueling; the CP-140 Aurora conducts intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in areas of interest; and the CF-18 Hornet conducts airstrike missions.
As of Nov. 14, the ATF-I has conducted 1747 sorties, in-air operations carried out by a single aircraft.
Canada’s involvement in the coalition fighting against ISIS began last fall. The CAF first involvement was on Aug. 28 with the delivery of supplies by the CAF to security forces in Iraq. A delivery of 35, 000 pounds of military supplies, donated by the Republic of Albania, was delivered.
On Sept. 5, then Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the deployment of dozens of CAF personnel to Iraq to join the U.S. in advising the Iraqi Government in the fight against ISIS. The First ATF-I missions were carried out in late October of last year.