RememberingUncategorized

Marking the 30th Anniversary of “Boxtop 22” Crash

For the 30th anniversary, personnel at Canadian Forces Station Alert will hold a ceremony on October 30, 2021, to remember the survivors and those lost in the crash of CC130 Hercules 130322, call-sign ‘BOXTOP 22.’

“It is always important to remember those who have died in the service of Canada,” stated Major (Maj) Benoit Carbonneau, Commanding Officer, Canadian Forces Station Alert. The five Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members lost in the crash of BOXTOP 22 were conducting a critical resupply mission to Canadian Forces Station Alert.

Memorial cairn to the victims and survivors of “Boxtop 22″ located at Canadian Forces Station Alert in Nunavut.

“Operation BOXTOP is the annual resupply mission to CFS Alert. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to continue our mission at the Station. It’s also important to remember the massive, co-ordinated search and rescue operation that took place following the crash. Thanks to the bravery and perseverance of the RCAF SAR crews, CFS Alert members, and support staff that day, 13 people survived and were able to return home to their families,” Maj Carbonneau added.

At this year’s ceremony, there won’t be any survivors presenting in person. Still, the commemoration will feature a short documentary titled “Ordeal in the Arctic,” which serves as a depiction/re-enactment of the entire incident as reported by survivors, according to Maj Carbonneau.

October 30, 1991

Those in the crash were Captain John Couch, pilot, 435 Transport Squadron, Edmonton, Alberta, Captain Judy Trépanier, logistics officer, Canadian Forces Communication Command Headquarters, Ottawa, Ontario, Master Warrant Officer Tom Jardine, regional services manager CANEX, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario, Warrant Officer Robert Grimsley, supply technician, Canadian Forces Communication Command Headquarters, Ottawa, and Master Corporal Roland Pitre, traffic technician, 435 Squadron.

In January 2015, then Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada David Johnston laid a wreath at the Boxtop 22 memorial, commemorating the crash of a CC-130 Hercules and the loss of five lives. In the background are the graves of nine men who died during the crash of a Lancaster aircraft in 1950. Photo by Sergeant Ronald Duchesne, Rideau Hall.

Lives Lost

The following lost their lives:

    • Captain John Couch, pilot, 435 Transport Squadron, Edmonton, Alberta,
    • Captain Judy Trépanier, logistics officer, Canadian Forces Communication Command Headquarters, Ottawa, Ontario
    • Master Warrant Officer Tom Jardine, regional services manager CANEX, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario
    • Warrant Officer Robert Grimsley, supply technician, Canadian Forces Communication Command Headquarters, Ottawa
    • Master Corporal Roland Pitre, traffic technician, 435 Squadron.

Due to hazardous weather conditions, several rescue attempts were launched by both land and air but were rendered unsuccessful. After more than 30 hours, the first search and rescue technicians were able to parachute onto the site and provide medical support to the 13 survivors.

The Rescued

The rescued included:

    • Robert Thomson, civilian, Canadian Forces Base Trenton
    • Susan Hillier, civilian, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Captain Richard Dumoulin, logistics officer, Canadian Forces Communication Command Headquarters
    • Captain Wilma DeGroot, doctor, Canadian Forces Base Trenton Lieutenant Joe Bales, pilot, 435 Squadron
    • Lieutenant Mike Moore, navigator, 435 Squadron
    • Master Warrant Officer Marc Tremblay, supply technician, Canadian Forces Communication Command Headquarters Sergeant Paul West, flight engineer, 435 Squadron
    • Master Corporal Tony Cobden, communications researcher, 770 Communication Research Squadron, Gander, Newfoundland
    • Master Corporal David Meace, radio technician, 1 Canadian Division Headquarters and Signal Squadron, Canadian Forces Base Kingston, Ontario,
    • Master Corporal Mario Ellefsen, communications researcher, Canadian Forces Station Leitrim, Ottawa
    • Master Seaman “Monty” Montgomery, communications researcher, Canadian Forces Station Leitrim
    • Private Bill Vance, communications researcher, Canadian Forces Station Leitrim.

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Julia Lennips

Julia is a journalist who is an avid reader and an artist. She is living in North Bay, ON pursing her passion for reporting.

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