19 Wing Comox is based on Vancouver Island. Its Aurora crews keep watch over the Pacific Ocean while its search and rescue teams regularly locate downed aircraft in some of Canada’s roughest terrain.
19 Wing has a rich history, which began with the construction of the air base in 1942 to protect the Pacific coastline from a possible Japanese invasion.
Today, its two operational squadrons fly the CP-140 Aurora Long Range Patrol Aircraft, CC-115 Buffalo Search and Rescue (SAR) Aircraft, and the CH-149 Cormorant Helicopters.
Using the CP-140 Aurora, the pilots and crews of 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron spend long hours on surveillance missions over the ocean looking for illegal fishing, migration, drugs and pollution in addition to foreign submarines. They can also perform search and rescue missions using air-droppable survival pods.
With CC-115 Buffalo Aircraft and CH-149 Cormorant Helicopters, 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron carries out search and rescue operations in the busiest region in Canada, stretching from the B.C.-Washington border to the Arctic, and from the Rocky Mountains to 1,200 km out into the Pacific.
In addition to its operational squadrons, the Wing is home to 19 Air Maintenance Squadron and a national training school, the Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue (CFSSAR). 19 Wing also supports cadet training at the Regional Cadet Gliding School (Pacific) and HMCS Quadra sea cadet camp.
CFB Comox’s airfield also serves as a civilian airport for commercial flights destined to Vancouver, Calgary, Campbell River, Edmonton and Mexico (Cancun and Puerta Vallarta). The base hosts a biennial airshow (although not held from 2005 to 2012) to celebrate Canadian Forces Day. The base is also home to the Comox Air Force Museum which features several aircraft and other historical exhibits. The base is a primary employer in the Comox Valley.
You can continue on up to the Northernmost tip of the island to the town of Port Hardy. This is not only a beautiful area with lots of recreation around, but is the gateway to Cape Scott as well as a ferry terminal for some of the more remote locations such as Bella Coola, Prince Rupert and the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii). Check out their website for more information.