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Posted: June 24, 2021

Local plays role in record counter-terrorism mission

Captain Justin Hanlon, Air Combat Systems Officer from HMCS Calgary’s embarked air detachment, disembarks from a CH-148 Cyclone during flight operations in support of counter-smuggling operations on 17 May, 2021 in the Arabian Sea and during OPERATION ARTEMIS and as part of Combined Task Force 150.

Captain (Capt.) Justin Hanlon, 28, grew up in Sparwood and he has come a long way over the years after joining the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as a maritime helicopter Tactical Coordinator (TACCO) and travelling the world.

He is currently deployed on the Canadian warship Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Calgary which just finished Operation (Op) ARTEMIS, a successful counter-terrorism and maritime security mission in the Middle East.

On June 14, HMCS Calgary wrapped up a successful counter-terrorism and maritime security mission in the Middle East. From April to June, the ship was deployed on ARTEMIS, conducting maritime interdiction operations in the Arabian Sea.

On this mission, the ship worked under the command of the Canadian-led Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), one of the three task forces operating under Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a 34-nation partnership dedicated to maritime security in Middle-Eastern waters.

As part of Op ARTEMIS, HMCS Calgary interdicted suspicious vessels on the high seas to stop the flow of illicit goods, most frequently narcotics, which regional terrorist and criminal groups use to fund their illegal activities.

HMCS Calgary set two records while performing on this mission. Their 17 successful counter-narcotics seizures were the most any single ship has made on any rotation in the history of CMF – setting the record not only in terms of number of seizures, but also in terms of weight of narcotics seized and wholesale dollar value. The ship also set the record for the largest single heroin seizure in CMF history.

Capt. Hanlon was part of HMCS Calgary’s CH-148 Cyclone helicopter air detachment. The air detachment played a key role in the ship’s success on Operation ARTEMIS, searching for suspicious smuggling vessels at sea. As a TACCO, and as the air detachment’s Operations Officer, Capt Hanlon was responsible for planning operations, and flying as part of the air crew to execute them.

HMCS Calgary (FFH 335) is a Halifax-class frigate that has served in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) since 1995.

Captain Justin Hanlon

Capt. Hanlon went to Sparwood Secondary School and became deeply involved with the 279 Elk Valley Royal Air Cadet Squadron. Inspired by his cadet experience, after high school he attended Royal Military College (RMC) in Kingston, Ontario.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the military. The fact that I was so passionate about it and that RMC actually paid me to go to school helped get my mom on board,” he said.

Capt. Hanlon finds his current deployment very rewarding.

“The most rewarding aspect for me is that the air det and the ship have had immense success on Operation ARTEMIS and it was great to be a part of that in an immediate way,” he said.

Captain Hanlon’s parents Bill and Sue still live in Sparwood. He also stays in touch with his old cadet squadron, in particular the officer Capt. (retired) Bruce Timbrell, Capt. Murray Clow, and Capt. Sherri Shaw.

Lead image: Captain Justin Hanlon is an Air Combat Systems Officer aboard HMCS Calgary’s embarked air detachment, planning, coordinating and directing the missions of the embarked CH-148 Cyclone detachment, along with operating the precision tactical navigation systems, sensors, communication systems, electronic warfare equipment, and weapon delivery systems. Photo taken on 14 June, 2021 in the Arabian Sea during OPERATION ARTEMIS. Photos by Corporal Lynette Ai Dang, HMCS CALGARY, Imagery Technician ©2021 DND/MDN CANADA

Captain Justin Hanlon, an Air Combat Systems Officer from HMCS Calgary’s embarked air detachment, operates the sensors of a CH-148 Cyclone during an exercise with Kapal Diraja Brunei (Royal Bruneian Navy Ship) Darussalim, just off the coast of Brunei on 28 March, 2021.

Submitted by Canadian Armed Forces


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