Thunderbird Wing

Thunderbird Wing

'From The Skies, Revenge'

- Thanks to Brad Clark

Country: Canada
Department: Canadian Air Force
HQ: National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ), Ottawa

Thunderbird wing is the unofficial wing name of the AH64s in Canadian Air Force service. The AH64 was first procured in secret by the Canadian government when it looked like Quebec would successfully secede in an unfriendly manner. In Canadian military circles WINGS are used to designate the units assigned to that air force base and not in the traditional way of assigning squadrons of aircraft to form a wing.

            Upon the procurement of the Apache, which was Canada’s first attack helicopter, Captain Rachel Stonebridge, an Ojibwa Indian started to refer to the ’64 as the Thunderbird (a figure important in Native American history and myth). While the name was never designated to the helicopter in Canadian service, the nickname stuck. No matter where the Apaches are based from, all AH64s belong to Thunderbird Wing.

            Despite the unofficial status of Thunderbird Wing, official shoulder patches bearing the Thunderbird motif have been issued to the Apache crews.

Squadron Organization

Flight Aircraft
HQ/Utility Flight 9 CH146 Griffon Helos

(6 Passenger/Cargo, 1 EW variant)

Alpha Flight 4 CH164 Apache Helos
Bravo Flight 4 CH164 Apache Helos
Charlie Flight 4 CH164 Apache Helos

Ground Crew Personal Assigned to Sqn

Crew Total
Aircrew - Apache 24 Techs, Pilots and Gunners (6 Spare)
Aircrew - Griffon 27 Techs, Pilots and Observers (9 Spare)
Ground Crew 94 Techs and Mechanics
Support Personnel 12 Medical (Including 2 Doctors)

15 Security Personnel (MP)

25 RMS Clerks

2 Chaplains (RC/PROT)

30 Drivers

8 Radio Operators

16 Ground Techs

8 Fire Fighters

10 Mechanics

Total: 276


Squadron Vehicles


1 Bison Command APC, 2 Hum-Vees, 2 Grizzly APC (For security -- rebuilt with 2 C6 GPMG mounted on rear cargo hatches), 2 Bison Ambulances, 2 LOSVW Ambulances, 2 Airfield Fire Engines, 2 10 000 Liter Tank Trucks, 2 5 000 Liter Tank Trucks, 1 10-ton Cargo Truck, 4 MLVWs, 3 LOSVW Maintenance Vans




Unit Location Badge Motto (Battle Honours)
401st Tactical Attack Sqn CFB Gagetown, NB 'City of Westmount'

Mors Celerrima Hostibus (Very swift death for the enemy)

Honours:  Battle of Britain 1940, Defence of Britain 1940-44, English Channel and North Sea 1942, Fortress Europe 1941-44, Dieppe, France and Germany 1944-45, Normandy 1944, Arnhem, Rhine

409th Tactical Attack Sqn CFB Gagetown, NB 'Red Bolt'

Media Nox Merides Noster (Midnight is our noon)

Honours:  Defence of Britain 1941-44, Fortress Europe 1942-44, France and Germany 1944-45, Normandy 1944, Rhine

411th Tactical Attack Sqn CFB Gagetown, NB 'County of York'

Inimicus Inimico (Hostile to the enemy)

Honours: Defence of Britain 1941-44, English Channel and North Sea 1942-43, Fortress Europe1941-44, Dieppe, France and Germany 1944-45, Normandy 1944, Arnhem, Rhine

418th Tactical Attack Sqn CFB Kingston, ON 'City of Edmonton'

Piyautailili (Defend even unto death)

Honours: Defence of Britain 1944, Fortress Europe 1942-44, Dieppe, France and Germany 1944-45, Normandy 1944, Rhine

419th Tactical Attack Sqn CFB North Bay, ON 'City of Kamloops'

Moosa Aswayita (Beware of the moose)

Honours: English Channel and North Sea 1942-44, Baltic 1942-44, Biscay Ports 1942-44, France and Germany 1942-45, Ruhr 1942-44, Berlin 1942-44, German Ports 1942-45, Normandy 1944, Rhine, Biscay 1942-44

421st Tactical Attack Sqn CFB North Bay, ON 'Tomahawks'

Bellicum Cecinere (They have sounded the war trumpet)

Honours: Defence of Britain 1942-1943, Fortress Europe 1942-1944, France and Germany 1944-1945, Normandy 1944, Rhine

422nd Tactical Attack Sqn CFB Moose Jaw, SK 'Strongarm'

This Arm Shall Do It

Honours: Atlantic 1942-1945, English Channel and North Sea 1944-1945, Normandy 1944, Biscay 1944-1945, Arctic 1942

428th Tactical Attack Sqn CFB Cold Lake, AB 'Death's Door'

Usque Ad Finem (To the very end)

English Channel and North Sea 1943-1944, Baltic 1944, Fortress Europe 1943-1944, France and Germany 1944-1945, Biscay Ports 1943-1944, Ruhr 1943-1945, Berlin 1943-1944, German Ports 1943-1945, Normandy 1944, Rhine, Biscay 1943-1944

CH164 Training Detachment CFB Moose Jaw, SK  

  Author note- the above listed squadrons were actual RCAF and Canadian Air Force squadrons of various sorts that have been disbanded and have been reformed and given a new role. The 409th, 421st, 422nd and the 428th are not know by the names given to them but instead is used as the author’s creative licence and is not meant to offend past members of these proud units.


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