New trade specialty badge arrives at Naval Fleet School (Pacific)


Recipents of the new SAC Pin.

Peter Mallett, 
Staff Writer

Sailors qualified to control aircraft onboard Navy ships will now be awarded the Royal Canadian Navy’s new Shipborne Air Controller (SAC) specialty skill badge.

A helicopter on a web surrounded with crimson laurels – that’s the visual cue of not only the demanding qualifications and added workload, but also the NATO standard, said the Coxswain of Naval Fleet School Pacific (NFS(P)).

“The SAC qualification is one of the few qualifications across the CAF that is a NATO qualification,” CPO2 Warren Beatie Canadian Fleet Pacific Chief Air Controller said. “This badge indicates to other nations and navies that we have the same qualifications and training as them.”

Seven Shipborne Air Controllers (SACs) were awarded with this new badge in a July 28 ceremony in Dockyard at CFB Esquimalt, including CPO1 Ferguson, who completed his first SAC training in 1995. Other eligible sailors will continue to receive these badges during ceremonies in the weeks to come including those currently deployed on operations.  Newly qualified Shipborne Air Controllers will be awarded their pin on successful completion of the grueling course at Naval Fleet School Pacific or Atlantic.

SACs are responsible for the safe and effective tactical control of helicopters and fixed wing maritime aircraft. The job title is granted to combat operators from naval trades, including Naval Combat Information Officer (NCIOP), Naval Electronics Sensor Operator (NESOP), and Sonar Operator. To qualify for the SAC specialty badge, a sailor must be currently serving as a regular or reserve force Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) member, and must have successfully completed the NFS NATO-grade Delta Course. The course combines classroom instruction and time in the simulator, culminating with live control of aircraft at sea.

The badges were presented by Commadore (Cmdre) David Mazur, Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific at Duntze Head. Cmdre Mazur said the new specialty badge recognizes a sailor’s diligence in completing training to become a SAC.

“They stepped forward and have taken on more responsibility, have gone above and beyond the scope of what is expected of them, and we want to reward them and recognize them for that,” he said.

Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) James Willoughby of Sea Training Pacific was delighted to receive the new badge.

“It’s great to receive this badge because I think it gives Shipborne Air Controllers the recognition they deserve,” he said.

PO2 Willoughby has served 21 years in the RCN, previously working as an NCIOP and is now a Shipborne Advanced Air Controller. He helps the navy maintain its high standards of air control and conducts assessments of SACs.

“The badge has been in the works for a long time and it’s good to see air controllers in the fleet receive that recognition,” PO2 Willoughby said.

SAC badge

Royal Canadian Navy’s new Shipborne Air Controller (SAC) specialty skill badge.

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