New Wing Commander takes charge at 12 Wing Shearwater

Col Patrick MacNamara addresses those in attendance.

Col Patrick MacNamara addresses those in attendance.


Colonel Patrick MacNamara assumed command of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 12 Wing Shearwater from Col James Hawthorne in a change of command ceremony July 16 presided over by Major-General Eric Kenny, Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division.

Col MacNamara assumed command after a dynamic career that includes postings with both of 12 Wing’s operational squadrons 423 Squadron and 443 Squadron and numerous deployments to sea with the CH-124 Sea King; an operational planning posting with NATO in Europe; and most recently with the Strategic Joint Staff in Ottawa.

Col Hawthorne now moves into the position of Royal Canadian Air Force Advisor with the Canadian Defence Liaison Staff at the Canadian High Commission in London, U.K. As Wing Commander, he presided over one of the most challenging periods in 12 Wing’s history, which saw the continued operationalization of the CH-148 Cyclone, and the tragedy of the Stalker 22 accident on April 29, 2020. This was on top of the day-to-day responsibilities of maintaining training and readiness, operating alongside the Royal Canadian Navy, and working with community partners, all while dealing with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

12 Wing is the home to the Royal Canadian Air Force’s maritime helicopter community, with the primary role of providing helicopters to embark on Royal Canadian Navy ships in support of operations. With a total team of approximately 1,200 people, 12 Wing Shearwater has four squadrons: 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron (Patricia Bay); 406 Maritime Operational Training Squadron (Shearwater); 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron (Shearwater); and 12 Air Maintenance Squadron.


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