Royal Canadian Air Force Marks Graduation of 50th Search and Rescue Course

13 July 2011
Cat Lake, Ontario
On 13 July, 2011, 8 Wing Trenton’s 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron was tasked to aid an evacuation process of several individuals stranded near Cat Lake, Ontario.
The Government of Canada responded swiftly to an urgent request from the Province of Ontario as a result of wild fires threatening the community of Cat Lake. The fires have already cut the community from electricity. Two Canadian Forces CC-130 Hercules aircraft, one from 435 Squadron based at 17 Wing Winnipeg and another from 424 Squadron based out of Trenton Ontario, evacuated approximately 120 residents of Cat Lake to Kapuskasing, Ont.

Whitecourt, Alberta
10 May 2008
Sergeant Darcy St Laurrent, a search and rescute technician with 435 Squadron, 17 Wing Winnipeg, jumps out the back of a CC-130 Hercules. This was Sgt StLaurrent’s 500th career jump.
Sergeant Darcy StLaurrent, a Search and Rescue Technician with 435 Squadron Winnipeg, leaps out of the back of a CC-130 Hercules. This was Sgt StLaurrent’s 500th jump.
From 09 -13 May 2008, 435 Squadron conducted a Search and Rescue (SAR) exercise in Alberta. Two CC-130 Hercules Aircraft participated in aerial manouvers and SAR Techs performed equipment drops, static line jumps as well as free fall descents. The exercise covered airspace as far west as the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where 435 Sqn Pilots flew contour practice missions.
Photograph by Corporal Colin Aitken

July 6, 2017 – Comox, B.C. – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan and Royal Canadian Air Force leaders welcomed eleven new Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs) into their trade today at 19 Wing Comox.

The graduates from the Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue (CFSSAR) are part of the 50th SAR Tech course in the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) history. The graduation marks the successful completion of an intense year of training that prepares students to become primary care paramedics armed with expertise in land and sea survival, parachuting, mountaineering, diving and flying operations.




“It is a pleasure to congratulate Canada`s newest Search and Rescue Technicians, and to mark the 50th Search and Rescue Technician graduation class of the Canadian Armed Forces. After almost a year of some of the most intensive training in Canada’s toughest terrain, these SAR Techs have earned the right to join their colleagues in carrying out the most demanding of rescue missions.”


Harjit S. Sajjan, Defence Minister


“From the demanding selection process right through to the completion of their training, these Search and Rescue Technicians have worked tirelessly and have rightly earned their place in the proud SAR Tech occupation that embodies their motto—“So Others May Live.”


Brigadier-General David Cochrane, Commander, 2 Canadian Air Division


“Being the 50th graduating class, these Search and Rescue Technician students had a rich and proud heritage to live up to, and they have. Those who have passed through this school have gone on to save thousands of lives and I am confident these graduates will proudly follow in their footsteps.”


Major John Coffin, Commandant, Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue


Quick Facts


Course Facts


  • The year-long course trains SAR Techs to be primary care paramedics armed with expertise in land and sea survival, parachuting, mountaineering, diving and flying operations.


  • The course graduated 11 students who will now be posted to Search and Rescue (SAR) squadrons across the country.


  • Training took place in numerous locations including: Comox, Victoria and Vancouver, B.C.; Jarvis Lake and Jasper National Park, Alta.; Winnipeg, Man.; Halifax, N.S.; and Resolute Bay, N.W.T.


History of SAR Training


  • The CAF have been training personnel in Search and Rescue techniques since 1944.  While this is the 50th graduating course of SAR Techs, courses have not been run every year.


  • Originally called “Para Rescue,” the concept was the brain child of Wilfrid Reid (Wop) May who envisioned a team that would be able to parachute into a crash site to administer first aid and organize the recovery of accident victims.


  • The first Para Rescue School formed in Edmonton in 1944 and started the first course on February 12, 1945 with 12 candidates. Course duration was originally planned for fifteen weeks, but due to weather and equipment delays, the course lasted 19 weeks.


  • In 1964, the Para Rescue Course came under the RCAF Survival Training School in Edmonton.


  • In 1996, CFSSAR was created in Comox, graduating its first course in 1998.


  • CFSSAR has been graduating courses annually since 2005.

Search and Rescue Technicians “That Others May Live”

  • CAF have approximately 140 SAR Techs. They are highly trained specialists who provide advanced pre-hospital medical care and rescue for aviators, mariners and others in distress in remote or hard-to-reach areas. These men and women are trained to a Primary care Paramedic national standard with additional advanced skills.
  • SAR Techs are present on every CAF primary SAR aircraft deployed on a SAR mission and they have saved thousands of lives nationwide.