‘Griffon Niner out’; Celebrating the Careers of incoming and outgoing CO 400 Sqn
Members, veterans and family gathered inside Hangar 18 on 27 July to celebrate the careers of both former Commanding Officer (CO) 400 Squadron, Lieutenant Colonel Lyle Holbrook and incoming CO, Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Lemay.
LCol Holbrook considered LCol Lemay as the “ideal fit” for the leadership position and recognized the many successes and achievements of the 400 Sqn under his own three-year command.
“I know you’ll have some challenges, but I’m sure you also know that the things that are most worthwhile doing are seldom without challenges,” said LCol Holbrook to LCol Lemay.
LCol Holbrook took command of the 400 Sqn during the pandemic in June, 2020, forcing him to adapt and overcome the challenges that came with COVID-19. Only 10 people were allowed to attend the previous Change of Command Ceremony.
“There was nothing we could do about avoiding the pandemic,” LCol Hobrook said. “It was coming whether we wanted it or not. The way I see it, it’s how we handled it that made the difference.”
After his speech, LCol Holbrook was presented with three gifts. A sword hand crafted from materials within the walls of Hangar 18, a specially made flight helmet inscribed with LCol Holbrook’s callsign “LILLY” and a crest embedded with a clock, a section of rotor blade engraved with the 400 Sqn crest and the coins of the 400 Sqn.
Reviewing Officer Colonel David Forbes addressed all in attendance and illustrated the significance of these ceremonies that goes beyond, signatures, the passage of tokens and the people at the centre of them.
“These colours, the Battle Honour stitched into the fabric represents something bigger than those of us in the room,” said Col Forbes. “While the CAF faces challenges today with procurement, recruiting, retention, our efforts at reconstitution must not be misunderstood. Reconstitution doesn’t mean sitting back or taking a breather. It means building. Building in balance, respecting people, supporting families, promoting character.”
Following the colour ceremony, LCol Lemay spoke about her vision for the 400 Sqn as the new CO with an emphasis on a three-pronged approach to being agile, integrated and inclusive.
“The work that is done here at 400 Sqn is essential to 1 Wing operations,” said LCol Lemay. “We may not always get the immediate satisfaction to see the fruits of our labours, but the efforts and professionalism of what we do every day has a direct impact on 1 Wing operational outputs. We need to keep building our integration every day.”
LCol Lemay thanked LCol Holbrook for his leadership and investment in the squadron as they garnered the community success seen today.
To watch the entire ceremony on demand, click here.
BY: Caleb Hooper