Col. J.P. Gagnon has assumed command of 19 Wing Comox. Photo supplied

Col. J.P. Gagnon has assumed command of 19 Wing Comox. Photo supplied

New wing commander at 19 Wing Comox

Col. J.P. Gagnon assumed command of 19 Wing Comox from Col. Rhonda Stevens on June 23, with the ceremony presided over by Maj.-Gen. Eric Kenny, Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division / Canadian NORAD Region.

Gagnon enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1989. He began his military career at the Collège Militaire Royal de Saint-Jean and graduated from the Royal Military College in Kingston.

After earning air navigator wings, he served with 443 (MH) Squadron as a tactical co-ordinator on the CH-124 maritime helicopter. During his time on the Sea King he deployed to the Persian Gulf on HMCS Regina for Op PREVENTION, to East Timor on HMCS Protecteur for OP TOUCAN, and as helicopter detachment commander on HMCS Regina.

Retraining from navigator to pilot, Gagnon began his second career with the Maritime Long Range Patrol community with a posting to 407 (LRP) Squadron where he commanded a crew for OP PODIUM support to the 2010 Olympics, and another crew for OP ATHENA flying over Afghanistan. He was then assigned to the Maritime Proving and Evaluation Unit where he was the projects flight commander and deputy commanding officer during the test and evaluation of upgrades to the CP-140 Aurora. Gagnon capped his operational contribution to the RCAF by commanding the “Demons” of 407 (LRP) Squadron at 19 Wing Comox.

Gagnon holds a bachelor of electrical engineering and a masters of defence studies from the Royal Military College of Canada, as well as a masters of business administration from Royal Roads University in Victoria. He is also a graduate of the Aerospace Systems Course from the School of Aerospace Studies.

“Colonel Stevens, Colonel Gagnon, 19 Wing has been— and will continue to be— well-served by your leadership,” Kenny said. “We have much more work to do, but I am confident that we are making needed progress. It will take commitment. It will take leadership.”