As he waited to don scuba gear on the tiled deck poolside, Master Corporal Kevin Maloway reflected on his decision to become a Search and Rescue Technician.
MCpl Maloway and two of his fellow SAR Techs from 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron – Master Corporal Matthew Henry and Master Corporal Gabriel Pintal-Godin – were doing indoor dive training at the Pan Am Pool on January 23. Also present were fellow SAR Techs, Sergeant Andy Davidson and Sgt Jonathan Boucher-Kovacs.
SAR Techs are constantly training so that their many skills become second nature to them when they are out on a rescue mission.
“I got posted here in the summertime from being on course out in Comox, B.C.,” said MCpl Maloway, a native of Winnipeg who’s married with two young children, and who has been in the CAF for 16 years now. His previous trades were as an Army signaler and then an Air Force technician. “That’s how I first saw the SAR trade. I was working on the radar at the airfield and I saw the guys jumping. I thought that it looks like a lot more fun than fixing radar.” He called the intensive SAR Tech training an incredible experience. “It takes almost a full year. It begins with four months of medical training. We become paramedics. Then, we do dive training, but COVID affected our year. We go to the mountains to do downhill skiing, ice climbing, avalanche terrain, then go to the Arctic to do some arctic survival, parachute training, mountain training in the summertime and rescue systems. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There’s nothing like it. It’s a pretty intense year from start to finish.”
Master Corporal Henry, who also arrived at 17 Wing this past June, has been in the CAF since 2017. A native of Ontario who grew up in Winnipeg, he was originally in the infantry at CFB Petawawa. “I became a SAR Tech because I wanted to make a difference and help out, and I thought this was a pretty cool job. The best part is working with so many incredible people. I would do anything to help the people I’m working with at the school or here.”
Master Corporal Gabriel Pintal-Godin, a native of Montreal, Quebec, arrived at 17 Wing this past September. His previous profession was as a Marine System Engineer with the Navy in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “I needed a challenge,” he said when asked why he decided to become a SAR Tech. “When I was younger, I was a lifeguard and went to college but dropped out to become a paramedic. It has always been at the back of my mind. After talking to a flight engineer in Greenwood, I realized that SAR Tech was my calling. There are so many good things about the trade. This is the best job ever. It gives me the potential to help other Canadians, which is one of the reasons I joined the military in the first place.”
A band of brothers always ready to assist their fellow Canadians.