Select Page

CFB Comox – 19 Wing

CFB Comox – 19 Wing is a Canadian Forces Base located 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km; 2.9 mi) north northeast of Comox, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It is primarily operated as an air force base by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and is one of two bases in the country using the CP-140 Aurora anti-submarine/maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft. Its primary RCAF lodger unit is 19 Wing, commonly referred to as 19 Wing Comox.

CFB Comox’s airfield is also used by civilian aircraft. The civilian passenger terminal building operations are called the Comox Valley Airport and are operated by the Comox Valley Airport Commission.

The airport is classified as an airport of entry by Nav Canada and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

In 1943, the RCAF took over control of the airfield, renaming the facility RCAF Station Comox. The RCAF used Comox for training crews of transport aircraft for the rest of World War II, basing a training squadron flying the Douglas Dakota in 1944.

From 1946 until 1952 the base was mothballed until tensions resulting from the Korean War and Cold War prompted reactivation and the establishment of a permanent RCAF base on Canada’s Pacific coast.

No. 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron initially used the Avro Lancaster then Lockheed P2V Neptune, followed by the Canadair CP-107 Argus and now the Lockheed CP-140 Aurora.

No. 409 All Weather Fighter Interceptor Squadron was equipped with the Canadair CT-33 Silver Star and Avro CF-100 Canuck, followed by the McDonnell CF-101 Voodoo, an example of which can be found on display at the main entrance of 19 Wing.

In 1954, Comox became home to a Pinetree Line radar early-warning station, operated by the 51 Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron (radar). This facility was closed in June 1958 with the advent of more advanced radar systems such as the Mid-Canada Line and the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line).

In 1964, RCAF Station Sea Island near Vancouver International Airport was closed and turned over to the Canadian Coast Guard. Sea Island’s 121 Composite Unit moved to Comox and was reorganized as 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron, flying the Grumman HU-16 Albatross fixed-wing and Piasecki H-21 helicopter, later re-equipping with the CH-113 Labrador and CC-115 Buffalo. The Labrador helicopter was replaced with the AgustaWestland CH-149 Cormorant starting in 2001.

On February 1, 1968, the RCAF merged with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Canadian Army to form the unified Canadian Forces. RCAF Station Comox was renamed Canadian Forces Base Comox, shortened to CFB Comox. During a 1975 reorganization of the Canadian Forces, Air Command (AIRCOM) was created to operate the air element.

After CFB Comox began sharing the airport with scheduled airlines and other civilian aircraft, a Boeing 747 flown by Northwest Airlines became the first jumbo jet to operate into the field when it made an emergency landing there on June 5, 1979. The flight, chartered by the U.S. military to transport 368 active duty personnel and their families from Travis Air Force Base to Japan and South Korea, was over Cape Scott following an intermediate stop at Seattle–Tacoma International Airport when fire broke out in one of the aircraft’s engines. Efforts to extinguish the flames were unsuccessful; the crew declared an emergency and requested permission to land on the 10,000-foot (3,048 m) runway at CFB Comox. Though no flames were visible, the fire warning light was still flashing in the cockpit as the plane landed. There were no injuries to the passengers or to the 13 crew members. Base officials, practiced at hosting large numbers of Canadian Forces personnel, ensured that the plane’s occupants were comfortable while awaiting a new aircraft to carry them to their destinations.

In 1980, 407 Squadron began re-equipping with the Lockheed CP-140 Aurora. In 1984, 409 Squadron moved from CFB Comox to CFB Cold Lake leaving the base with the duties of coastal patrol, anti-submarine and transport missions, and search and rescue (SAR) missions.

In 1989, a strike force of United States Air Force KC-135E tankers from the Washington Air National Guard deployed to CFB Comox as part of the annual Global Shield Exercise. The deployment, which included vehicles, equipment and armed personnel arriving by landing craft at a local beach, prompting some locals to ask whether the United States was invading Canada.

CFB Comox is the primary air defence installation on Canada’s Pacific coast and serves as the home base for maritime patrol/anti-submarine aircraft and fixed-wing and rotary-wing search and rescue (SAR) aircraft.

Its primary lodger unit, 19 Wing, has two operational squadrons:

  • 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron flying the Lockheed CP-140 Aurora
  • 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron flying the CC-115 Buffalo fixed-wing and AgustaWestland CH-149 Cormorant rotary-wing aircraft

19 Wing also includes the 19 Air Maintenance Squadron, and a number of other organizations.

CFB Comox is the location of the Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue, where all para-rescue specialists in the Canadian Forces, known as Search And Rescue Technicians or “SAR Techs”, undergo training.

CFB Comox serves as a forward operating base for temporary deployments of the McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet fighter-interceptor.

Every April, the Snowbirds practice at 19 Wing Comox.

CFB Comox is used by the Royal Canadian Air Cadets for glider and powered flight training, training glider pilots on Schweizer SGS 2-33As and housing the cadets training on Cessna 172s respectively in the summer months. Training for the Advanced Aviation Air Cadet Course is also hosted at CFB Comox. An annex of CFB Comox, Annex A “Goose Spit”, is used by the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets for CSTC HMCS Quadra where 600 sea cadets undergo training in the basic trades of music (combined with Army and Air cadets), gunnery, boatswain, and sail. It also trains cadets in three specialty trades marine engineering, shipwright, and silver sail. The annex is also host to the local Canadian Forces Sail Association.

Comox Valley – Things to Do

Comox Valley – Restaurants

The Comox Valley is home to a vast number of restaurants including many ethnic options, traditional bar & grill & family options, Pizza, Sushi, Mexican, luxurious find dining, and a number of specialty cafes and coffee shops.  We of course also have our fair share of fast food restaurants in case you want to grab a quick bite on the road!

Comox Recreation

In the Comox Valley your recreation options are almost endless. Where else can you ski down the slopes, mountain bike in the trails, and take a refreshing dip in the ocean all on the same day! If it’s kayaking, biking, skiing, swimming, golfing, camping, hiking, boating, or really any recreation at all that you are looking for you will find it here! 

Comox Entertainment

Comox Valley has a number of seasonal and annual events that are sure to entertain the entire family. From our three main parades (Canada Day, Nautical days, May Day) to Concerts like Vancouver Island Musicfest and the Simms Park Summer Concert Series, there is always something exciting going on! Locals and tourists will also enjoy the annual Filberg Festival, Shellfish Festival, and Comox Valley Exhibition! And don’t forget about our amazing museums, art gallery, and so much more!

Comox Military Relocation Realtor

Carla Arnold is the Comox Valley Relocaton Realtor and us your Approved by Brookfield Relocation Specialist.  Buying or selling a home is a big decision. You need an experienced professional to guide you through the process. When you work with Carla, you can count on personal, attentive, patient service, excellent knowledge of the area, great negotiation skills, and expert selling strategies.  View Comox Valley Real Estate Listings

Visit our Comox Relocation page for more information about moving to Comox and Carla ArnoldComox Military Realtor - Carla Arnold

Carla is your Local Expert in Buying or Selling propeties in the Comox Valley.  If you and your family are being posted in or out of Comox call Carla for detailed information which will ensure your families needs and wants are well looked after.

Call Carla Arnold for more information  250-338-3711

Email Carla for more information  [email protected]