Because of his significant duties as Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Stéphane St-Onge is well known and respected all over the world. He’s one of the most decorated airmen in our military history. He has gained his fame and name for leading since 2020 one of the most important squadrons in the RCAF. As 438 Squadron played a very significant role during the events of World War II and very recently led to the participation in NATO missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Lcol St-Onge joined 438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron “Ville de Montréal” in January 2018 and was promoted to Commander on November 1, 2019. He is the current Commander-in-Chief of 438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron “Ville de Montréal”, which is a member of the Canadian Army’s 4 Wing based at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick.
As the first Canadian commander-in-chief of the 438th Combat Aviation Regiment, Stéphane St-Onge’s handover ceremony could not have been more timely. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the transfer of command happened in an extremely careful manner, with all the new rules, distancing regulations, and restrictions that come with transitioning into a new administration.
The ceremony was not only for the families of the two airmen but also for the senior officials of the Royal Canadian Air Force. These people were not allowed to attend the previous handover ceremonies.
While Stéphane St-Onge was acting commander of 438 squadron for a month, the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force came to visit them at Hangar Molson. The members of this elite Special Forces unit have more specializations than you can shake a stick at. They’ve won the ultimate badge of courage for helicopter pilots, and they’re so good at what they do, they’ve earned sixteen “wing” badges.
Commander St-Onge is a leader who has experienced many valuable lessons. His wise words of forgiveness are meant for the new generation and for the people. In 2020, while still a Major in the Royal Canadian Air Force, he wrote an essay. The title of the essay was “Fatigue in Canadian military aviation: how to better manage it in operations.
In this book, Col St-Onge explains the problems caused by fatigue in military aviation operations, and the tactical advantages it can provide to the enemy. He also discusses the reasons for these problems, in particular, the lack of sleep due to the constant changes in a military operation of 24-hours or more. He offers several guidelines for wiser decision-making at the level of military leadership. The writings of this amazing man are full instruction for the upcoming generation, and it proves he was a dedicated leader in this respect. This is a very interesting and significant essay. It is based on the lives and sacrifices of people who have made it possible for the country to reach its current state.