423 (Maritime Helicopter) Squadron, 12 Wing, Shearwater, in recognition of outstanding performance and professionalism under difficult flight conditions by the Sea King helicopter crews of 423 Sqn detachments aboard HMCS Halifax, Preserver and Iroquois, while conducting search and rescue operations on bulk carrier MV Leader “L”, enroute Spain to New York, on 23-24 March 2000. .Enroute to the Caribbean for Operation Readiness Operations, 23 March, the Canadian Atlantic Task Group responded to a distress call from the 31
crew complement of Leader that it was about to sink.. Sea King equipped ships diverted to the ship’s location, and when within 100nm, launched 2 helicopters in night visibility and severe weather conditions. Arrival on scene confirmed the ship had sunk and crew were in the sea and in life rafts deployed by 413 Sqn Hercules from Greenwood earlier. Complicated lowering conditions by rescue crewmen, in 30 knot winds, was carried out until minimum fuel condition was reached. 12 of the ship’s crew were rescued, followed by a 13th on the second sortie, all subsequently off loaded in Bermuda by HMCS Iroquois for medical care. This operation is another
example of the resolve and bravery of Canadian Forces rescue crewmembers, that we hear of so often, when faced with unexpected emergency situations. 423 Sqn is highly deserving of the award of the Mynarski Trophy, 2001.