3 Wing Bagotville History
The Bagotville Station was built in July 1942 to provide a training base for pilots and protect the Alcan and hydro-electric facilities in the area during World War II, hence its motto "Defend the Saguenay".
Closed at the end of the war, the station was re-opened in 1951 as a training base for the squadrons serving with the Canadian Division in Europe and to support the air defence operations of the newly formed Canadian and American forces that would become NORAD in 1958.
Following implementation of the Wing concept in the Air Force, 3 Wing, which in succession served Canada at Zweibrücken from 1952 to 1968 and at Lahr from 1988 to 1992, was reconstituted at Bagotville on 1 April 1993.
The first operational training Unit, initially named Bagotville Station, was built in 1942 in order to provide a training base for pilots of the RCAF during World War II. On top of pilot training, Bagotville Station had the mission to protect the Alcan and hydroelectric facilities in the area, hence its motto "Defend the Saguenay". When the war ended, Bagotville Station was officially closed and reopened on 1 July 1951 for the squadrons serving with the Canadian Division in Europe. Then, 413 and 414 Squadron were deployed in Europe on 7 March 1953. Subsequently, Bagotville was quiet up to 1954, to then became a permanent base for the CF-100 Canuck "all-weather" fighter of 432 and 440 Squadrons.
At that time, Bagotville was already an important link in the chain for the North American Air Defence, named NORAD in 1958. In 1957, 440 Squadron was posted to Grostenquin in France and replaced by 413 Squadron, which had been repatriated to Canada with its CF-100s. In 1961, both squadrons assigned to Bagotville were disbanded and the base was reassigned to its first primary mission, which was operational training, in addition to playing an air defence role with the creation of No.3 All-Weather Fighter Operational Training Unit.
The years 1961 and 1962, beginning of a new era, were marked by the arrival of 416 Squadron, equipped with new fighters CF-101 "Voodoos". In 1962, 416 Squadron was then moved to CFB Chatham and replaced by 425 Squadron (Alouettes), which was also equipped with Voodoos. In 1969, 433 Squadron "Porcupine Squadron" moved to Bagotville with Canadian-built CF-5s Freedom Fighters.
The previous year, No.3 All-Weather Fighter Operational Training Unit became 410 Squadron, which preserved its training mission in Bagotville until 1982 before to Cold Lake to convert to the new Canadian fighter, the CF-18 Hornet. In June 1982, 434 Tactical Squadron left Cold Lake with its CF-5s and moved to Bagotville until 1988, when it was transferred to Chatham. The arrival of CF-18s at 425 Squadron, in March 1985, marked the end of the "Voodoo" era. On 15 January 1988, 433 Squadron also converted to the new aircraft.
In spring 1991, following the closure of the Mont Apica radar station, 12 Radar Squadron moved to Bagotville in order to support the CF-18 training with tactical control services.
In 1993, CFB Bagotville was attributed the title 3 Wing and 439 Squadron "Tiger" was created with CT-133s Silver Star and "Iroquois" helicopters (replaced by the Griffon in 1996).
In summer 2005, 425 and 433 Squadrons were amalgamated in order to better meet the new defence policy, which is to make 3 Wing an expeditionary force. The amalgamated Squadrons preserved the name of 425 Squadron. The colours of 433 were officially removed in July 2005 during an official ceremony. With more than 1,600 employees, military and civil, the base of Bagotville is one of the most important employers of the area. It occupies a great place in the economic and social life of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.