By: Air Task Force-Iceland Public Affairs
Since mid-May, approximately 180 members of Air Task Force (ATF)-Iceland, equipped with six Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet fighters, have been based out of Keflavik Air Base. The ATF has been providing a continuous air surveillance and interception capability which can be launched immediately to meet and identify unknown airborne objects within, or approaching NATO airspace.
“We have been warmly welcomed by the people of Keflavik and our members have enjoyed the exceptional hospitality shown to them throughout Iceland,” said Air Task Force commander, Lieutenant-Colonel William Mitchell. “To show our appreciation for the support, our members decided to give back to the community by raising money for Umhyggja.”
Umhyggia is a fund to support families who have suffered financial difficulties because of their child’s illness. It also assists families who have had the sudden death of a child.
To raise money, Lieutenant-Colonel Mitchell, a CF-18 pilot and long-distance runner, decided to run the 46 kilometres from Reykjavik to Keflavik on June 13.
“The run was challenging but it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help those who need it most. I am confident that the money is going towards a great cause. I am also hopeful that this activity will also help raise awareness for what the Umhyggja charity can provide to all the families involved. It is extremely important to reach out and help when you can, and I am extremely proud to have been part of this,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Mitchell, who completed the run in 4 hours 30 minutes and 33 seconds.
In addition to raising money, the ATF’s padre, Captain Dan Walton, hosted a tour of a CF-18 at Keflavik Air Base for some of the families who have been helped by Umhyggia.
A cheque for 154, 988 Króna ($2025 CAN) was presented to Fróði Kristinsson and Frifða Kristin Magnúsdóttir from Umhyggia on June 16.
The commitment of Canadian air assets and personnel to the NATO surveillance and intercept mission is part of Operation REASSURANCE— Canada’s contribution to NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures. Members of the Air Task Force are proud to work alongside a NATO ally, Iceland, to keep the skies safe and secure.