Jack Backstrom enrolled in the Canadian Forces in December 1978 and was posted to VP415 in October 1980. Following a brief period of training on the CP-107 Argus and some flying with 405 Sqn in Greenwood, he joined 415 Sqn in Summerside. Upon early completion of conversion training (with 407 Sqn), he once again flew with 405 Sqn until the first 415 crews graduated and began operating from Greenwood. He was initially assigned to crew 2 (Moonmen) as an ASO but, spent most of his time on Sqn with the crew 4 Pirates. During his 5-year first tour with the Swordfish, he was qualified as an Argus “D”- Cat navigator and Aurora ASO1, NAVCOM, TACNAV and TACNAV Stds & Trg Officer.
He has over 4000 hours flying experience, mostly in Anti-Submarine Warfare and Maritime Patrol (CP-107 Argus and CP-140 Aurora), as well as Air Navigation instruction (CC-130), Operational Test and Evaluation (CP-140) and OT&E instruction (RAF HS-125 Domini).
He is a graduate of the USAF Electronic Warfare Officer Course, the Canadian Forces Command and Staff Course and an honour graduate of the RAF General Duties Aero Systems Course.
In addition to his time with VP415 (later 415 MP Sqn), his operational and staff experience also includes: Course Manager of the RAF GD ASC, RAF College Cranwell; Senior Nav, Maritime Proving & Evaluation Unit; Chief of Staff at Canadian Forces Northern Area HQ, Yellowknife; Programme Coordinator for the Directorate of Aerospace Requirements NDHQ, Ottawa; CAOC A5 during RIMPAC 2004; Wing Operations Officer, 14 Wing Greenwood; J3 Ops/J3Air and J5 at Canada Command HQ, Ottawa; and, ACOS Plans and Performance at the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force Command HQ, SHAPE.
Col Backstrom commanded 415 LRP Sqn from July 2000 until May 2002, and since then, he has commanded the Canadian Long Range Patrol Detachment in South West Asia (Camp Mirage), the Wing Operations Branch Greenwood, and the initial deployment of NATO AWACS to Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. He is currently the Operations Wing Commander at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen, Germany.
He and his wife Sharon plan to retire in the vicinity of Halifax in the not-too-distant future.
415 Squadron Association
John (Jack) BACKSTROM, CD
COMMANDING OFFICER – Jul 2000 to May 2002