CF Operation Mobile air evacuation

A series of photographs documenting the CF air component’s contribution to Op Mobile, via Combat Camera.

Members of the Canadian Forces Operational Liaison and Reconnaissance Team (OLRT) arrive at Malta International Airport on Monday, 28 February 2011, aboard a CC-130J Hercules aircraft as part of the multinational effort to assist in the departure of stranded Canadians and other foreign nationals from Libya. About 30 Canadian Forces members with expertise ranging from aircrew to medical and logistics are involved in daily flights into Libya by CC-177 Globemaster and CC-130J Hercules aircraft. (Major Jason Proulx, DND/CF)

A CC-130J Hercules aircraft flies over Libya during Operation MOBILE. 2 March 2011. (Master Corporal Shilo Adamson, DND/CF)

A close look at the approach plate indicates that they are on approach to Runway 27 at Tripoli International Airport (HLLT).  Here’s a closeup from another image from the same flight, along with my admittedly ancient chart for Tripoli’s Rwy 27 ILS approach.

Gary Wallace, Migration Integrity Officer at Canadian Boarder Service Agency (CBSA), welcomes entitled persons onboard the CC-130J Hercules at the Tripoli International Airport in Libya during operation MOBILE. 2 March 2011. (Corporal Jax Kennedy, DND/CF)

Sergeant Stephen Miller, Load Master, hands passports back to the entitled persons after boarding the CC-130J Hercules in Libya during Operation MOBILE. 2 March 2011. (Corporal Jax Kennedy, DND/CF)

Passengers disembark a CC-130J Hercules aircraft during Operation MOBILE. Malta International Airport, Luqa, Malta. 2 March 2011. (Corporal Jax Kennedy, DND/CF)

Ambassador Sandra McCardell, Canada’s Ambassador to Libya, Colonel Tony DeJacolyn, Commander of Joint Task Force Malta, and Major Bill Swales, Task Force Surgeon, discuss the locations of entitled persons throughout Libya. Valletta, Malta. 2 March 2011. (Corporal Jax Kennedy, DND/CF)

I am a little curious about the maps in the last photo.  The map closest to the camera depicts the location of CF air and naval assets around the islands of Malta.  The far map is Libya, but it is difficult to read except for a half-dozen notations.  I’ve done my best to reproduce it here.

Presumably the red- and black-outlined areas depict government- and rebel-held areas within Libya, though the resolution is not great enough to see what all those small notes actually say.  What is clear are the large notations and numbers, which indicate 29 CEPs in-country as of March 4th.  CEP is the acronym for Canadian Entitled Persons, the “entitled persons” being individuals who are entitled to ask their government to help them leave a foreign country on the taxpayer dime when a crisis arises.  Wait, isn’t everybody entitled to have the government spring to their rescue when a crisis arises?  Theoretically, yes, but CEPs are those that the government considers it more or less mandatory to evacuate; the evacuation of everyone else happens on a “best effort” basis.  If non-CEPs make it out too, that’s great; but if not, oh well.

In the case of Canada, CEPs are typically citizens working abroad (including diplomats and embassy staff), dual citizens, and others with a legal right of residence in Canada.  The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) will actually define who is (and is not) a CEP at the beginning of the government’s crisis response, so that definition is somewhat flexible; it can expand or contract depending on the scope of the crisis, the number of people requiring evacuation, and the amount of resources on hand.

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