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First, though, a squadron had to be created. 416, a fighting squadron of F 18s from Cold Lake, joined forces with pilots of the Converse Red And Black Shoes

And the press were eager to try and jump on this.

"From the middle of December to the middle of March the Desert Cats changed or modified some procedure daily to stay abreast of the Converse Ballet Lace White

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But their mission would soon change.

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The group, headed by Lt. Col. Don Matthews, was originally called upon to provide air cover for boats.

"They were always bugging us, trying to report was going on, Converse Girls Shoes White

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"It was not aggressive, it was nice," he said.

when what they really wanted us to almost say we were having a really hard time," said Lecaine.

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"I remember thinking to myself flying F 18s in Germany that I had just wasted 20 years of my life because I never got to do what I really wanted to do, which was to be a fighter pilot in action," he said.

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the Gulf War started he had a chance to put his skills to the test.

The muzzle flash of his 20mm gun startled him at first he hadn't shot it at night before.

Red Converse High Tops Size 3

Red Converse High Tops Size 3

Then, a week before the land offensive, they switched to bombing missions.

After each attack, the boat would weave to avoid the shots, while Hillbilly and D Dub took turns making attack runs.

During a patrol mission around midnight in the Gulf coast, he was flying with Steve "Hillbilly" Hill, when a Navy controller told them to find a patrol boat 50 miles to the north.

Gulf War squadron

But women doing this job didn't always please the local Qatari population, where they were stationed during the war. Despite trying to keep safe by always wearing long sleeves and long pants, Lecaine said she was spit at a few times for her dress.

For years, men like Russ Cooper had trained to be fighter pilots in Germany, to play in what was in his words "the big game" if NATO and the Eastern bloc ever went to war. By that time, the Soviet Union was just beginning its dissolution.

"It's a very Canadian mission," joked Matthews, now retired, while sitting at his table.

Last week at a downtown restaurant a 20 year reunion was held for the Desert Cats, a squadron that fought in Iraq during the first Gulf War.

And it was a difficult one. With 13 hour shifts over many months, they had to get used to a heavy workload, sometimes during weather so hot they couldn't touch the planes without burning their hand.

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"It was the first hostile fire done by Canadians since the Korean war," Kendall said.

A self defense flare gave him enough light to see that the boat was hostile, and after obtaining permission, the hunt was on.

Eventually, he switched to a high explosive incendiary round and saw little twinkling lights appeared on the boat. With a few more runs, the pilots were able to completely disable the boat, stopping it from reaching the Kuwaiti coast.

The Canadian Forces change the squadron's mission to provide air cover for fighter bombers.

Lecaine and Red Converse High Tops Size 3 other females who served in the Gulf War hold a unique position, since they were the first females to serve in combat in a forward position.

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439 Squadron in Baden Tollinger, Germany.

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changes and the requirements," said Matthews.

While they couldn't find him on their radar, they did see the wake the boat was leaving behind, heading in the direction of the Kuwaiti coast.

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The event was a remembrance of a unit that no longer exists, but which its members said have created lasting friendships amongst the men and women serving in it.

"We did three complete missions. No other air force did that, except for the United States Navy."

And others, like David "D Dub" Kendall, saw some action.

While Kendall was one of the 39 pilots sent over in the unit, the majority of the Cats 290 personnel were involved in maintenance. Louise Lecaine was one of them.

"Everybody was waiting for women to fall apart over there," she said. "But the vast majority of us just did our job."

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