The Minister of National Defence (MND), Peter MacKay takes the General Salute from the 1 Area Support Unit Honour Guard at CFB Edmonton Garrison. Image courtesy of Department of National Defence, Canada.
A battle tank of the Land Force Western Area. Image courtesy of Department of National Defence, Canada.
Edmonton Oilers prospects run towards their next training session at CFB Edmonton. Image courtesy of Department of National Defence, Canada.
Soldiers from Land Force Western Area, Edmonton, help fight fires near Gibbons and Redwater. Image courtesy of Department of National Defence, Canada.

CFB (Canadian Forces Base) Edmonton is located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The base includes a group of major installations in the Edmonton capital region. The main base is named Steele Barracks, after Major General Sir Samuel Benfield Steele of the Northwest Mounted Police. It is also known as the Edmonton Garrison.

The base occupies 2,550ha in Sturgeon County on the north-east border of the City of Edmonton.

CFB Edmonton history

CFB Edmonton was established at an old airfield known as Blatchford Field. The airfield commenced operations after WWI. During WWII the airfield became a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) training station under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

The base was home to flying schools such as No. 16 EFTS, No. 2 AOS and No. 4 ITS, No. 16 EFTS (closed in 1942) and No. 2 AOS (closed in 1944). It later formally became RCAF Station Edmonton. The RCAF squadrons and units located at the base were a SAAF B-29 bomber detachment, a survival school and the RCAF Winter Experimental Establishment (WEE).

During the war the airfield served as a staging point for the US defence of Alaska and was largely used by the US forces. The aerodrome was used by cargo aircraft to support the construction of the Alaska Highway. Since the expansion of the old airfield was not possible due to its proximity to the city of Edmonton, the US Government built a new airfield at Namao, about 11km north of the city. The Namao airfield was run by the US until the end of the war and was transferred to Canada in 1945.

"CFB Edmonton was established at an old airfield known as Blatchford Field."

RCAF Station Namao served the US Strategic Air Command throughout the Cold War. It was redesignated as Canadian Forces Base Edmonton when Canadian armed forces amalgamated in 1968.

The base was transformed into 18 Wing with the formation of the air force wings in the 1990s. The air station was transferred to the army in 1994 due to the Federal Government budget cuts. CFB Edmonton (Lancaster Park) / 18 Wing Edmonton was consequently renamed CFB Edmonton.

Garrison facilities

CFB Edmonton provides infrastructure and support to 47 units located in the vicinity of Edmonton, Yukon and the Northwest area. It houses 4,500 regular and 500 reserve force soldiers. In addition 500 surge forces, 600 civilian employees and 7,800 family members reside at the base. The total population of the Edmonton military community is approximately 13,900.

Griesbach Barracks occupies more than 620 acres of land situated within the City of Edmonton. The site was home to the Land Force Western Area (now known as 3 Canadian Army Division) Headquarters, which has been shifted to CFB Edmonton. It was transferred to Canada Lands Company for major redevelopment.

"CFB Edmonton provides infrastructure and support to 47 units located in the vicinity of Edmonton."

Jefferson Armouries is located on the north side of Edmonton. It accommodates the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, B Squadron South Alberta Light Horse, 15 Field Ambulance, and 2551 Edmonton "Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry" RCACC. Other units include the Cadet Instructor Cadre School and 6 Intelligence Company.

Debney Armouries is situated on the south side of Edmonton and is home to 20 Field Regiment (RCA), 15 Service Battalion and 8 Field Engineer Regiment. It also accommodates 41 Service Battalion, 41 Combat Engineer Regiment , 41 Signal Regiment, 2733 "15 Service Battalion"l Canadian Army Cadet Corps (RCACC), which will be updated to be 41 Service Battalion soon, 2981 Edmonton Strathcona "Communications" RCACC, and 1809 Edmonton "Loyal Edmonton Regiment" RCACC.

HMCS Nonsuch is a naval reserve unit located on Kingsway Avenue. A number of transmitter-receiver sites are located across the Edmonton capital region.

Air facilities

All runways were officially closed, except one 500ft section of 02/20. Military equipment is placed at other locations on the former runway. Currently one helipad is open for military operations while the other runways are used as roadways.

Future development

A major development is underway at the Griesbach Barracks site. The entire 620 acres of area is scheduled to be redeveloped by 2018.

New training accommodations are being built under a larger Departmental programme to modernise defence housing across the country. These units, which include 97 rooms, will provide short-term accommodation for Canadian Forces during training period.