Carter, Gareth “Lester”
Capt Carter graduated as an air weapons controller (AWC) from the Air Weapons Control and Countermeasures School in North Bay, Ontario in 1992. Thereafter, he served with 21 Aerospace Control and Warning (AC&W) Squadron as a weapons director, weapons assignment officer and surveillance systems officer. He deployed twice to Italy to control air-to-air refueling operations over the Adriatic Sea in support of air operations over the Former Yugoslavia. He also took part in the development of the Maritime Fighter Controller program and attended various weapons control-related courses.
In 1997, Capt Carter was posted to 42 Radar Squadron at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta. He was selected to attend the Fighter Weapons Instructors Course, a highly advanced control and instructional techniques course, and graduated as the eighth AWC “Patch” wearer. He was then posted to 410 Tactical Fighter Operational Training Squadron to teach future controllers on the course as well as the fighter control portions of the basic fighter pilot CF-18 Hornet course.
In 2002, he had the pleasure of a four-year posting to Europe where he flew on the NATO Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) in Geilenkirchen, Germany. Capt Carter qualified, once again, as a weapons director on the jet and subsequently, a fighter allocator. He also became the component expert on time sensitive targeting. In his spare time, he took others through First World War Western Front battlefields as a tour guide.
Upon returning to Canada in 2006, he was posted to 51 AC&W Operational Training Squadron in North Bay, Ontario, where he taught the final training phase of the combat-ready weapons directors course to brand new controllers who were on their way to becoming operational NORAD controllers. In 2007, Capt Carter and another colleague were selected to be the first two air weapons controllers to fill positions with the Tactical Air Control Party in Kandahar, Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
After returning to his training duties in North Bay in 2009, he was posted to the Canadian Detachment at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There, he flew on the United States Air Force E-3B/C/G models of AWACS, eventually qualifying as an evaluator/instructor Airborne Surveillance Officer (ASO). While there, he deployed to the Caribbean Basin for five and a half months in support of the war on drugs, and to Southwest Asia for six months in support of coalition air operations in Afghanistan and Operation Enduring Freedom.
In 2014, Capt Carter was posted to the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Control Operations in Cornwall, Ontario, a satellite unit of 16 Wing Borden, Ontario where he conducts ab-initio training of new air weapons controllers.
Capt Carter is married to Christina of Comox, British Columbia. They have two children, both of whom no longer live at home. This allows them and their dog Bo, to visit the northeastern United States and eastern Canada in their travel trailer during their time off.