In 1963, Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson stated that his country would not procure nuclear material, but that the Canadian military would have access to American nuclear weapons when necessary. Thus, on August 16, 1963, the Canadian Forces signed an agreement for a new weapons system.
The nuclear warheads arrived in Bagotville during the month of May 1965. The base's soldiers were responsible for maintenance of the rockets Air-2A Genie in "P" Building, while about 15 American technicians looked after the warheads.
Starting in September 1965, three Voodoo squadrons were equipped with 1.5-kilotonne bomber interceptor atomic air-to-air missiles. The Department of Defence decided to station the squadrons in Chatham, Bagotville and Comox and the advanced operations base in Val-d’Or. Bagotville's No. 425 Alouette Squadron carried out aerial surveillance aboard the CF-101 Voodoos.
In April 1975, the nuclear weapons were removed from Chatham and taken to Bagotville. The last warheads left the Saguenay in April 1984.
Photo: Members of No. 425 Squadron work with an Air-2A Genie rocket on the tarmac at Bagotville.