Tuesday marked the 90th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and Moose Jaw's 15 Wing.
“It’s a special date despite our young years,” said Susan Magill, Executive Assistant to the Wing Commander, Capt. Susan Magill. “It seems like a lot but compared to the army and the navy, we are the youngest of the three.”
It was during the Second World War that the Royal Canadian Air Force and 15 Wing had their formal beginnings, training allied pilots from all over the world in Canada’s big, open skies.
“We weren’t directly in the war at that time so we had safer skies to use in order to train the pilots,” said, Magill, before adding that at that time aircrafts were also built in Canada. “We sent those trained pilots and aircrafts mostly to Britain where they were built into the RAF or the Canadian squadrons within the Royal Air Force.”
Every Air Force pilot is trained at Wing 15, which is the home of the NATO Flying Training in Canada program (NFTC), two Canadian Forces Flying Training Schools (The Big 2) and the world-famous Canadian Forces Snowbirds military air demonstration team.
Speaking of the Airforce’s different aircrafts, Magill believes they make an impact not only for Canadians but also globally.
“They all serve different purposes and cover Canada from coast to coast,” she said “In the north they do surveillance up in the arctic to maintain our sovereignty, and we have them flying with the navy on search and rescue on both coasts, as well we have them going overseas.”
On Friday, 15 Wing will be celebrating the anniversary with a dinner featuring former 15 Wing Commander Jim Hunter and Colonel Paul Goddard.
Hunter joined the Canadian forces in 1968 and has had a distinguished career flying helicopter for the Air Force and has held command positions at three levels. Hunter retired from the Canadian Forces in 2006 and currently is the CEO of the Regina Airport Authority.
The second guest speaker, Goddard earned his pilot wings in Moose Jaw in 1985 and entered the Canadian Forces in 1980. Stops in Goddard’s military career include service in the former Republic of Yugoslavia and Haiti. Also, in 1996 he served with the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region in Anchorage, Alaska.
In August 2012, Colonel Goddard was posted to 15 Wing Moose Jaw as Commander and Military Director of the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) program.
Moose Jaw residents will be able to see 15 Wing’s snowbirds during side walk days on July 3-5.
Nathan Frank can be reached at 306-691-1263.