Commander’s message to RCAF personnel: “You have a unique and vital role”

News Article / May 9, 2017

From Lieutenant-General Michael Hood

The commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lieutenant-General Michael Hood, sent this message to members of the Royal Canadian Air Force today on the occasion of “Air Force Day on Parliament Hill”.

Today, May 9, is the annual “Air Force Day on Parliament Hill”. Each spring since 2007, parliamentarians have shown their appreciation for the achievement and service of Royal Canadian Air Force personnel through this noteworthy day. As we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, this year’s recognition is especially significant as we celebrate the RCAF’s contribution to Canadian sovereignty and its place in Canadian history.

Today, parliamentarians take the time to publicly recognize and show appreciation for our airmen and airwomen. RCAF members of various ranks and occupations will meet with members of parliament and senators to share their stories and personal experiences on how they contribute to the many demanding missions assigned to them. In particular, this year we are celebrating the innovative spirit of the RCAF and the RCAF contributions to the space domain.  

The command chief warrant officer, Chief Warrant Officer Gérard Poitras, and I thank Senator Joseph Day and the Royal Canadian Air Force Association for again organizing this year’s events and giving our personnel the opportunity to showcase the dedicated work they perform every day on behalf of Canada and Canadians.

You, our dedicated airmen and airwomen, work tirelessly at home and abroad. There are countless examples of the incredible efforts you undertake in the defence of Canada and North America. You vigilantly monitor Canada’s airspace and its three-ocean coastline, deter threats through intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and ensure our no-fail mission to protect North America through the bi-national NORAD agreement. Internationally, you participate in operations such as operation impact within the multi-national coalition to combat the threat of Daesh and in Operation Reassurance in Europe. You answer the call in providing search and rescue services to your fellow Canadians and carry out humanitarian assistance to those in need, wherever and whenever it is required.

As members of the RCAF, the service with the capability to reach every square metre of our vast land, you are the guarantors of Canadian sovereignty. You have a unique and vital role in protecting Canadian values and interests at home and abroad for which you should be filled with pride, as Chief Warrant Officer Poitras and I are.

This year, the RCAF celebrates, with all Canadians, the 150th anniversary of our proud nation. I hope you will look with pride on our CF-18 Demo Hornet – painted to reflect Canada 150 and one of the most spectacular Hornet designs I have ever seen. We also marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge last month. Many are unaware that Canadian airmen, flying as members of the Royal Flying Corps, contributed directly to that great victory. We are also marking 100 years since the establishment of the Royal Flying Corps Canada. This training program was set up to recruit and train airmen for service during the First World War and represents the first time the military conducted pilot training on Canadian soil. I urge you to learn more about the air power innovation during the Great War and in the post-war years.

As we recall the historical legacy of the RCAF, I call upon us all to once again make the RCAF a leader in innovation for the benefit of all Canadians. We are embracing innovation as a mindset so we can implement innovative solutions for Canada’s airpower needs. Remember that ‘great ideas have no rank’; I encourage the development and sharing of ideas at all levels.

In addition, with the RCAF’s assuming responsibility for the space domain within the Canadian Armed Forces this past year, we will highlight the critical role of space in operations daily. We should note that eight RCAF members are among the 17 finalists remaining in the Canadian Space Agency’s astronaut recruitment campaign, following the flight paths of Lieutenant-Colonel Jeremy Hansen and Colonel Chris Hadfield.

Your service benefits all Canadians. As we join our parliamentarians in recognizing the contribution you have made to Canada, we also thank you. In your commitment to excellence, you have enabled the RCAF to deliver AIRPower – In Formation: airpower that is agile and integrated with the reach and power essential for Canadian Armed Forces operations. The RCAF is strong and vibrant because of you. We are proud to be your command team.

In the words of our motto, Sic Itur Ad Astra. Such is the pathway to the stars.

Date modified: