Statement made on 13 May 2010 by Senator Joseph Day
Hon. Joseph A. Day:
Honourable senators, recently we heard a lot about the Canadian Navy and quite rightly as the navy is celebrating its one hundredth anniversary this year. Honourable senators will recall that last year we celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of aviation in Canada.
Today, honourable senators, I draw your attention to Air Force Appreciation Day on Parliament Hill. A reception will take place on May 25, the first Tuesday following our break. I hope that all honourable senators will join me in helping to thank the men and women in uniform, in particular the sky-blue uniform of the Canadian Air Force.
Honourable senators, the Royal Canadian Air Force was officially formed on April 1, 1924. Canadian aircrews had served previously as part of the British Army, Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Navy Air Service during World War I. That was also known as the Fleet Air Arm. During the Second World War, the Canadian Air Force grew to be the fourth largest of the Allied air forces, having at its peak an enrolment of over 200,000 personnel, which can be compared to today's total air force numbers of only 14,500. It was through great effort, perseverance and bravery that the Canadian Air Force was able to develop into the proud organization that it is today.
Today, the Royal Canadian Air Force is known as the Canadian Air Forces Air Command, which is an important and integral part of the Canadian Armed Forces. It provides many important services, including search-and-rescue operations, military security and NATO training missions. The Canadian Air Force is also actively involved internationally, transporting Canadian personnel, equipment and humanitarian supplies to many places throughout the world, including NATO and NORAD missions. The Canadian Air Force has also taken on additional responsibilities recently in Afghanistan with the creation of Air Wing Kandahar. The CAF was a critical part of the success of the recent Canadian Forces mission to Haiti.
This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, which is more commonly known as the Snowbirds. This year's show season officially began yesterday and will continue with 56 performances throughout Canada and the United States. Honourable senators will be interested to know that 2010 is a notable year for the Snowbirds for another reason: Following an organizational restructure, Lieutenant Colonel Maryse Carmichael took over as Commanding Officer of the squadron, the first woman to do so in the 40-year history of the Snowbirds.
It is my hope that honourable senators will take the time to visit on Tuesday, May 25, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. in Room 256-S, to thank the men and women of the Canadian Air Force for the tremendous work that they do to preserve our security.