By MWO Normand Marion, 16 Wing
On Thursday, March 29th, 16 Wing held an all-ranks Mess Dinner at the CFB Borden Officers Mess in celebration of the 88th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The Guest of Honour for the event was Colonel Derek Joyce, Commanding Officer of the CF Aerospace Warfare Centre in Trenton.
Col Joyce served last year as Commanding Officer of Task Force Libeccio - the Air component of Op MOBILE, which contributed to the imposing of the arms embargo and the no-fly zone over Libya. He was invited to speak about his experience in the theatre.
"From time to time we ask ourselves how truly combat ready we are. I can tell you that when our CF-18s took off to deploy overseas, the pilots didn't even know where they were going to land; negotiations were still on going while they were in the air. This is how fast we deployed. Two days later, they were dropping bombs on target."
Col Joyce explained that while the CF-18s were doing the front line work, the RCAF contingent really operated as a complete team, with two CC-150 Polaris providing air-to-air refuelling, and two CP-140 Aurora directing the fighters to targets. "The Auroras flew more than 1,400 hours... and the refuellers off-loaded over 15 million pounds of fuel, with a 96% serviceability rate," he said. "That doesn't just happen on its own. That happens because the folks you trained here prepared these aircraft, and took care of them throughout the tasking. They did a fantastic job, and you deserve credit for it. This was the product of your hard work."
During the evening, 16 Wing Commander LCol Peter Earle and 16 Wing Chief Warrant Officer, CWO Luc Tremblay presented three major awards to members of the Wing.
The 16 Wing Teamwork Award for 2011 was presented to the Aircraft Structures Design & Development Team of the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering (CFSATE), represented for the acceptance by Sgt Ken Hall and WO Bob Patten. The 16 Wing Teamwork Award is presented annually to any 16 Wing team, Section, Flight, Cell or Committee and recognizes members who exemplify teamwork, co-operation and/or continuous promotion of teamwork, foster Wing/unit morale and/or esprit de corps.
A second award, the 16 Wing Excellence in Instruction trophy, was awarded to Master Corporal John Gribben, also from CFSATE. This trophy is awarded annually to any 16 Wing non-commissioned member, officer, or group who exemplifies instructional excellence and/or professionalism and for demonstrating excellence in instructional ability or professional demeanour carrying out a specific task or throughout a specific event.
Finally, the Coyle Cup, 16 Wing's Leadership Award, was presented to Warrant Officer Mike Jarvie of the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Control Operations (CFSACO). The 16 Wing Leadership Award recognizes non-commissioned members and officers who demonstrate a significant display of leadership and/or continuous care of their subordinates, their development, their welfare and/or esprit de corps.
Congratulations to the award recipients, and thank you to all who took part in the event, particularly our Guest of Honour, Col Joyce. Many thanks to all the guests who attended, and to all who worked so hard behind the scene to make this a memorable event.