Portage la Prairie, M.B. – Sixteen new Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) pilots were proudly welcomed into the elite club of military aviators by having their wings pinned on their uniforms at 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School (3 CFFTS) in Portage la Prairie, M.B. on Friday, 9 March, 2012.
The presentation was presided over by Colonel Marc Bigaouette, Commander of 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Col Ian Lightbody, Commander 12 Wing Shearwater, Lieutenant Colonel Rob Kamphuis, 3 CFFTS Commandant and 3 CFFTS Honorary Colonel, Orville Wagner. The proud friends and families of the graduates were witness to Col Bigaouette presenting the coveted wings to the students. In a speech following the presentation, Col Bigaouette addressed the families, thanking them for their support of the graduates and asking for that support to continue into their demanding career in the CF.
The graduates will now be moving on to their operational units across Canada. Three separate courses were represented on parade, one multi-engine course and two rotary wing courses. The graduates trained on up to 4 different aircraft types and are considered some of the highest trained ab-initio military pilots in the world.
The multi-engine graduates from course 1108 were: Lieutenant Lauren Armstrong (429 Sqn C-17 Globemaster), Lt Bryan Morrison (405 Sqn CP-140 Aurora), Lt Josef Sliwinski (435 Sqn CC-130 Hercules), Captain Kevin Howley (436 Sqn CC-130J Hercules), Capt Curtis Cusack (424 Sqn CC-130 Hercules).
The rotary wing graduates from course 1105 and 1106 were: flying the CH-146 Griffon, Capt Susan Goodman (408 Sqn), Capt Philip Jefferson (427 Sqn), Capt David Gosselin (430 Sqn), Capt Jeffrey LaBrash (430 Sqn), Capt Connor Ryan (408 Sqn), Capt Guillaume Poulin (430 Sqn), Lt Elizabeth Rozendal (427 Sqn), Capt Nicole Sage (417 Sqn), Capt Jeremy Waller (408 Sqn) and flying the CH-124 Sea King, Capt Marlon Mongeon (423 Sqn) and Capt Simon Vlaar (443 Sqn).
The Portage la Prairie award for the student demonstrating the highest level of professionalism and officer-like qualities was presented by His Worship Earl Porter, Mayor of Portage la Prairie, to Capt Marlon Mongeon. The Hal Wishart trophy for top multi-engine student was presented to Lt Bryan Morrison. The Gos Golding trophy for top rotary wing student was presented to Capt Jefferson (1105) and Capt Vlaar (1106).
Following the parade, a formal Air Force mess dinner was attended by all the graduates, their friends and family and staff of 3 CFFTS. The guest of honour at the dinner, Col Lightbody, addressed the graduates giving them a look into their future and passing on his best wishes in their future careers as RCAF pilots.
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