ARCHIVED - Lieutenant-General Michael Hood: Change of command ceremony speech

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News Article / July 9, 2015

By Lieutenant-General Michael J. Hood

I can’t begin to express how honoured and privileged I feel to take command of the Royal Canadian Air Force and of all those airmen and airwomen who have chosen to serve their country with professionalism and dedication.

First and foremost, I want to acknowledge those RCAF members who are on duty at this very moment. They are flying missions over Iraq and Syria, guarding North America as part of NORAD, and saving the lives of Canadians 24 and 7 in our search and rescue role.

The RCAF’s success in operations, at home and around the world, is a direct result of their exceptional skills, capabilities and flexibility. I am immensely proud of them.

At home, the support that our families provide to their loved ones in uniform has a direct impact on that operational success. In return, I am committed to supporting our military families in all their diversity. We will work with our partners to improve services for our families and better address their needs. They are crucial members of our RCAF team – and deserve our best.

Reflecting upon my upcoming command, I also promise to uphold and reinforce the values and ethics of the Royal Canadian Air Force. We are a vital national institution and hold an immense responsibility on behalf of all Canadians. 

I will demand that we respect the dignity and rights of all our personnel – and I will be sending a very clear message to my subordinate commanders that harassment of any sort – be it sexual or otherwise – has no place in the RCAF or, for that matter, throughout the entire Canadian Armed Forces. We must rid ourselves – once and for all – of this abhorrent behaviour.

Nevertheless, I have great faith in those who serve our nation in the Canadian Armed Forces. During my tenure as commander, I will continue to invest in our airmen and airwomen – to further develop and harness their immense intellectual capacity as we think beyond the cockpit, beyond the flight line, and beyond the maintenance hangar to ensure that we remain prepared to confront future challenges. 

And what will those challenges be?

My crystal ball doesn’t work any better than yours, but we do know that the world is full of instability and uncertainty, and that Canadian airpower is a key instrument  in achieving our Government’s objectives. We must be ready to answer the call.

We will do this by enabling our four key Royal Canadian Air Force Vectors – our key attributes that are summed up as “A I R Power”. AGILE. INTEGRATED. REACH. POWER.

AGILE: As we demonstrated when we geared up and deployed our fighters and support aircraft to Libya on less than 24 hours’ notice.

INTEGRATED: Across all of our air power domains – as we are during search and rescue missions where we work within a whole-of-government approach, integrating SAR platforms and personnel with assets that may often serve in other roles or integrating with other Commands during natural disasters such as the Manitoba flood or the forest fires burning on the Prairies at this very moment.

REACH: Necessary for success at home and abroad – as we demonstrated when our fleet of Globemaster aircraft, which was repatriating equipment from Afghanistan, was re-routed, at a moment’s notice, half-way ʼround the world to deliver aid to the Philippines in response to the humanitarian crisis that had developed there following Typhoon Haiyan.

And POWER: Essential to protecting our sovereignty at home and Canadian interests abroad. This cuts across all of our capabilities, ALL our occupations and ranks, and our entire aircraft fleet. We all have a critical role to play.

And that is the source of our strength. We are one Air Force team. And to achieve airpower mastery in today’s interconnected and interlinked world, all members of the RCAF must Fly in Formation – together – regardless of their job, their aircraft, or their mission. Every Air Force capability is crucial to the defence of our great country and our values; we must all work together and Fly in Formation.

I am also committed to Flying in Formation with our sister services – the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army – as well as our colleagues in the Department of National Defence. The RCAF will be a key supporter of the Defence Team and you can count on our support – as we count on you for our own success. We will also be steadfast wingmen to our fellow government departments and organizations with whom we work in the Defence of Canada, and with our Allies as we carry out coalition operations and build interoperable capabilities.

For we must continue to strive for excellence in all that we do, and we will accomplish this by delivering A I R Power in Formation: AGILE. INTEGRATED. REACH. POWER.

Flying in Formation.

In closing, let’s remember the RCAF’s motto – Sic itur ad astra – Such is the pathway to the stars. You have my pledge that I will continue to strengthen that pathway and strive with all my energy to enable the success of our airmen and airwomen and the Royal Canadian Air Force.


 

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