Lieutenant-General (retired) Fred Sutherland invested as 4 Wing honorary colonel

News Article / September 11, 2014

By Jeff Gaye

4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, said “Thank you” to outgoing Honorary Colonel Dave Bronconnier on August 25, 2014, and “Welcome home” to its new honorary colonel, Lieutenant-General (retired) Fred Sutherland.

At the investiture ceremony, 4 Wing commander Colonel Eric Kenny spoke of “the pride that the men and women feel in their honorary colonels that helps to build the important link between the Air Force and the communities in which we serve”.

Honorary colonels, he said, “are civic minded, successful and very dynamic individuals who have a keen desire to give back to their communities and to the military who serve our great country”.

Honorary Colonel Bronconnier served 4 Wing since 2011. The former Calgary mayor is a leader in the business world and has earned a reputation for his environmental leadership. He told those in attendance that Canadians know and care about the sacrifices made by military personnel.

“Those who have not served in uniform may never truly understand the difficulties you face on the battlefield or what it truly takes when you wear the uniform,” he said. “But be assured we stand firmly next to you in your mission to make the world a safer place. We respect the work you do.

“My term may be up but I will continue my support for your mission,” he said. “Thank you for the honour.”

Honorary Colonel Sutherland first served in Cold Lake as a student pilot, and was appointed base commander in 1982. During his tenure as base commander, he implemented the CF-18 Hornet fighter program. He went on to become commander of the Air Force, and retired as a lieutenant-general in 1992.

He has since distinguished himself in the business world while maintaining his involvement with military and defence institutions.

“Obviously, as [Air Force] commander, I could convey no favouritism,” he said. “However, I can now say, with the impunity that retirement brings, that Cold Lake was always a favourite – because, in large part, of the special spirit I always found here.”

Honorary Colonel Sutherland said that on a visit to Cold Lake last March, “I found that spirit still very much alive. I also felt, in a very real sense, that I had come home.”

He thanked Honorary Colonel Bronconnier for his service, noting that he had pledged to serve to the best of his ability, to bring pride and esprit de corps to the wing and to offer counsel and comfort where he could.

Honorary Colonel Sutherland said Honorary Colonel Bronconnier’s actions during his term “make him the exemplar of one who lives up to his promise.

“For my part,” he said, “I make the same commitment as Honorary Colonel Bronconnier did three years ago: to serve the senior leadership and the personnel of the wing in whatever way the wing commander sees fit.”

Jeff Gaye is the managing editor of The Courier, 4 Wing Cold Lake’s base newspaper.


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