Parliamentarians recognize RCAF achievements

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News Article / June 9, 2014

By Sue Cocek

The eighth annual “Air Force Appreciation Day on the Hill”, hosted by Senator Joseph Day and the Royal Canadian Air Force Association, was celebrated on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.

The day began with Senate recognition of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Lieutenant-General Yvan Blondin, commander of the RCAF, and five RCAF members – Corporal Vic Lefrançois, Master Corporal David Bilodeau, Sergeant Pascal Quillé, Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Young and Captain Carolyne Leblanc – were present in the Senate gallery and acknowledged by Senate members. 

Senator Day paid tribute to the RCAF and its multiple international operations, strong partnerships in military alliances and vital role in Canada.

That evening, several members of the RCAF, representing various ranks, occupations and experiences, attended a reception and met with Canada’s national leaders. Wearing operational dress to illustrate that the RCAF is an operational force that is ready and able to deploy rapidly regardless of the situation or the location, the personnel shared first-hand accounts of their unique experiences while in the service of Canada.

Lieutenant-General Blondin spoke with great pride about the vibrancy and professionalism of the Air Force team. “Our men and women are the heart and soul of the RCAF,” he said.  “From our beginning in 1924 to our 90th birthday this year, it is the skill, dedication and innovative ideas of our people that allow the RCAF to be successful and maintain its high level of operational excellence and readiness.”

To illustrate the exceptional calibre of the work that RCAF airmen and airwomen perform day in and out, Lieutenant-General Blondin introduced four RCAF members to the room, highlighted their achievements, and presented each with a commander’s coin in recognition of the calibre of their work.  

Master Corporal David Bilodeau, a loadmaster with 429 Transport Squadron at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, has accumulated more than 1,200 flying hours since he joined the squadron in January 2011. He deployed in support of 42 combat missions into Afghanistan, participated in the humanitarian effort in the Philippines, has flown in two missions into Libya, and many missions into Africa and around the world in support of Special Operations Forces.

“It was an honour for me to represent 429 Squadron and the RCAF on Parliament Hill,” he said. “I felt very privileged to meet face to face with Parliamentarians and to share with them what our Squadron has accomplished in recent years.”

Imagery technicians Sergeant Pascal Quillé and Corporal Vic Lefrançois, members of the RCAF staff in Ottawa, visually document the day-to-day life of the RCAF. They are always ready to work in varying environments ranging from operational missions to documenting personal achievements. Their videos and photographs, which are published in the media, on the internet and on social media, help Canadians “see” what the RCAF accomplishes around the world, around the clock.

Lieutenant-Colonel Nancy Tremblay is an aerospace engineer who works in support of various RCAF aircraft fleets. She was the aircraft maintenance engineering officer for 438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron located at St-Hubert, Quebec, and supported operations in Libya from Bagotville, Québec, as the commanding officer of 3 Air Maintenance Squadron. She works at the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command in Ottawa as the headquarters commanding officer but soon return to work directly for the RCAF.

“Each member expressed delight and gratefulness with our accomplishments and for the positive image we portray around the world,” said Master Warrant Officer Troy Zuorro, who was also present at the reception.  “I sincerely appreciated the fact that Senators and members of Parliament took time out of their busy days to express their thanks for all members of the RCAF.”


Join the RCAF - Dare to be extraordinary

Airborne Electronic Sensor Operators use advanced electronic sensor systems to operate airborne sensors onboard long-range patrol aircraft, maritime helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.

They are responsible for detecting and tracking submarines, providing support for search and rescue operations/medical evacuations, and assisting other government departments and agencies in the collection of evidence and counter-narcotics patrols.

Their primary technical functions are to:

         - Operate radar, electrooptic/Infrared systems, magnetic anomaly detection, and electronic warfare equipment
         -  Take airborne photography
         - Load and arm airborne weapons, and search stores systems
         - Operate the helicopter-mounted machine gun system
         -  Operate unmanned aerial vehicle electronic sensor systems
         - Communicate with internal and external agencies; both civilian and Allied forces
         - Collect evidence

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