Our People

The men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and their civilian colleagues are the RCAF’s greatest strength, the heart of the institution and the foundation upon which the RCAF’s future is built. They are extraordinary and professional, capable of accomplishing great things, setting standards of quality that are respected around the world. Day after day, night after night they contribute directly and indirectly to the delivery of air and space power for our nation.

Our airmen and airwomen are guided and inspired by the achievements of those who have served in the Air Force throughout its history.

Here are some of their stories.

Various medals, with ribbons attached, are lined up in rows on a table.

Governor General honours remarkable Canadians

Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada Julie Payette presented honours to 41 recipients, including members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, during a ceremony at Rideau Hall on November 12, 2019.
November 19, 2019

A man wearing orange coveralls and a green helmet with a communications package and a beacon sits in the cargo area of an aircraft in flight over heavily forested land.

435 Squadron member awarded SAR Tech of the Year

Search and rescue technician Sergeant Brandon Schetterer, from 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, has been named “SAR Tech of the Year" by the Para Rescue Association of Canada.
November 14, 2019

A woman wearing a military flight suit with headphones over her ears sits behind the pilot and co-pilot in the cockpit of a large aircraft.

436 Transport Squadron welcomes new honorary colonel

In November 2019, Cathie Puckering, CEO of the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, was invested as the honorary colonel of 436 Transport Squadron in Trenton, Ontario.
November 13, 2019

In the foreground, a person wearing a camouflage pattern uniform raises a Canadian flag, while a man wearing an RCAF dress uniform salutes and additional personnel in the background salute.

Shearwater technician and Aboriginal advisor retires after 39 year career

Sergeant Tony Parsons retired in October 2019 in Shearwater, N.S., after a 39-year career with the Navy and RCAF. During his time in uniform, he learned of his Aboriginal heritage and became a dedicated member of the local Defence Aboriginal Advisory Group.
November 6, 2019

A smiling woman wearing a military flight suit bent on one knee on a runway. There is a military helicopter behind her.

Canadian Army Reserve’s second female door gunner welcomes the challenge

Sergeant Brigitte O’Driscoll, an Army reservist with the Royal Montreal Regiment, has attained the distinction of becoming the second female door gunner in Canadian Army history.
October 28, 2019

A black-and-white photo of six uniformed women standing in a row with their arms around each other’s waists, looking up.

We have come a long way

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the great accomplishments of women today, but also those of women who paved the way for the generations that followed them.
March 6, 2020

A vintage black and white photo of a woman in operational flying dress speaking into a microphone held by a man wearing a sports jacket.

Grace MacEachern, para-belle: An RCAF pioneer

Pilot Officer Grace MacEachern was a pioneer for women in a revolutionary time for women's roles and rights. As a para-belle in the Canadian Armed Forces in the 1950s, she blazed a trail both for women and for the Royal Canadian Air Force.
March 5, 2020

In a black-and-white photograph, two young men in uniform sit on the leading edge of the wing of a vintage propeller aircraft, and two more stand in front of the wing.

Junius Lyman Edward Hokan: An extraordinary RCAF officer

Pilot Officer Junius Hokan was 20 when he died, but during his service he broke the race barrier barring Black-Canadians from serving in the RCAF, was an accomplished fighter pilot, and invented a navigation device that drew the attention of Great Britain’s air ministry.
February 26, 2020

A black and white photo of a black man wearing a shirt and tie, and a uniform jacket with wings.

Eric Watts, a natural leader

When Eric Victor Watts enlisted in the RCAF on May 10, 1939, technically, he should not have been allowed to join. Nevertheless, he proved to be a natural leader.
February 19, 2020

In a black-and-white photograph, a Black man wearing a uniform stands with his hands in his pockets in front of a large memorial displaying statues of men in uniforms.

Recruits of Choice

The excellence of Black Canadians recruited to the RCAF during and after the Second World War—even before Blacks were officially allowed to join the Air Force—is reflected in their achievements during and following their military service.
February 13, 2020

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