Maj Wendy Clay in the CT-114 Tutor in which she qualified for her wings.

With unification in 1968, separate women’s organizations in the Navy, Army and Air Force were eliminated and women were integrated into the new unified Canadian Armed Forces.

The Service Women in Non-Traditional Environments and Roles (SWINTER) trial took place from 1979 to 1984. In 1979, Captain Deanna Brasseur, Captain Leah Mosher and Captain Nora Bottomley were the first women selected for pilot training in the Forces, but the first female pilot in the Canadian Armed Forces was Major Wendy Clay, a medical officer, who qualified as a pilot in 1974. Brasseur and Captain Jane Foster later became the first female CF-18 fighter pilots in 1989.

In February 1987, the Combat Related Employment of Women (CREW) trials began to “evaluate the impact of mixed gender units on operational effectiveness”. But in June 1987, the Air Force removed all restrictions on the employment of women in Air Force occupations.

CREW trials ended in February 1989 when the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that obstacles to the entry of service women in all military occupations would be lifted, with two exceptions: submarine service and Roman Catholic chaplaincy. Since then, women have entered the submarine service and, with the creation of lay (non-ordained) Roman Catholic pastoral associates, women serve as Roman Catholic chaplains as well.

Warrant officers and officers from the “Desert Cats” groundcrew.

On August 2, 1990, the Iraqi forces of Saddam Hussein streamed across the border of Kuwait, gaining control within 12 hours. International condemnation was swift and a coalition was formed to oppose Iraq.

In October, a squadron-sized CF-18 Hornet detachment, the “Desert Cats”, deployed to Doha, Qatar, as part of Canada’s Operation Friction. Canadian pilots flew combat air patrols over water in co-operation with a U.S. Marine Corps air wing and later took on combat roles that included sweep and escort for coalition bombing missions.

The air campaign against Iraqi military targets in Kuwait and Iraq began on January 17, 1991, and the ground campaign on February 28. Within 100 hours the Iraqi forces had been forced out of Kuwait and a cease-fire was declared.

The Canadian task force returned to Canada in April.