Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

October 01, 2009 14:00 ET

New Commander for Canada's Air Force

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 1, 2009) - Command of Canada's Air Force officially changed hands at a ceremony held today at the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa.

The new Commander of Air Command and Chief of the Air Staff, Lieutenant-General Andre Deschamps, assumed command from Lieutenant-General Angus Watt at a ceremony presided over by General Walter Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff.

"Through the leadership of Lieutenant-General Watt, the Air Force has risen to the challenge of significantly increased domestic and operational demands," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway. "As Lieutenant-General Deschamps takes command, I have every confidence that the Air Force will continue to be ready to respond to Canada's needs at home and abroad."

"The Air Force has a great future," said LGen Deschamps. "In line with the Canada First Defence Strategy, we've made great progress in a number of areas - such as the acquisition of the CC-177 Globemaster and signing contracts for new CC-130J Hercules and new CH-147F Chinooks. This is thanks to the leadership of my predecessors and the hard work of the professional, dedicated men and women of the Air Force.

"I intend to keep the pace moving forward, integrate our new equipment and continue to renew our capabilities. This is a great team with great equipment and great training, delivering world class results. I am proud to lead Canada's Air Force into the future."

As the senior Air Force officer in the Canadian military, the Commander of Air Command and Chief of the Air Staff acts as an advisor to the Chief of the Defence Staff on strategic Air Force issues. He is also responsible for training, generating and maintaining combat capable, multi-purpose air forces to meet Canada's defence objectives.

LGen Deschamps has accumulated more than 7,500 flying hours, flying aircraft such as the CT-134 Musketeer, CF-104 Starfighter and CC-130 Hercules. His recent appointments have included Commander of the Theatre Support Element in southwest Asia, Wing Commander of 8 Wing Trenton, Chief of Staff Operations at Canadian Expeditionary Force Command in Ottawa, and Assistant Chief of the Air Staff.

LGen Watt is retiring after 37 years of distinguished service with the Air Force.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Lieutenant-General Andre Deschamps' biography is available on the Air Force website at www.airforce.forces.gc.ca

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