Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

August 16, 2011 16:00 ET

Canada Restores Historic Identities of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 16, 2011) - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of National Defence, joined Canadian Forces members at CFB Esquimalt today to celebrate the announcement made by the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, that the Government of Canada has restored the use of the historic designations of the three former services: the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), the Canadian Army (CA), and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

"Canadians have tremendous reverence and respect for our brave men and women in uniform - past and present - who protect our freedoms and way of life," said Minister Fantino. "Restoring these historic identities helps link those who serve in the Canadian Forces today with the historic tradition in which they serve."

"Restoring these historic identities is an important way of reconnecting today's men and women in uniform with the proud history and traditions they carry with them as members of the Canadian Forces," said Minister MacKay. "A country forgets its past at its own peril. From Vimy Ridge to the Battle of the Atlantic and from Korea to the defence of Europe during the Cold War, the proud legacy of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force will once again serve as a timeless link between our veterans and serving soldiers, sailors and air personnel."

On February 1, 1968, the government of the day amended the National Defence Act to unify the Canadian Forces. In that process, the identities of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force ceased to be used and were replaced by Maritime Command, Land Force Command, and Air Command. This decision restores the original historic identities while retaining the organizational benefits of unification.

"I am extremely proud of our men and women in uniform and even more proud to be honouring the rich history of our military," said the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk. "By restoring the historic designations of the Canadian Armed Forces we are continuing to show unified strength here at home, and abroad."

By reinstating the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Government is restoring a central component of Canada's military heritage. Dating back to the first half of the 20th century, these were the names of the services that fought and emerged victorious from the First World War, the Second World War, from Korea, and also contributed to deterrence and defence in Europe and North America from the early days of the Cold War. With this decision, these historic identities will return to official use, reminding us of the Canadian tradition of service and sacrifice that today's men and women in uniform proudly continue.

Notes to editor / news director: For background information and fact sheets:

Backgrounder: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=3899

Fact Sheet (RCN): http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=3902

Fact Sheet (CA): http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=3903

Fact Sheet (RCAF): http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=3901

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