Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

October 12, 2006 10:49 ET

Defence Minister Marks New Era for Canadian Air Defence Sector

22 WING/CFB NORTH BAY, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 12, 2006) - The Minister of National Defence, Gordon O'Connor, today announced the opening of the Sergeant David L. Pitcher complex during a naming and dedication ceremony at 22 Wing in North Bay, Ontario.

The new complex is named after Sergeant Pitcher who gave his life serving Canada and the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) mission. Sergeant Pitcher was on exchange with the United States Air Force in Elmendorf, Alaska, as a crewmember onboard an E-3B Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. Along with the rest of his 24-person crew Sergeant Pitcher perished tragically when their aircraft (flight Yukla 27) crashed on September 22, 1995.

"This new facility will increase operating efficiency and consolidate several units previously housed in separate facilities," said Minister O'Connor. "The new complex provides the infrastructure and technology to strengthen Canada's independent capacity to defend our sovereignty and contribute to the NORAD mission."

The opening of this new aboveground complex is a change from the previous Cold-War era underground facility. The David L. Pitcher building will house the Canadian Air Defence Sector, 21 Aerospace Control and Warning Squadron, and several other units essential to 22 Wing North Bay.

NORAD is a bi-national Canadian and American command that employs a network of space-, air- and ground-based sensors, air-to-air refuelling tankers and fighter aircraft, and controlled by a sophisticated command and control network in order to deter, detect and defend against aerial threats that originate outside or within North American airspace.

Note to Editors: For more information contact Lieutenant Steve Neta at 204-292-7539.

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