OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 16, 2013) - During the seventh annual Air Force Appreciation Day on the Hill today, the Royal Canadian Air Force received one of the highest honours, as Parliamentarians paid tribute to the outstanding airmen and airwomen for their contributions to defending Canada and Canadians, as well as contributing to international peace and security.
"This event is a great opportunity to celebrate the history and evolution of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and to appreciate the pivotal role it plays today. I continue to be inspired by the calibre of the men and women who serve in the blue uniform," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "Whether conducting search and rescue operations in some of the most remote parts of Canada, defending our sovereignty, providing emergency assistance to communities, or participating in international missions, they are highly respected by our Allies and by all Canadians."
"I would like to thank all those who organized and participated in this year's appreciation day," said Lieutenant-General Yvan Blondin, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force. "I am extremely proud and fortunate to be the Commander of such a superb group of dedicated Canadians. They are always ready and eager to stand on duty for our country."
When the Royal Canadian Air Force was formed 89 years ago, it was composed of just over 60 officers and 250 non-commissioned members. Today the Royal Canadian Air Force today consists of more than 15 000 Regular and Reserve Force personnel located at 13 Wings across the country; an agile force, carrying out a wide range of vital missions at home and abroad. Recent examples include:
- search and rescue crews responding to more than 1000 calls for assistance in 2012;
- the CC-177 Globemaster III strategic airlifters flying in support of the French mission in Mali transported more than 1 500 000 kg of cargo and more than 770 personnel; and
- the CF-188 fighter aircraft flying more than 170 hours patrolling the air space of Iceland as part of an annual NATO mission.