Vanguard Magazine

Dec/Jan 2013

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 47

A AIR FORCE Seeking AlternAtiveS New RCAF commander turns to technology At a ceremony in late September, Lieutenant-General Yvan Blondin assumed command of the Royal Canadian Air Force. A fighter pilot with over 3,000 flying hours in his 32-year career, Blondin has served in both NATO and NORAD commands and most recently served as deputy commander of the RCAF. He sat down with Vanguard to discuss priorities, budgets and future programs. Photo: Cpl Eric Girard Photo: DND On HIS TOp prIOrITy: For the two years between 2009 to 2011 that I was commander of 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg, it was probably the busiest period we had seen in many decades, with the air force deploying all over the world. I saw firsthand how good our people are when you challenge them. In Jacmel in Haiti, on an airfield the Americans had looked at and said, "we can't operate out of there with our Hercs," my guys said, "well, it's tight but take a few trees down, boss, and we can do it"; we operated for four months out of there without a glitch. In Afghanistan with the Griffon heli16 DECEMBER 2012/JANUARY 2013 copter that we knew was near its limits with respect to altitude and summer temperatures, and yet the guys did great work. And in Libya, where the commanding officer took nine young pilots – in fact, because only two had a second tour and the other seven were less than a couple of years in, I decided to send a few older guys, not to fly but at least for the first couple of weeks to help them plan – and they did absolutely great. Although we had 150 people in Sicily, those nine in the end had to make difficult decisions from 25,000 feet based on what they saw on a small eight-inch screen. I was impressed with everything I saw on those operations. So whatever we have done to create this – the training system, how we maintain our operations, how we pick our people, how we grow them and take care of them – this needs to be protected. That's my first priority.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Vanguard Magazine - Dec/Jan 2013