Lt. Col. Dozois takes command of Canadian Detachment

Lt. Col. Peter Dozois, left, Brig. Gen. Christopher Coates and Lt. Col. Patrick Carpentier sign documents signifying a change of command for the Canadian Detachment at Tinker Air Force Base on Aug. 15 at the Tinker Club. Colonel Carpentier relinquished command of the detachment to Colonel Dozois, while General Coates served as the presiding officer. (Air Force photo by Kelly White)

Lt. Col. Peter Dozois, left, Brig. Gen. Christopher Coates and Lt. Col. Patrick Carpentier sign documents signifying a change of command for the Canadian Detachment at Tinker Air Force Base on Aug. 15 at the Tinker Club. Colonel Carpentier relinquished command of the detachment to Colonel Dozois, while General Coates served as the presiding officer. (Air Force photo by Kelly White)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Canadians have a slightly different way of doing things than their American counterparts.

A case in point was the change of command ceremony held Wednesday, Aug. 15, where Lt. Col. Patrick Carpentier relinquished command of the 552nd Air Control Wing's Canadian Detachment to Lt. Col. Peter Dozois, before a crowd of about 50 spectators at the Tinker Club.

When United States forces conduct a change of command ceremony, the outgoing commander typically passes a guidon, or the unit's colors, to the incoming commander, signaling a change of authority has taken place.

In the case of the Canadians, the outgoing commander, incoming commander and the presiding officer all sign a scroll signifying the legal transfer of command authority.
Such was the case last week when Colonels Carpentier and Dozois penned their names on the change of command document, along with Canadian Brig. Gen. Christopher Coates, deputy commander for the Continental United States NORAD Command Region, who presided over the ceremony.

The document signing followed a general salute by a formation of Canadian Detachment members, the singing of the national anthems for both the U.S. and Canada by Staff Sgt. Amy Preitauer, 552nd Maintenance Squadron, and a parade inspection of troops by General Coates.

"Changes of command are special occasions," General Coates told those in attendance. "They are a time to reinforce the responsibilities that are essential to effective functioning of military units -- from units arise effective formations, and from formations entire commands.

"It is the unit that is critical to the success of our militaries," the general added. "For this reason, commanding officers are carefully selected."

General Coates went on to say under Canada's National Defence Act, only commanding officers and the Chief of Defence Staff are specifically identified and their responsibilities detailed.

Commanding officers have the greatest combination of responsibility, authority and contact with members of the military, the general said.

"We count on commanding officers to know their personnel," General Coates continued. "We count on COs to know the mission and to balance mission and people -- it's always tough to compromise either."

The general said the Canadian Detachment at Tinker Air Force Base is "an important unit."

"On one hand, it supports the NORAD mission and contributes to one of the most remarkable defense relationships in the world," he said. "On the other hand, Canadian participation with the 552nd Air Control Wing is one of the premiere opportunities for Canadians to participate in and contribute to a unique military capability.

"It affords Canada the chance to acquire important skills and knowledge and it allows Canadians to further our shared commitments with our closest ally - the United States. Canadians are privileged to have this opportunity."

General Coates congratulated Colonel Carpentier on a job well done and said Colonel Dozois' background prepares him "wonderfully" for his new command, adding that his biggest responsibility will be the welfare and support of the Canadians here at Tinker.
"It's been an honor for me to serve with you over the last two years," said Colonel Carpentier, who will be moving on to a position with the Strategic Joint Staff at the National Defense Headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Colonel Carpentier urged the men and women of the Canadian Detachment to be proud of what they have accomplished during his tenure and said Colonel Dozois is taking over a unit "that's on its way up" and that he couldn't think of a better leader to hand the unit off to.

Resisting the urge to yell "Boomer Sooner" upon his assumption of command, Colonel Dozois agreed with Colonel Carpentier, saying, "I take command of a unit that's in superb condition" and wished his predecessor well on his new assignment.
Colonel Dozois' first words of wisdom to his new unit members were to value their relationships with co-workers and family members and to practice good "airmanship" every day.

He said it's also "absolutely paramount" they are able to perform their mission under pressure.

The ceremony concluded with two unit members receiving Canadian Forces Decorations for having completed at least 12 years of service. Capt. Ryan O'Neill received a First Class decoration for having served 22 years and Maj. Bradley Little received a Second Class decoration for having served 32 years.