Canadian Detachment Celebrates 40 Years at Tinker AFB

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Ashlyn K. Paulson

40 years of partnership, prosper and pride represents the Canadian Detachment and their arrival at Tinker Air Force Base on April 1, 1979.

42 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, who comprise the Canadian Detachment, are embedded with seven squadrons of the 552nd Air Control Wing and take on various responsibilities with their American partners.

“It is a privilege for members of the Canadian Detachment to fly, fight, and win alongside our USAF brothers and sisters at the 552nd ACW,” said LCol Shawn Guilbault, the Commanding Officer of the Canadian Detachment. “It is a uniquely embedded and integrated relationship, and the fact that we have done so proudly for 40 years speaks to the depth of our partnership; not simply an alliance, but as fighting professionals and friends.”

To celebrate their 40th anniversary, the Canadian Detachment is hosting the Royal Canadian Air Force Commander, Lieutenant Gen. Al Meinzinger as well as Chief Warrant Officer Denis Gaudreault, the RCAF Command Chief in May.

The celebration will begin with the 11th annual Canadian American-CANAM Hockey game, where Canada has taken the title the last two years. This hockey game is composed of Canadian detachment members and 552nd ACW members, and will be hosted this year on Friday, May 3, 2019. 

A mess dinner is also scheduled. While it is the anniversary of the Canadian Detachment at Tinker AFB, this dinner is also to celebrate the Royal Canadian Air Force birthday which was founded April 1, 1924. This event includes many timeless traditions including a piper and Port toast to many official figures such as the Queen of Canada and the President of the United States.

Meinzinger and Gaudreault will then receive a tour around Tinker AFB to learn their mission and see how the Canadian Detachment is integrated with the 552nd ACW.

Canadians have been stationed at Tinker AFB since 1979. 14 RCAF personnel were originally stationed here as part of North American Aerospace Defense Command Detachment 1 to act as Airborne Battle Staff in support of continental defense operations. Soon after, in 1985, the North American Air Defense Modernization Agreement increased the number Canadians to 43.

“The 552nd ACW is very grateful for the partnership we have enjoyed over the last 40 years with our Canadian friends and fellow warriors,” said Col. Geoffrey Weiss, commander of the 552nd ACW. “Their diverse contributions to our many wing successes and to the advancement of our shared global security priorities cannot be overstated.  Even as we pause to celebrate this special milestone, we are already looking ahead to the great things we will accomplish together in the next 40 years.”

The RCAF Detachment remains integrated today with Tinker AFB due to their NORAD relationship. The North American Aerospace Defense Command is a bi-national United States and Canadian organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning in the defense of North America. Aerospace warning includes the monitoring of man-made objects in space, and the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands. While this partnership started with NORAD, the Canadian Detachment is now fully embedded with all operational missions and deployments.

“Even as we pause to celebrate this special milestone, we are already looking ahead to the great things we will accomplish together in the next 40 years” said Weiss.