Canadian Detachment History: Part 2 of 4

  • Published
  • By Capt Eric Emanuele, RCAF

This year marks the 40th anniversary of a Canadian co-manning presence at Tinker Air Force Base.

 In June 1992 the United States Air Force underwent major functional changes when the 28th Air Division was dissolved and the 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing was renamed the 552nd Air Control Wing. 

Following the name change, the Canadian Component, fell under the operational control of the 552nd ACW.   From this point on, the Canadian Component participated in all missions taken on by the 552nd ACW.

Canadian personnel were not qualified to fill all positions on the E-3 AWACS until 1997 when the detachment received their first computer display maintenance technicians.

In September 1994, the Air Force introduced the airborne Air Control System, and it was that same year that the first Canadian, Capt. Aman, commanded an E-3 Sentry AWACS.

 The first attempt at an all-Canadian E-3 AWACS flight in December of 1998, resulted in 80% Canadian manning. There is always one American airman on board serving as the electronic combat officer.

The Canadian Component was most robust with 53 members, as Alaskan AWACS personnel were relocated to Tinker AFB in 1992. The following year the component went back to 43 members.  

In September 1992 the “Canadian Club” was opened, it was the first club available to Canadians and their guests for social occasions and meetings.

In April 1995 Canadian Component members participated in both the rescue operation and clean-up efforts after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. 

Shortly after in September 1995, detachment members also participated in the memorial and fly over for the 962nd AACS AWACS crash in Anchorage, Alaska, that killed all 24 members aboard the flight.

 The wing participated in more than 17 operations and exercises concluding a decade of successes.