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Canadian Component Changes Commanders

Lt. Col. Patrick Carpentier took command of the 552nd Air Control Wing Canadian Component during a ceremony here recently. Colonel Carpentier comes from commanding the 12th Radar Squadron, tactical mobile radar. (Air Force photo by Megan Davis)

Lt. Col. Patrick Carpentier took command of the 552nd Air Control Wing Canadian Component during a ceremony here recently. Colonel Carpentier comes from commanding the 12th Radar Squadron, tactical mobile radar. (Air Force photo by Megan Davis)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Oklahoma -- 552nd Air Control Wing and its Canadian counterparts witnessed a transfer of command between Canadian Component Commander, Lt. Col. Henrik Smith, and, Lt. Col. Patrick Carpentier.

Presiding official, Gen Andr'e Viens deputy commander, Continental United States North American Aerospace Defense Command Region began his remarks by speaking of the special bond between the two nations.

"The past year has been a very busy year for Canada, AWACS played an integral part in ensuring the air security over Vancouver, flying around the clock to provide radar coverage and more recently the G20 summit in Toronto when we requested AWACS to provide the radar air picture," said General Viens.

General Viens credited Col Smith with overcoming numerous challenges upon his arrival in the summer of 2007. "Col Smith has been an awesome commander and has led this detachment brilliantly for the past three years" General Viens said.

Col Smith spoke of the hard work and dedication of the men and women of the Canadian detachment. "You're the ones that go out and fly every day, without you nothing happens and your performance over the last three years has been magnificent" said Col Smith.

Col Smith joined Gen Viens, and Col Carpentier at the center of the stage to sign the official change-of-command certificates signifying the transfer of command.

"Col Carpentier has got a very impressive background of experience. He has served on AWACS within NATO, the French Air Force and he has a tour here already so you're going to get someone qualified and knowledgeable about doing the airborne early warning mission" said Gen Viens of his new commander.

Col Carpentier expressed his excitement to work with the men and women of the Canadian Component. "I'm glad to be here, I only make one promise and that's to have fun over the next three years, he said we've got a lot of challenges ahead of us, let's go have fun meeting them."