Celebrating 30 years of CAN-AM Partnership
By 1st Lt. Kinder Blacke, 552nd Air Control Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 24, 2009
TINKER AFB, Okla. --
It was a festive occasion September 23, as two neighboring countries celebrated an important milestone in their relationship during the 30th Anniversary Canadian American Partnership Proclamation Ceremony.
This year marks three decades of Canadian co-manning in the 552nd Air Control Wing. "Every day at Tinker Air Force Base, Canadian and American Airmen train together, fly together, risk their lives together, and fight side by side," said Col. Scott Forest, vice commander, 552 ACW, who officiated the ceremony.
Through their teamwork and cooperation, both nations have played a critical role in promoting the security and tranquility of the two countries. "American and Canadian Airmen created this wing in the 70s, helped win the Cold War in the 80s, and in the 90s, fought heroically together in battles like Operation Desert Storm and Allied Force," said Colonel Forest. "In addition, Canadian and American Airmen from this wing responded valiantly on 9/11 and have worked side by side every day since."
The success of this partnership is due largely to the fact that Canadians and Americans have so much in common, pointed out Maj. Gen. Pierre Forgues, NORAD J3, Colorado Springs, Canadian Forces. There is a common theme between nations, he explained, "liberty," the preservation of dignity and freedom. "Both nations are committed to defending what our citizens cherish most, their liberty." The AWACS provides a key capability necessary to defend that liberty, he said.
The Canadians are honored to be integrated into the 552 ACW and have enjoyed the hospitality of Oklahoma City and the United States Air Force, said General Forgues. And according to Representative Shane Jett, Oklahoma is similarly thrilled by Canada's presence.
"You have made Oklahoma a better place by being involved here in our community," said Representative Jett to the Canadian component. The resident Canadians have contributed to countless community service projects over the years including Habitat for Humanity, Adopt a Highway, cancer fundraisers, and many more beneficial causes. "You are good neighbors," he said.
Representative Jett also read a proclamation on behalf of the Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry, officially recognizing the unique and critical partnership that the Canadians and Americans in the 552 ACW have shared over the past 30 years.
In addition to the reading of the proclamation, the CAN-AM ceremony was the official culmination to a series of sporting events between the Canadian and American components throughout the year. The friendly competitions gave the wing the opportunity to celebrate their unique partnership in true Canadian-American fashion, said Colonel Forest. Teams from each country competed in ice hockey, golf, and finally softball.
Although they played sports in single-nation teams, Colonel Forest noted that "together, we are stronger than the sum of our parts and today we celebrate the Canadian-American family that has evolved from a partnership that began 30 years ago."
And according to Colonel Forest, this multi-national "family" will continue to provide "the world's premier battle management and command and control as we fly, fight and win our nations' wars for our common interest, today and in the future."