On May 4, 2018, command of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) officially changed hands at a ceremony held in Ottawa at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum presided over by General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff.
Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger, the new RCAF Commander, relieved Lieutenant-General Mike Hood of his command during the ceremony.
Currently, the RCAF employs approximately 12,000 Regular Force personnel and 2,100 Air Reserve personnel, plus an additional 1,500 civilian public servants.
“I am deeply honoured to accept command of the Royal Canadian Air Force from Lieutenant-General Hood, who has led the RCAF and served his country with passion, commitment, and vision. I am privileged and proud to lead the members of this distinguished national institution,” said Lieutenant-General Meinzinger in a press release issued May 4. “I assume this command with the knowledge, however, that we have much work left to do and that, as we move forward, ‘People, Policy, Program, and Posture’ will be our anchor points.”
Lieutenant-General Meinzinger joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1985. In 2006, he took command of 403 Helicopter Operational Training Squadron. In 2011, he deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, to command Canada’s Joint Task Force-Afghanistan Air Wing and to oversee the final phase of Air Wing support to combat operations.
He then took command of the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ont., in July 2013. From there, he was promoted to Major-General in May 2015 and appointed Deputy Commander, Royal Canadian Air Force. In March 2017, he was appointed as Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff and from there, he was promoted to Lieutenant-General on April 20, 2018.
Ceremoniously marking the Change of Command from Lieutenant-General Mike Hood to Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger, two CH-146 Griffon helicopters, two CF-18 Hornets and one CC-130J Hercules aircraft flew over the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum.