Today, April 1, marks the 95th birthday of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
In 1923, King George V bestowed the designation “Royal” on the Canadian Air Force, and on April 1, 1924, the RCAF was established as a permanent component of Canada’s defence force.
The new RCAF adopted the RAF’s motto Per Ardua Ad Astra – “Through adversity to the stars” – which replaced the CAF’s original motto Sic Itur Ad Astra – “Such is the pathway” (or “This is the way”) to the stars. The RCAF also adopted the RAF’s blue-grey uniform and, a couple of decades later, also borrowed the RAF’s march past.
Now, the RCAF continues to grow in size and in strength, with this past year being a period of high engagement and productivity.
“We have seen the arrival of our first interim fighter jets, the first deployment of the CH-148 Cyclone onboard a Canadian Navy frigate, the retirement of the CH-124 Sea King after 55 years of exceptional service, and a full transition to Cyclone maritime helicopter operations,” says Lieutenant-General Meinzinger, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force. “Meanwhile, we are also preparing for the transition to a new fixed-wing search and rescue fleet next year.”
As 2024 approaches—the 100-year celebration of the RCAF, Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger reminisces on the past achievements and activities of the RCAF and their role in the Canadian Armed Forces.
“We continue to grow our strengths as leader of the CAF Joint Space Program, a critical role underlined by the new space strategy for Canada released in March. We are now an integral part of the Combined Space Operations Center in California, with a member of the RCAF serving as the combined deputy director.”
The entire CAF benefits from the increased use of space capabilities in support of domestic and deployed operations, including the use of URSA satellite imagery receiver system and the Sapphire military satellite.
“I am extraordinarily proud to lead the aviators of the RCAF.”