Today marks one year since the tragedy that took the life of 431 AD Squadron and Snowbirds’s Public Affairs Officer, Captain (Capt) Jenn Casey.
On May 17, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds’ cross-country tour to raise people’s spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic turned to tragedy when one of its planes plunged into the ground in Kamloops, B.C., taking the life of Capt Casey and injuring Capt Richard MacDougall.
The Snowbirds jet crashed shortly after takeoff and burst into flames in the front yard of a house.
“Her role in our success was only made more clear last year during Operation INSPIRATION where she connected us with millions of Canadians across the country through our social media channels and media interviews. She was the true force and heart behind Op INSPIRATION and it was thanks to her hard work and dedication that the mission was so successful.” Lieutenant-Colonel Denis Bandet, 431 Air Demonstration (AD) Squadron Commander
IN COMMEMORATION OF CAPT CASEY
In commemoration of Capt Casey, Lieutenant-Colonel Denis Bandet, 431 Air Demonstration (AD) Squadron Commander issued the following statement, “Jenn Casey embodied the very best of what it means to be a Snowbird. Enthusiastic, warm, witty, a true team player, a leader and an innovative powerhouse. The trust that we had in her to connect with the public was absolute.
“Our core mission is to inspire, while also representing the amazing men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, and she was one of our best. Her insight and innovation connected us to you, our public, better than ever before and she ensured our missions were met every day.
“Her role in our success was only made more clear last year during Operation INSPIRATION where she connected us with millions of Canadians across the country through our social media channels and media interviews. She was the true force and heart behind Op INSPIRATION and it was thanks to her hard work and dedication that the mission was so successful.”
FLYING UNDER OP INSPIRATION – AGAIN
Bandet informed that they would be flying under Op INSPIRATION again, carrying on Jenn’s legacy as they attend air shows and conduct flybys across Canada and the United States.
He said having the 2021 CF-18 Demonstration Team joining them on their mission is especially moving as Jenn was asked to become a Snowbird after her work as the 2018 CF-18 Demo Team Public Affairs Officer.
He continued, “We know it would put a smile on her face to see how many of you she touched and to see the outpouring of love coming from Canadians all over the country and around the world.
“Thank you for your support, for remembering her and for loving her as much as we did. We know that her indomitable spirit will live on in each and every one of you whose life she touched. We will carry her enthusiasm with us always.”
Capt Casey joined the CAF in August 2014 as a direct entry officer. Before joining the forces, she spent several years working in broadcast radio as a reporter, anchor, and producer in Halifax, NS, and Belleville, ON, and built remarkable friendships with journalists across the country who said she was a focused storyteller.
ORIGINALLY FROM HALIFAX
Originally from Halifax, Casey completed a Master of Interdisciplinary Studies at Royal Roads University in 2019 and held a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of King’s College and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Comparative World Religions from Dalhousie University.
Her first assignment as a Public Affairs Officer was at 8 Wing Trenton, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s home of air mobility. She spent the 2018n season with the CF-18 demo team, travelling North America and the United Kingdom with the NORAD 60 jet. Capt Casey joined the CAF Snowbirds in November of 2018.