OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 27, 2012) - Command of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) officially changed hands at a ceremony held today at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.
In the presence of the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, the new Commander of the RCAF and Chief of the Air Force Staff, Lieutenant-General Yvan Blondin, assumed command from Lieutenant-General André Deschamps at a ceremony presided over by General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff.
"With the leadership of Lieutenant-General Deschamps, the RCAF has significantly increased domestic and international operations and supported Canada's military mission to Afghanistan," said Minister MacKay. "As Lieutenant-General Blondin takes command of Canada's modernized and highly-capable Air Force, Canada's military airpower will meet the defence challenges of today and well into the future."
"Our recent operational achievements have demonstrated that the RCAF is a professional and skilful force that delivers the effects needed to make Canada and the world a safer place," said Lieutenant-General Blondin. "I intend to keep up the momentum as we continue to modernize our force and build on these achievements. Our airmen and airwomen are making tremendous contributions to Canadian Forces operations at home and around the world. Thanks to their professionalism and dedication, we will continue to succeed in these exciting and challenging times."
As the senior air force officer in the Canadian Forces, the Commander of the RCAF and Chief of the Air Force Staff acts as an advisor to the Chief of the Defence Staff on strategic air force issues. He is also responsible for training, generating and maintaining combat-capable, multi-purpose air forces to meet Canada's defence objectives.
Lieutenant-General Blondin has accumulated more than 3,000 flying hours, flying aircraft such as the T-33 Silver Star and the CF-18 Hornet. His most recent appointments have included Assistant Chief of the Air Force Staff, Commander of Canadian NORAD Region, Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, Director of Staff at NATO International Security Assistance Force Headquarters in Afghanistan and Wing Commander of 3 Wing Bagotville.
Lieutenant-General Deschamps is retiring after 36 years of distinguished service with the RCAF.
Notes to editor / news director: Lieutenant-General Yvan Blondin's biography is available on the RCAF website at www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca
Imagery is available at the following link: http://airforceapp.forces.gc.ca/CoC2012/