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Planning underway for air force’s centennial celebration in Comox

‘The intent … is to celebrate our history … while inspiring future generations of Canadians’
Canadian Armed Forces Military Police members patrol the grounds during Operation REASSURANCE Air Task Force Romania on Sept. 21, 2019 at the Mihail Kogӑlniceanu Airbase. (Image courtesy of LS Erica Seymour DND-MDN Canada)

It is still a year away, but the plans are already in place for a centennial celebration for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

April 1, 2024 will mark the 100-year-anniversary of the RCAF and Col. Maggie Jacula explained to media May 25 at CFB Comox that various events are planned, including highlighting the work of honorary colonels within their communities across Canada.

“Comox is going to be looking to have some events in April with the local museum, another version of the RCAF run... (and some) initiatives to refurbish the air park here,” said Jacula. “The intent for the centennial is to celebrate our history and heritage while inspiring future generations of Canadians; we really want to have so Canadians learn more about the air force.”

Jacula added the goal of the centennial celebration is awareness.

“When you look at the Air Force now, some of the stories we’re going to tell are all the different men and women of different backgrounds, different trades, different ranks, all of those sorts of stories. In the past - and they are fabulous stories that need to be told - but we tended to focus on planes and pilots and we’re really going to make sure with the centennial that we’re highlighting all the other people who also contribute to the Air Force.”

Honorary Colonel of 19 Wing Comox Robert Quartermain, who helps bridge the relationship between the business community and the Wing, explained part of the centennial celebration would be centred around the Heritage Air Park.

He added many people in the community benefit by going and enjoying the park, but the goal is to refurbish some of the aircraft on display.

He is also assisting with the DeHavilland Vampire Mark III project, with the goal of bringing the wood aircraft into public display at the park with the construction of a pavilion.

RELATED: Comox Vampire preserving military history for air force centennial celebration

Honorary Colonel for the RCAF Loreena McKennitt said when she reflects on the history of the Air Force, there is much more than just combat.

“There’s peacemaking, there’s sovereignty patrol, there’s search and rescue, there’s transport, and of course the disaster relief domestically and internationally. So when one is talking about the history of the RCAF, one may primarily first go to what was accomplished in the contribution of the wars. But in actual fact, there’s been so much and there is every single day. So much that goes on to protect and serve Canadians.”

With her position, McKennitt added one of her goals is to bring awareness and appreciation to what the Air Force is doing every day.

“I’m a firm believer that democracy does not thrive as a spectator sport … we’re living in dangerous, challenging and exciting times.”

For more information about events leading up to the centennial, visit

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Erin Haluschak

About the Author: Erin Haluschak

Erin Haluschak is a journalist with the Comox Valley Record since 2008. She is also the editor of Trio Magazine...
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