Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan and Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence Lawrence MacAulay issued the following statement:
“Today we celebrate the 13th annual Air Force Day on Parliament Hill to honour the brave and dedicated Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aviators who work tirelessly to protect Canada and Canadians.
The RCAF works closely with the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army in operations across Canada, North America and the world. On any given day in Canada, the RCAF participates in search and rescue missions, performs flying patrols, assists in areas affected by natural disasters, or supports law enforcement operations. They are available to assist in a crisis whenever it arises.
Through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the Canadian Armed Forces work in partnership with the United States, conducting aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning to safeguard North America. This requires RCAF aviators to be on 24/7 alert status and to provide constant operation of the Canadian portion of the North Warning System – a chain of radar stations along the northern edge of North America.
The RCAF also plays a major role in all Canadian deployed operations. Its aviation capabilities support missions with NORAD, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United Nations, and coalition partners. To advance international peace and security, some of this international work includes supporting United Nations Security Council resolutions and providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, such as delivering medical supplies, food and equipment, and transporting Disaster Assistance Response Teams.
This week, we also mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day-the Allied landings in Normandy. This successful combined operation on June 6, 1944, marked the turning point in the Second World War. Approximately 1,000 Canadian aircraft were in the air on D-Day, involving 54,000 RCAF members from 39 squadrons. We are grateful to all aviators who were instrumental to this proud RCAF legacy.
On this day, we reflect on the sacrifices and dedication of all RCAF aviators-from air traffic controllers to technicians to pilots and more. We honour them and offer our sincere gratitude for their exemplary service to Canada and Canadians.”