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PHOTOS: RCAF 100th anniversary celebration held in Cold Lake

On May 22, 4 Wing CFB Cold Lake opened its doors to the public to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

COLD LAKE - On May 22, 4 Wing CFB Cold Lake opened its doors to the public to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Held at the Medley Terminal, the open house showcased the people and equipment that play crucial roles in 4 Wing’s missions at home and abroad.  

Visitors enjoyed a complimentary barbecue lunch while engaging with the military community from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

City of Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland expressed his excitement about the event, emphasizing the value of public exposure to military operations.  

“It's great that they get to show off what goes on, on the Wing here. I mean as the mayor we get exposed to it all the time, but it's great for the personnel too, especially with the kids.”  

He added, the open house offered an opportunity for young people to see the many jobs that exist on the base, “and maybe expose future military people that want to join the armed forces.” 

Copeland also pointed out that there are “people in Cold Lake that are retired, and so it's great for them to reminisce. There's a lot of Air Force enthusiasts that come all the way up to the open house here to see the jets and all the helicopters and all the equipment - and it's pretty cool.” 

The mayor also highlighted the significance of the upcoming introduction of the F-35 aircraft.  

“It's a real excitement because the future of the F-35. Finally, we're going to get a new plane for the men and women that fly for Cold Lake and work on the planes. I mean they've had the F-18 for many years and they do a great job keeping the plane up, but there's a lot of excitement.”  

He added, “There'll be a big, huge construction project going on... When the F-35 shows up here for the air show, I think people are going to be in for a great surprise. I think it's going to be a new platform and leading edge - and finally, Canada's investing in the best technology for their people and to protect Canada.” 

Lt.-Col. Frederick Dubeau, the company officer of the 4 Mission Support Squadron and the organizer of the open house, shared insights into the event’s planning and purpose.  

"The goal is to celebrate our 100th anniversary for the RCAF. So, this activity is organized to thank the community and enhance our relationship with them. So obviously, it's open to anyone to come over here and see what we do, talk to our people, so they can learn about what they do for the country.”  

Dubeau highlighted the diverse capabilities on display, noting the various trades represented at the event.  

“Everybody knows that Cold Lake is the fighter's wing, so we have the jets here. As you can see this morning, we have tons of other capabilities. So, it's an honour for us to show our equipment and show what we do for the country. It's an opportunity for us to engage with the community.” He added, “We have pilots, technicians that are fixing the aircraft, we have weapons on the display. There's something for everyone.” 

Reflecting on the importance of community engagement, Dubeau said the open house offered a more intimate chance for the community to visit the air base, compared to the airshow taking place in July – with 27,000 people expected to attend that event. 

He emphasized the value of showcasing military capabilities to everyday Canadians, noting that, “we're all taxpayers. The Department of National Defense is the biggest budget for the government. So, it's important to see the capabilities that we're buying and what we're doing.” 

The open house also provided a platform for military personnel to share their experiences and career paths.  

“All the people that were here made big decisions when they enrolled. It's definitely a different kind of life... And it goes beyond just a normal salary. It has become a passion for all of us. So come and meet with us and learn. We can tell you about our careers, where we're coming from,” said Dubeau.  

A recruitment kiosk was also available for people to stop by. “You never know, it might trigger some things for some people. We're ready to talk about the careers,” said Dubeau. 

Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Chantel Downes is a graduate of The King's University, with a passion for writing and storytelling. Originally from Edmonton, she received her degree in English and has a minor in communications.
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