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Snowbirds celebrate 35 years of hearts

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MOOSE JAW – Snowbirds past and present reunited in the Friendly City in October to share camaraderie, their love of aviation and memories of realizing a childhood dream.

“It is wonderful to return to Moose Jaw every five years and relive a time when things were really exciting,” said Major-General (Ret’d) Glen Younghusband, the first Snowbird lead pilot, who has been to every reunion. “The Snowbirds are a wonderful Canadian institution; the chance to come back and spend time with them (the Snowbirds) is fantastic.”

For the 450 Snowbirds who returned to Moose Jaw for the reunion, memories of their acceptance on the team, flying in the red and white CT-114 Tutor over the beautiful Prairie landscape, and performing in air shows across North America were relived and celebrated.

“It was great being on the first Snowbirds team and having the opportunity to think about how the team should be formed and how it should operate,” said Maj.-Gen. Younghusband. “It is humbling to see that the team has maintained the same high standard of professionalism and still flies some of the original formations, like the heart.”

"We are tremendously proud of the legacy of excellence that we have inherited," said Major Ian McLean, team lead and commanding officer, Canadian Forces Snowbirds. "The 35th anniversary weekend was a wonderful opportunity for past and present Snowbirds to reunite in our hometown of Moose Jaw and celebrate the team's tradition of professionalism, dedication and teamwork."

Focussing on camaraderie and celebration, the 35th anniversary weekend included welcome receptions, the year-end show and a red and white ball.

While the Snowbirds celebrated their tradition of dedicated service to Canada, they also raised about $11,000.00 with a silent auction in support of the Moose Jaw Peacock Collegiate School’s No Regrets campaign, affiliated with Safe Saskatchewan and SMARTRISK. As ambassadors for SMARTRISK, an organization that encourages youth to take calculated risks, the Snowbirds remind young Canadians to know the risks, get the training and wear the gear.

The Snowbirds' mission is to demonstrate the professionalism, dedication and teamwork of the Canadian Forces across North America and to act as a platform for recruiting. On September 17, 2005, the Snowbirds performed their 2,000th show in Reno, Nevada, with more than 50,000 spectators present.

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