The ceremony also included the change of command for the Joint Forces Air Component Command for the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM) and for Canada Command. All four command appointments are held by a single commander. This occasion was marked by fly pasts of CF-18 Hornets and CH-146 Griffon helicopters as a special salute to the outgoing and incoming commanders.
“Major-General Blondin has done an outstanding job as Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division,” said Lieutenant-General André Deschamps, Chief of the Air Staff, who presided over the ceremony. “He has led our operational headquarters admirably through an intense pace of operations, and I am very confident that Major-General Parent will continue to exemplify the outstanding leadership we have all come to expect in this organization.”
“My time commanding 1 Canadian Air Division and the Canadian NORAD Region has been unforgettable,” said MGen Blondin, who will proceed to Ottawa as the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff.
“Our Air Force is more involved in operations across the world than it has been in generations. During these high-paced years we also continued to make great strides in strengthening our support for our military families. I now have the pleasure of passing the torch to a seasoned leader and I have the highest confidence that he will serve our airmen, airwomen, and their families extremely well.”
“Over the last few years, I have witnessed first-hand the incredible accomplishments of Canada’s airmen and airwomen on missions across the globe,” said MGen Parent. “This organization has grown immensely under Major-General Blondin’s leadership. Witnessing the outstanding work that our personnel continue to do, day-in and day-out, I am truly looking forward to the road ahead.”
An experienced helicopter pilot, MGen Parent has 32 years of leadership experience. He commanded 403 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, CFB Gagetown, N.B., and later held the position of Commander of 1 Wing, Kingston, Ont., responsible for providing the Army with integral tactical aviation support. He has led as Chief of Staff, Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM) and, most recently, as Deputy Commander of CEFCOM.
1 Canadian Air Division / Canadian NORAD Region Headquarters serves as the central point of command and control for Canada's Air Force operations and it oversees the monitoring of Canada's airspace in support of our commitments to NORAD.
Among the distinguished guests attending this event were the Honourable Philip Lee, Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba; the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety; Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Commander North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command; Lieutenant-General Marc Lessard, Commander Canadian Expeditionary Force Command; and Lieutenant-General Walter Semianiw, Commander Canada Command.