An early pioneer of the post-Second World War Royal Canadian Air Force has passed away at the age of 81. Lieutenant-General Allan MacKenzie served as the second commander of Air Command, headquartered in Winnipeg, Man. Air Command was responsible for Canadian air power at home and abroad from 1975 until 2011, when the name Royal Canadian Air Force was restored.
LGen MacKenzie was born in Jamaica in 1931 and joined the RCAF in 1950 after coming to Canada. After completing his pilot training, he began flying with 412 Transport Squadron as a flying officer at Canadian Forces Base Rockcliffe, Ont.
LGen MacKenzie advanced through the ranks, serving in a variety of flying and staff appointments within the RCAF. During his career he commanded a squadron, a base and Maritime Air Group, one of the groups within Air Command. In 1978, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general and appointed Commander of Air Command.
In 1980, LGen MacKenzie resigned from the Air Force and subsequently became executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Gendis Inc. In 1989, he was promoted to president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and in 1999 to president and CEO.
He served on the board of directors for Sony of Canada Ltd. and was a member of the regional advisory board for Carleton University, located in Ottawa. LGen MacKenzie was also a Governor of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires and an advisor to the Association of Canadian Police Chiefs. He was decorated a commander of the Order of Military Merit, an Officer of the Order St. John’s, and received the Canadian Forces Decoration. He was also a Knight of the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem. As well, he was a member of the Manitoba Club and the Royal Military Institute of Manitoba.
LGen MacKenzie was appointed the honorary chairman of the Manitoba provincial committee of the Air Cadet League of Canada in 2010. He is survived by his wife Valerie Ann Marchand and his two children, Michael and Barbara and six grandchildren.
About Air Command
Air Command consolidated aviation functions, unified all air resources, regular and reserve, and coordinated their employment and deployment. Air Command established a clear-cut identity and served as a focal point for airmen and airwomen in the Canadian Forces in the same way that sailors and soldiers related to Maritime and Mobile (subsequently Land Forcer) Commands. It exercised jurisdiction over air doctrine, flight safety and common air policy matters such as training standards for all air units in the forces.
The groups that made up Air Command were:
- Maritime Air Group (MAG), Halifax, N.S.
- Air Transport Group (ATG), Trenton, Ont.
- Fighter Group (FG), North Bay, Ont.
- 1 Canadian Air Group, Baden-Soellingen, West Germany
- Air Reserve Group (ARG), Winnipeg, Man.
- 10 Tactical Air Group (10 TAG), St Hubert, Que.
Operational control of aircraft assigned to 10 TAG and MAG remained with the commanders of Mobile (the Army) and Maritime (the Navy) Commands respectively.