By TSgt. Devin Fisher
NORAD and USNORTHCOM public affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Canadian Forces Lt. Gen. Eric A. "Rick" Findley assumed duties as Deputy Commander in Chief, North American Aerospace Defense Command today during a change of office ceremony at the Peterson Air Force Base Officers Club.
Findley succeeds Canadian Forces Lt. Gen. Ken R. Pennie who is moving on to become Chief of Air Staff in Ottawa.
Gen. Ralph E. "Ed" Eberhart, NORAD Commander in Chief and Commander, U.S. Northern Command, officiated the ceremony that "...passes the responsibility and authority from one demonstrated leader to another."
Eberhart noted the two Canadian officers have been at the heart of NORAD, helping lead it into a post 9/11 world. While Pennie was instrumental in establishing air patrols, key infrastructure and integrated air defense in response to the Sept. 11 attacks, Findley was leading operations from the Cheyenne Mountain Command Center.
(Left to right) Gen. Ralph E. "Ed" Eberhart, NORAD Commander in Chief and Commander, U.S. Northern Command; Canadian Lt. Gen. Ken R. Pennie and Canadian Lt. Gen. Eric "Rick" Findley prepare to sign the change of office certificates officially handing the NORAD Deputy Commander in Chief reigns from Pennie over to Findley while Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Estrem, NORAD Command Chief Master Sergeant and Canadian Chief Warrant Officer Maurice "Skip" Sacco, senior Canadian noncommissioned member look on. (Photo by SSgt. Larry Holmes)
Saying it was a special day with mixed emotions, Eberhart bid farewell to Pennie and welcomed Findley to his new post.
"The leadership of this great airman assured success," Eberhart said of Pennie. "There is no better testimony of how he has done than the fact he's been selected to be the 30th Chief of Air Staff. The Canadian Air Force couldn't be in better hands."
Pennie thanked the NORAD team for the work they do "day in and day out" to support the organization's vital mission of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America.
"I'm lucky, privileged and honored to get such an opportunity," Pennie said recognizing the important role the people who make up NORAD played in his selection as the next Chief of Air Staff.
Noting the NORAD Deputy Commander in Chief is selected carefully, Eberhart said of Findley, "We've made the right choice at the right time."
Noting Pennie had set the stage and assembled the cast, Findley assured those in attendance he was ready to face the challenges that lie ahead.
"When I arrived here I had no idea the globe would shatter on 9/11," Findley told the more than 200 Canadian and American NORAD members and well-wishers in attendance. "But NORAD has a great team and I'm standing here today (as the DCINC) because of your hard work."
Trained as a pilot, Findley's resume includes staff officer in the Directorate of Peacekeeping Operations Centre and executive assistant to the Deputy Chief of Defence at National Defence Headquarters; Chief of Staff for Personnel, Training and Reserves at Air Command Headquarters and 1 Canadian Air Division; Chief of Staff for Operations at 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region, and most recently as the Director of Operations at NORAD.
Findley's awards and decorations include Commander in the Order of Military Merit, Meritorious Service Cross for action taken in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Special Service Medal for duty in NATO, Peacekeeping Medals from United Nations missions in Central America and Haiti, the Canadian Peacekeeping Medal and the Canadian Decoration.