By Capt. Ken Jacobson, Canadian NORAD Region Public Affairs
1 Canadian Air Division
(From left) Incoming 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region Commander Major-General Eric Kenny, Royal Canadian Air Force Commander Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger, and outgoing 1 CAD/CANR Commander Lieutenant-General Alain Pelletier prepare to sign 1 CAD Change of Command scrolls during a ceremony at 17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba, July 6, 2020.
Royal Canadian Air Force Commander Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger addresses parade spectators and virtual attendees during the 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command Region change of command ceremony in Winnipeg, Manitoba July 7.
The change of command ceremony for 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command Region -- held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, July 6 and streamed live on Royal Canadian Air Force social media -- saw Major-General Eric Kenny succeed Lieutenant-General Alain Pelletier as the new Commander of 1 CAD/CANR, Joint Force Air Component Commander, and Trenton Search and Rescue Region.
“The 1 CAD team has made tremendous strides under the leadership of Lt.-Gen. Pelletier thanks to his people-focused leadership, all the while steadfastly remaining committed to fulfilling the mission of force generating, and employing the full spectrum of integrated RCAF airpower at home and abroad,” noted Lieutenant-General Meinzinger, Commander Royal Canadian Air Force as he addressed the spectators and virtual attendees. “[Major-General Kenny] I know firsthand the outstanding qualities that you bring to this post; tremendous skill, professionalism and outstanding operation experience. Your calm, steady and unflappable personality will be a source of strength for your team and I know you'll lead with great impact to move 1 CAD/CANR forward.”
Lieutenant-General Pelletier has commanded 1 CAD/CANR since May 16, 2019, and moves this summer to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he will take over as NORAD deputy commander.
Attending the ceremony virtually from Colorado Springs, Colorado, Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, NORAD and U.S. Northern Command commander, congratulated Lieutenant-General Pelletier for his exceptional work at 1 CAD.
“’Data’ [Lieutenant-General Pelletier] you've been remarkable at accepting this challenging mission and performing well beyond expectations and two grateful nations applaud your tireless efforts to ensure our sacred homelands are defended," O'Shaughnessy said. "You exude teamwork and cooperation. You represent the best of the strong bonds between Canada and the United States that have been forged since the beginning of NORAD, and our partnership has been strengthened. Thank you for always modelling what right looks like. I could not be more pleased to have you join us in Colorado.”
In an emotional address, Lieutenant-General Pelletier spoke to the audience about his last thirteen months as commander. “Together, we have accomplished great things, at the same time we have worked through unprecedented times - a period accompanied by uncertainty, and unfortunately ... tragedy, yet again, through adversity, you stood strong. You came together. You looked after one another. Grieving alongside our families and friends, alongside communities and with all Canadians. But through it all, you remained steadfast and committed. You have empowered us all to keep up the momentum towards mission success. I'm truly proud as your commander, inspired as your colleague, and heartened as an aviator.”
Incoming Commander, Major-General Kenny, is an operationally experienced CF-18 pilot. He has deployed to Aviano, Italy twice where he took part in combat missions in support of Operation Echo. He also deployed to Bosnia, Kosovo, in support of Operation Allied Force, and served as the Deputy Director of the Air Operations Control Centre at the International Security Assistance Force Headquarters in Afghanistan.
Major-General Kenny’s deployed command tours include: Task Force Commander for Operation Ignition in Iceland; Detachment Commander of the CF-18 Hornet, CC-130 Hercules, and CC-150 Polaris aircraft in Trapani, Italy, and Air Component Commander in Poggio Renatico, Italy, during Operation Mobile in Libya. He also commanded the first rotation of Air Task Force–Iraq under Operation Impact in Iraq and Syria. Major-General Kenny comes to 1 CAD/CANR following a tour as the Director General Air Readiness at the Royal Canadian Air Force Headquarters in Ottawa.
In his new role as Commander of 1 CAD/CANR, Canadian Forces JFACC, and Trenton Search and Rescue Region, Major-General Kenny will be responsible to employ RCAF air assets in support of domestic and international commitments of the Government of Canada; identifying and tracking all aircraft entering Canadian airspace; and employing search and rescue resources covering an area stretching from the shore of Lake Ontario east to Quebec City and west to the Alberta-British Columbia border, and from the Canada-United States border to the North Pole.
Accepting his new position, Major-General Kenny shared a glimpse into what he envisions for his upcoming tour as commander;
“You all have my word that'll put my heart and soul into each mission ensuring that we meet our mandate, we secure our future, and just as importantly, ensuring that our members and their families are taken care of.”
In his parting words to Major-General Kenny, outgoing Commander Lieutenant-General Pelletier made reference to their time together as CF-18 pilots as he formally passed the torch.
“I look forward to continuing to work with you and the members of 1 Canadian Division and Canadian NORAD Region in my new role as the NORAD deputy commander," Pelletier said. "As we both know from our memorable time in the Hornet, I now formally pass command of this incredible formation to you by saying: you have the lead.”