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News | July 13, 2011

New commander for Canadian NORAD Region

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs

WINNIPEG - Senior military officers from Canada and the U.S. converged in Winnipeg as Canadian Forces Major-General Alain Parent assumed command of 1 Canadian Air Division and the Canadian NORAD Region (CANR) from Canadian Forces Major-General Yvan Blondin on July 13. 

Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld, Commander of NORAD and USNORTHCOM, was on hand to preside of the CANR change of command. In his address, he paid special compliments to Blondin and to the men and women of CANR, “Under your command, CANR played a fundamental role in supporting security operations for numerous important events to include the Vancouver Winter Olympics and the G8 and G20 summits.”

“My time commanding 1 Canadian Air Division and the Canadian NORAD Region has been unforgettable,” said 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.”

The NORAD mission is familiar territory for the new CANR commander. Parent has served at NORAD HQ as the Missile Warning Crew Commander and International Military-Political Affairs Officer in the J5 (Plans) staff. He also served as A3 Plans and Air Operations Centre Director at 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region Headquarters. He now returns to Winnipeg to command Air Fore operations.

“With your knowledge and expertise, you are uniquely qualified to lead CANR,” said Winnefeld, expressing his confidence in CANR’s new commander. “This is a sacred trust; I am supremely confident that you will be successful in this important mission.”

“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 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, Parent has 32 years of leadership experience. He has commanded 403 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, CFB Gagetown, NB, 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.

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.

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.