By Major Jennifer Stadnyk, NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs
The Air and Space Museum at Peterson Air Force Base
in Colorado Springs prides itself on being one of only 12 U.S. Air Force field museums,
and Colorado’s oldest aviation museum. Located at the historic site of the
original airport passenger terminal for the City of Colorado Springs, the
museum boasts exhibits and aircraft telling the story of North American air
defense. Featured aircraft on display include first generation USAF fighter
interceptors, radar warning aircraft and two Canadian aircraft. However, one piece of North American defense
aviation history has been missing from the museum. Until now.
Today, a third Canadian aircraft was unveiled at the
museum’s airpark: a CF-188A Hornet (tail number 188723). The fighter jet was donated by the Government
of Canada to the USAF Heritage Program as a gesture of appreciation for the
U.S. and Canada’s longstanding and continued partnership through the North
American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
“We are very excited to receive the Hornet as part
of the Peterson Air and Space Museum collection,” said Gail Whalen, museum
director. “It will help us share the
joint U.S. and Canadian heritage and traditions that keep alive the stories of
our military servicemen and women for all generations.”
The donation concept did not happen overnight. In 2013, then-NORAD Deputy Commanders General
(ret) Tom Lawson and Lieutenant-General Alain Parent discussed the lack of
modern NORAD aviation representation at the museum. They both agreed that the museum would
benefit from displaying a decommissioned CF-188, the aircraft that has been
used by Canada since 1984 to conduct NORAD’s missions. Three years later, their
vision was finally realized.
ceremony was attended by the local military and civilian community, and hosted
by the 21st Space Wing Commander, Col Douglas Schiess, with the
NORAD Deputy Commander, Lt.-Gen Pierre St-Amand invited as the distinguished
guest of honor.
told the audience that the displayed aircraft symbolize a ‘walk through time’
and that the modern multirole fighter is now represented with the permanent addition
of the Hornet to the collection.
St-Amand, who has more than 2,700 hours
flying the Hornet and flew the donated jet operationally, called it an “old
friend” and while it makes him sad to see such a fine jet retired, he agreed
that the Peterson Air and Space museum is the most appropriate place for it to be
“This aircraft will stand as a symbol of
our combined prosperity and a monument to the continued cooperation between
Canada and the U.S.,” St-Amand said.