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Commemorating Edmonton’s Proud Military History

Posted On: 09/16/2015

Edmonton’s Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) heritage goes back to World War I, where men like Wop May, Stan McMillan, and Punch Dickens honed their flying skills, going on to become notable bush pilots in the 1920s and 1930s. It’s through their training that Edmonton established itself as the “Gateway to the North” and Blatchford Field became a major base for operations.

Through World War II, Edmonton’s 418 was the top scoring RCAF Squadron, and our Airport was the busiest in the world, taking a preeminent role as a support base for the transfer of fighters, transports, and bombers to the Soviet Union. After the war, until 1994, RCAF Station Namao was a major support base for Arctic operations, including search and rescue as well as worldwide operations and tactical support for the army and NATO operations.

On September 20th, the Griesbach RCAF Commemorative Society will dedicate a monument honouring these historic links between Edmonton and Canada's Air Force. The Ad Astra tells the story of Edmonton’s strong contribution to Canada’s Air Force history. As well on Sunday, eight streets in the former Griesbach military sight, current home of a residential community, The Village at Griesbach, will be named for Albertan military aviators who helped contribute to this history.

We are proud to honour the achievements of:

  • Lieutenant-General Don Laubman
  • Flight Lieutenant Robert Morgan
  • Wing Commander Russell Bannock
  • Lieutenant-General William Carr
  • Brigadier-General Keith Greenaway
  • Flight Lieutenant Johnnie Caine
  • Brigadier-General Bill Newson
  • Group Captain Joe Shultz

You are invited to this momentous occasion on Sunday, September 20th, at 1 pm. The commemorative park is located at McCrae Avenue, just off Castle Downs Road N.W. The event will feature a Guard of Honour from 408 (Tactical Helicopter) Squadron, Air Cadets from the Edmonton Region and the Royal Canadian Artillery Band. A flypast of Griffon Helicopters, Hercules aircraft, and CF-18's is also planned. Veterans from the nearby Kipnes Centre are being invited to take part.