Royal Canadian Air Force Ball

June 1, 2024

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I am so pleased to be here with you to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

I, too, want to acknowledge that we are gathered on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe people.

This land acknowledgement is part of the full history of Canada. That history includes Indigenous stories and voices. It includes Indigenous peoples who have served, and are serving, in the R.C.A.F. and in the Canadian Armed Forces. They, along with so many others, are making their mark.

Tonight, we come together not only to honour the past, but also to recognize the remarkable achievements of those who currently serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

For a century, members of the R.C.A.F. have demonstrated dedication, professionalism and commitment to our country. You have also been an integral part of our history. From the daring pilots and aircrew of the First and Second World Wars … through deployments to the Persian Gulf; Aviano, Italy; and Afghanistan … to those supporting our communities here at home—every member over the last century has proudly served our nation. The scope of all of the accomplishments are too numerous to mention, but aren’t limited to planes and helicopters and those who fly them. The R.C.A.F. needs a strong team of people on the ground to be successful. You all play an essential role in support of missions and squadrons.

As the challenges of the world evolve, so too must our capabilities. The members of the Air Force have always met these challenges head on.

Over the years, we have witnessed our Air Force adapt and show resilience. From the early days of biplanes to the aircraft we have today, the Air Force has been at the forefront of technological advancements and operational excellence.

Members of the R.C.A.F. have shown a willingness to embrace new ideas. But new ideas do not come from innovation alone. They also come about when we listen to others, share different perspectives and embrace diversity. This diversity means greater flexibility and strength within the ranks of our air force.

What unites past and present members of the R.C.A.F.—what unites all of you—is loyalty, integrity, courage and excellence. We have seen this consistently over the past 100 years. You have been there for us, and you have been there for each other.

As commander-in-chief, I’m proud to learn your stories and to share them with Canadians. These examples of dedication, selflessness, and professionalism that we heard tonight in the stories of General Rohmer, Colonel Pirie and Warrant Officer Moyes are but only a few of the best of the R.C.A.F.

Your achievements, however, are not yours alone. Tonight, you are joined by your families and loved ones, who play a vital role within the R.C.A.F.

They are the ones who are offering support at home, allowing you to aim for greater heights. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.

I ask that you join me in applauding their resilience, support and understanding.

As you celebrate, I hope you will take a moment to look around at the great company you keep. Thank you for being the light in the darkness, for representing us abroad and for keeping us safe here at home.

On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to congratulate everyone marking this 100th anniversary milestone.

I would now like to recognize another important milestone. On May 6th, 2023, Canadians celebrated the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles the Third. The first Coronation of a Canadian Sovereign in seven decades. To mark this occasion, it is my sincere privilege, on behalf of His Majesty, to award a Coronation medal to General Richard Rohmer, with gratitude for his lifetime of dedication and commitment to Canada. 

General Rohmer, on behalf of Canada, thank you.