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The Tribute

                       Number 6

Fall/Winter 2012

 Air Force Museum Society Receives NORAD Trophy

 The 2012 Air Force Association of Canada NORAD Trophy in honour of those who guard what we value most – our loved ones, our liberties and our peace, was awarded to the Air Force Museum Society of Alberta. "The museum’s vision has grown…to planning and developing an exciting, people-friendly museum that honours those who have served and currently serve in Canada’s Air Force. The addition to the Military Museums complex creates an outstanding opportunity for visitors to view the Air Force story and to gain an understanding of the tri-service nature of Canada’s military forces, past and present." Colonel (ret’d) Don Matthews, chairman of the board of directors of the Air Force Museum Society, accepted the award. 


  LGen Blondin (left) and Col (ret’d) Chester (right) present the NORAD Trophy to Col (ret’d) Don Matthews of the Air Museum Society of Alberta.

The 2012 Air Force Association awards program included the following writeup: " The AFMSA is a fairly recent and impressive group of Canadians. What is interesting to note is the fact that the majority are also members of the RCAF Association. Indeed the seed money for the original legal fees and preliminary plans was provided by 783 (Calgary) Wing. The wing and its members continue to support the project including the funding of one of the two feature theatres in the gallery - the WWII Nissan Hut. Our RCAFA members can be found there daily tending to the small and large tasks that present themselves as well as conducting the majority of the tours. The museum's vision has grown from a group, again mostly association members sitting around a conference table sharing ideas, to planning and developing an exciting, people friendly museum that honours those who have served and currently serve in Canada's Air Force. As a result, the addition of the 25,000 sq. ft. Air Force Museum to the Military Museums complex creates an outstanding oppoprtunity for visitors to view the Air Force story and to gain an understanding of the tri-service nature of Canada's Military Forces past and present. The AFMSA team had to work with an existing museum complex which has four existing regimental museums as well as an overall governing body, an existing naval museum planning on relocating to the complex and a litany of governmental players at all levels in a facility and on land administered by Canada Lands and the Canadian Forces. In addition to achieving a diplomatic balance to the challenges of those diverse groups, the team had to work on fund raising for its portion of the work as well as contribute to the fund raising efforts required to expand the existing facility. Input was also required to meet the contractual demands of the project and liaising with the architects, engineers, planners, museum consultants, contractors and inspectors became part of the job description".

Museum Society Members Recieve Jubilee Medal

Gerry Morrison, past chairman of the Air Force Museum Society board, and one of the founding father's of The Air Force Museum, was presented with the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal on 09 October 2012. The ceremony took place at the Red and White Club with 180 recipients attending.Gerry's medal was presented by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, His Honour Colonel (Ret'd) Don Ethel,in the presence of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Member of Parliament Blake Richards . Congratulations to Gerry on this much deserved award.

Left to Right -Lieutenant Governor Ethel, Prime Minister Harper, Col(Ret'd) Morrison, Member Of Parliament Richards


A second member of the Air Force Museum Society Board, Michael Ricketts, was presented with the much deserved Queen Elisabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal at the same ceremony for preservation of heritage landscapes in his community. The medal was presented by the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, His Honour Colonel (Ret'd) Don Ethel, in the presence of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel.

Left to Right - Lieutenant Governor Ethel, Prime Minister Harper, Michael Ricketts, Member Of Parliament Rempel 


Contributed by Gerry Morrison

A number of changes have been necessary in the Air Force Museum’s exhibit plan for the next few months which made me consider heading this report “LOOKING BACK”. After thinking about it for some time I realized that although we have had some disruption to our plans we are still moving forward. The Chairman’s report has outlined the exciting new approach we are taking to house the CF-18 Hornet and CF-104 Starfighter. Our initial plan had to be terminated after a DND consultant’s findings indicated an escalation of the cost beyond our ability to raise the funds to complete the project.

In addition to this we have had to revise the completion date of the Lancaster Bomb Bay project until late November or early December. We had hoped to have it finished by November 11th however failure of the contractor to meet his deadline for completion forced us to accept the new timing. Once completed and lighted I am sure this exhibit will become a major component of the #6 Group RCAF, Bomber Command display.

On a positive note the Air Transport Command exhibit was open on November 11th and  tells the story of air transport operations from WW2 to the present. It is located in the rear section of the Hercules theatre. Look for it on your next visit to the museum.

Finally, we are still planning to open a touch screen presentation in 2013 about RCAF Squadrons that served overseas in WW2.

As always we once again learned that it is not all doom and
gloom, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.









AFMSA Chairman's Report - Nov 2012

Contributed by Don Matthews

What an exciting place to volunteer - what a great team to work with. I am reflecting on the TMM Gala last night at the Stampede Centre. So
many people from so many walks of life gathered for a common cause: the continued success of The Military Museums - of which we at the Air Force Museum of Alberta are an integral and proud part. When you hear our Premier, The Lieutenant Governor, our sponsors and leadership speaking so eloquently on the important role we play in the cultural fabric of Alberta it adds even more impetus to excel. Excel at opening a window for our fellow Canadians to see-  through the lens of our exhibits - the wonderful examples of RCAF service to nation and personal sacrifice for others. We now want to take those examples to a new frontier.

 I would like to talk about our upcoming display on the Cold War. As many of you know the Museum has acquired a CF-104 and a CF-18. Now the challenge is to tell the stories of the people who supported, maintained, armed and flew these aircraft in the Cold War. 
The Cold War ended 21 years ago. There are a thousand corporate and personal stories that need to be told. The stories and the men and women of the RCAF that lived them have helped shape our national identity. Canadians want to hear those stories.

 We came up with the idea of creating shelters for the aircraft that portray the hardened aircraft shelters (HAS) in which our aircraft were protected in NATO Europe. The concrete bunkers that housed our aircraft are some of the strongest and most poignant symbols of military preparedness in the face of a nuclear Armageddon.

 All of our personnel in Europe were trained to conduct full combat operations in the stark world of chemical weapons and nuclear fallout.  In this surreal world of chemical warfare suits, gas masks, over pressured bunkers and wailing air raid sirens the RCAF showed itself a leader in preparing and executing the most difficult military operations imaginable.  The threat of a  war in which we could be subjected to attack by chemical weapons and required to carry on while nuclear fallout rained down on our bases had to be trained for. This story is little known outside of those who served in Europe and it is a story whose time has come. How you  ask? Standby for the next newsletter. Planning is well underway. Detailed drawings are being prepared and fund raising has started. If you want to join this team by becoming a member or donating to the exhibit just visit our website.  
www.rcaf.museum Membership top of page, donations bottom of page

Looking forward to having you on the Air Force Team

And don't forget to check out our amazing Face book page.  

The Directors & Staff

Matthews, Don - Chairman of the Board of Directors

Gerwing, Michelle - Secretary

Morrison, Gerry - Past Chairman & Exhibit Chairman

Nixon, Kenn - Casino

Powell, Jim - Treasurer.

McGillivray, Ed - Vice Chairman & Fund Raising .

Mercer, Alison - Curator
Tel: 403-249-8818

Watson, Gary - Video Displays

Dhillon, Vlad - Public Relations

Todd, Gordon - Membership 
& Newsletter Editor

 Ricketts, Michael - Director at large 

Norrie, Don - Resercher

The Lighter Side

Controller: Air Canada 353 contact Toronto Center 135.60. (pause)

Controller: 'Air Canada 353 contact Toronto Center 135.60!' (pause)

Controller: 'Air Canada 353 you're just like my wife you never listen!'

Pilot: 'Center, this is Air Canada 553, maybe if you called her by the right name you'd get a better response!'

Air Force Museum Hostess Edith McMinn took Premier Redford under her wing during November 11th Remembrance Day ceremonies at The Military Museums. In Edith's words " I had a pleasant chat with her, served her coffee and presented her to our Veterans and Volunteers. It was a most enjoyable meeting"

Edith McMinn and Premier Redford 


 From our archives - Bringing back "fond" memories of posting season.

Notice to All : The Fourth Annual Air Force Museum Society Golf Tournament will be held on 21 August 2013 at Silver Wing Links Golf Course. Please keep the date open and plan to participate . More details will follow early in the new year.