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Dawn Patrol 2017

Updated: Jan 11

Dawn Patrol Report 2017

by Roddy MacKenzie - Associate Member Remembrance Day 2017: Royal Canadian Air Force Officers' Association's Dawn Patrol Remembrance Day 2017 for me was an early start, especially after hospitality the previous evening aboard HMCS VANCOUVER which included "Moose Milk". My day began with the Royal Canadian Air Force Officers' Ass'n Dawn Patrol. It's a moving, educational reverent remembrance of those who gave their lives for Canada in the RCAF. This year Dawn Patrol was in Stanley Park. It began with Assembly, followed by Call to Order, and then our President's Message. We're fortunate our President is RCAF LCol (ret) Mike Matthews. Mike's the latest in a long line of distinguished Presidents going back to 1936. These include in 1945-46 Ralph Campney, in whose law firm Campney & Murphy I began my legal career here in British Columbia. Next our Padre and Immediate Past President Wes Bowers led us in a poignant Special Grace. Wes while President is the one who brought me into Air Force Officers' Ass'n membership. Then came an RCAF favourite pastime -- breakfast! That's because, especially in WWII, so many dangerous missions were at night. Those who weren't killed dreamed of breakfast as they flew back to their Base. Afterwards, we stood for our Toast to the Queen of Canada, Her Majesty Elizabeth II. That was followed by a Poem to the dead and then solemn mention of those members who've died since our last Dawn Patrol. The atmosphere was lightened by talented singer Linda Jones. Attired in a risqué RCAF uniform, she enthusiastically sang many songs dear to RCAF veterans. In my attached photo, our President Mike Matthews and our Secretary Jerry Vernon are holding the Canadian flag while Linda sings "They All Call It Canada", the chorus of which is: "My country is my cathedral The northern sky its dome They all call it Canada But I call it home!" Linda was born in Vancouver. Linda's entertainment took us to 11 am, at the exact moment of which we had our two-minutes of silence to remember. Afterwards, we had a raffle. I never win, so they had to call my ticket number three times before I realized I had a winning ticket. When you win, you can choose whatever you want from all the prizes still there. I was one of the earliest winners. I passed over all the appealing gift certificates, an excellent array of fine beverages and other great prizes because I wanted Dick Dunn's book "A Journal of Journeys". At my request, Dick happily wrote in and then signed and dated my copy. A former RCAF fighter pilot at the height of the Cold War, Dick was our President 2009-11. He and our Secretary Jerry Vernon are two of our hardest working members. A highlight for me today was being seated between Wes Bowers and his wife Gail at the same table as RCAF Wing Commander (ret) Bud White and his wife Lee. Bud was our President 2012-13. Some of you will recall a major moment in Canada's super successful 1967 Centennial Year when the Canadian Aircraft Altitude Record was set. It still stands today. This feat was the RCAF Centennial Project, and Bud is the RCAF test pilot who set this still standing record. On 14 Dec 1967, Bud flew a Canadian aircraft higher than anyone before or since. Bud somehow got one of our CF-104 Starfighters up to an astonishing altitude of 100,110 feet [30,515 metres]! In addition, Bud flew that Starfighter at an airspeed of 1,800 mph [2,900 kph]! That was the fastest any Canadian plane had ever been flown. Bud was also a whiz at hockey. He played for the RCAF and thereafter briefly professionally. You can see from my attached smartphone photos what lovely couples the Whites and the Bowers are. The RCAF has produced many extraordinary Canadians, including our new Governor General Julie Payette. She proudly wore an RCAF uniform at this weekend's National Remembrance Day Service in Ottawa. Her Excellency logged in more than 1,300 hours flight time with the RCAF, including 600 hours flying high performance jets. There's much more to be said, but I must stop. Attached are my smartphone photos. Lest We Forget! Yours faithfully,



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