In a ceremony officiated by General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff in Ottawa today, Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger officially took over command of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
LGen Meinzinger is replacing the previous Commander of the RCAF, LGen Mike Hood, who retired from service.
“I want to thank LGen Hood for his outstanding leadership throughout a truly distinguished career,” General Vance said. “Earning command takes years of hard work and dedication, and that same work ethic has been apparent during his tenure. LGen Hood’s efforts have positioned the RCAF to meet the operational challenges we will face for years to come.”
He went on to add that he is confident that same level of excellence will continue throughout LGen Meinzinger’s term. “I am equally confident that LGen Meinzinger will command the RCAF with skill and dedication in the years to come,” he said.
LGen Meinzinger started his career in the Canadian Armed Forces back in 1985. In 2006, he assumed command of 403 Helicopter Operational Training Squadron. He was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2011 to command Canada’s Joint Task Force-Afghanistan Air Wing, overseeing the final phase of Air Wing support to combat operations. In July 2013, he took command of Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. Upon promotion to Major-General in May 2015, he was appointed Deputy Commander, Royal Canadian Air Force. In March 2017, he was appointed as Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff. On April 20, 2018, he was promoted to Lieutenant-General.
“I am deeply honoured to accept command of the RCAF from LGen Hood, who has led the RCAF and served his country with passion, commitment and vision,” the new commander said. “I am privileged and proud to lead the members of this distinguished national institution. I assume this command with the knowledge, however, that we have much work left to do and that, as we move forward, ‘People, Policy, Program and Posture’ will be our anchor points.”
The RCAF comprises of about 12,000 Regular Force personnel and 2,100 Air Reserve personnel. Some 1,500 civilian public servants are also employed within the RCAF organization.