Month: March 2019

Face to face: Is the Spitfire the most elegant aircraft ever built?
Face to Face

Face to face: Is the Spitfire the most elegant aircraft ever built?

Elegance, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and highly subjective. One could ask the same question about scotch, wine or cars. And superlatives are dangerously inflexible words: terms like ‘most,’ ‘always’ and ‘forever’ should be avoided (especially in matters of the heart). Moreover, pilots (like sailors) are notoriously romantic; why else are ships and aircraft referred to as ‘she’? The Spitfire was undoubtedly an attractive aircraft, especially before its wings were mutilated by 20-millimetre cannon and its wingtips shortened and squared off in the low-altitude versions. Yet was it the “most” of anything? It was certainly not the most comfortable. Many pilots, having flown in the cramped quarters of a Spitfire, expressed delight at the roominess of American fighter aircraft....
Women to support women on gruelling Arctic trek
Front Lines

Women to support women on gruelling Arctic trek

As vice-president of training, learning and development at Mackenzie Investments, Libby McCready spends her days in meetings, on the phone, corralling e-mails and delivering presentations. If all goes as planned, in a month’s time she will be completing a 100-kilometre trek across Baffin Island in Nunavut with 24 other women, seven of them currently serving in Canada’s military. Four guides, two Inuit, a military doctor and a photographer will complete the lineup. The expedition aims to raise $1 million for women’s programs supported by True Patriot Love, a charity devoted to bridging gaps in government funding for serving military, veterans and their families as well as backing related health research. The 58-year-old executive is the oldest of 12 business mentors on the we...
Canadian peacekeepers arrive in Cyprus
Military Milestones

Canadian peacekeepers arrive in Cyprus

The RCAF began delivering troops and supplies for the Canadian contingent of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Cyprus on March 13, 1964. No one expected the Canadian mission would end 29 years later, or that Canada would continue to have a presence on the Mediterranean island to this day. Trouble started almost immediately after Cyprus gained its independence from Britain in 1959. Both Greek and Turkish Cypriots wanted to unite with their mother countries. Civil war broke out in 1963, and Greece and Turkey both threatened to intervene to protect their ethnic communities. Canadian troops were part of the UN peacekeeping force enforcing the ceasefire. Tensions continued even after the island was split into Turkish and Greek republics, with a UN-maintained buffer zone between...
Long-term beds open up to more veterans
Health

Long-term beds open up to more veterans

Veterans Affairs Canada has widened eligibility for long-term care beds. Where once there were long wait lists for VAC contract beds, there are now vacancies due to the decline in number of Second World War and Korean War veterans. VAC has entered into agreements with 10 long-term care facilities, former veterans’ hospitals across the country, widening eligibility in many cases to low-income Second World War veterans who served at least one year in Canada, Canadian Armed Forces veterans and Allied veterans. “This decision moves beds that are being underused into a category that will increase access for more veterans, while still keeping a proportional number available for Second World War and Korean veterans,” said then-Minister of Veterans Affairs Seamus O’Regan, following the anno...
Vintage warbirds
Air Force

Vintage warbirds

At their most essential, they are wooden or tubular alloy skeletons wrapped in paper-thin fabric or sheet-metal skins—riveted tin cans powered by internal combustion engines, driven by propellers and flown on a wing and a prayer. Belching fire and smoke, coughing and kicking as if in protest at being awakened from slumber, they come to life. Tentatively at first, they rise, shaking their earthly bonds with growing assuredness to finally sing and soar and dance like divas among the clouds. Few machines churn conflicting emotions like Second World War aircraft. They are, after all, instruments of death and destruction: Warbirds. Yet they inspire great nostalgia, tenderness and sentimentality among the veterans who flew them as well as the generations raised on the stories they told....
The golden days of peacekeeping have not returned
Eye On Defence

The golden days of peacekeeping have not returned

The Canadian contribution to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) officially began on Aug. 1, 2018. The mission consists of three Chinook helicopters equipped for medical evacuation as well as transport missions, five Griffon helicopters to fly escort for the bigger Chinooks and about 250 personnel to fly missions, provide ground support, and generally to guard the helicopters between missions. Last fall, Ottawa announced that there would be no extension to the mission, which is scheduled to end in July. Thus, Canada will have completed its first UN peacekeeping mission of any substance for a long time. The days are long gone when Canada had a substantial presence in UN peacekeeping operations. Many younger Canadians—too young to rememb...

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