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New aircrew badge announcement made at 22 Wing North Bay

Eye In The Sky

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The Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) unveiled the new Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircrew badge (‘wings’) at North Bay’s 22 Wing/Canadian Air Defence Sector on Friday, October 23.

The badge was converted from the current upswept flight crew specialty badge to the more appropriate out-stretched full wing Aircrew Flying badge and will be worn by AWACS qualified Aerospace Controllers (AECs) and Aerospace Control Operators (AC Ops). The timing of this ceremony was fitting given that October 2020 marks the 80th anniversary of air defence operations in the RCAF.

When the AWACS positions were established in 1974, it was assumed that AECs and AC Ops in those positions did not directly contribute to the safe operation of the aircraft, which would justify an upswept wing-style aircrew flying badge. In addition, it was assumed they would only fly occasionally. Our understanding of their responsibilities has changed.

“As the RCAF has developed into an air power, we have come to realize that the extent of duties being performed by these aviators far exceeds those laid out or foreseen almost fifty years ago,” said Lieutenant-General Al Meinzinger, Commander RCAF. “Many current personnel have more than 1000 flying hours, and have participated in multiple combat operations. We want to recognize their airborne operational aircrew responsibilities to conduct global AWACS operations in a 5th generation combat environment. This badge allows us to do that.”

The new badge recognizes the demanding training, arduous qualifications, and extensive responsibilities needed to maintain Combat Mission Ready status. They are integral members of E-3 aircrew, with a wide range of duties and responsibilities that include tactical employment of the aircraft, aircrew/aircraft safety, threat monitoring and evasion, as well as the execution of emergency procedures to ensure survivability.

Brigadier-General Sean Boyle, Deputy Director General Continental Defence Policy, supports the new badge. “When AECs/AC Ops began flying as E-3 AWACS aircrew in 1974, they were assigned the upswept wing badge. At that time, few realized the significant role these aircrew would play in E-3 aircraft operations (air/ground threat warning, air-to-air refuelling, real-time orbit selection, tactical positioning, on-board fire-fighting, mission planning, etc.), all this in addition to their core functions of airspace control and air battle management.”

He spearheaded the project, noting that his own experience was behind his passion to see the conversion become reality. “When I received my own wings in 1998, I hoped one day to see this oversight corrected. LGen Meinzinger’s announcement highlights the RCAF’s adaptability, innovation, and ability to self-correct, and I am incredibly proud to be part of such an amazing Air Force team. This milestone is the culmination of two years’ work, and I want to sincerely thank the small team of experts who helped me complete this important project – it is indeed a very proud day for our two great occupations!”

This conversion from flight crew specialty to aircrew flying badge has been well received across the RCAF, with its impact being recognized by those serving around the world:

“With a 40+ year flying history at Tinker, AECs and AC Ops have flown side-by-side on the E-3 AWACS with our USAF mission partners, on operations at home and abroad. These personnel are integral to the execution of the mission and as such, the RCAF Commander’s decision is a great recognition of their efforts and myriad hours flown in support of operations.”
LCol Shawn Guilbault - Commanding Officer Canadian Detachment, 552 Air Control Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

“The issuing of aircrew wings is an incredibly momentous milestone that formally acknowledges the important role that to Aerospace Control Officers and Operators hold on the E-3 AWACS, directing air operations toward mission accomplishment. This recognition of the role held by AECs and AC Ops now publicly and ceremoniously denotes the true nature of the significant operational contribution we have made for years.”
LCol Jill Lutz - Commanding Officer Canadian Detachment, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska, USA

“An important point of pride, and excitement, in my life is the ability to serve Canada in such a unique way. While duty and diligence are common to all CAF members, my experiences are unique to a select few. Being recognized for the work we do and the distinct way in which we serve our country is very rewarding!”
Maj Melissa Dupuis - Commanding Officer, Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre Prairies and the North, Calgary, AB

“I was thrilled to hear the fantastic news for the AEC/AC Op community.  This decision has been a long time coming and is a result of the hard work of past and present AECs/AC Ops. This is something our operational community will proudly wear for generations.”
Maj Matthew Galvin - Assistant Director of Operations, NATO AWACS Squadron 1, NATO Air Base, Geilenkirchen, Germany

“As the Air Operations Branch CWO and as someone who proudly wears my AWACS wings, I am exceedingly pleased to see this important initiative has come to fruition. I have always advocated that AC Ops and AECs should be wearing the correct type of wings to reflect our role as aircrew and that we have a direct impact on mission accomplishment and aircraft operations. I look forward to wearing the new wings with pride and will continue to advocate for AC Ops and AECs within the RCAF and CAF.”
CWO Randy Reisch - Air Operations Branch CWO, RCAF Air Staff, NDHQ Carling, Ottawa, ON

“These AWACS wings are a symbol of collective pride and shared resolve. They embody the essence and professionalism of all service members, past and present, who have served under them.”
CWO Marc Corriveau - NCOPD Course Director & Instructor NATO School, Oberammergau, Germany

“A lot of time and effort has been placed into ensuring that the AWACS Wings are delivered to all who served as part of its crew. The effort put towards this agenda captures the appreciation for the nature of the work and sacrifices that the crew aboard AWACS aircraft have made, are making, and will make. The gesture is appreciated and the upgrade will be worn proudly.”

Although not updated, here is the description of the badge for Airborne Warning and Control of the CAF

PS - CFAO 55-10 still says you folks are "only flight crew".    :nod:

:stirpot:
 

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Jarnhamar

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Where can I find the Gender Based Analysis that was done on this design?
 

Quirky

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So that's who's wearing all the flight suits. Supply must be fully stocked now that non-aircrew are wearing them.  :nod:
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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:dunno:

Scratching my head here to try and understand why they included a piece of RCAF tartan on the display table: To show the colours work together, in a fashion way ???
 

kev994

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Oldgateboatdriver said:
:dunno:

Scratching my head here to try and understand why they included a piece of RCAF tartan on the display table: To show the colours work together, in a fashion way ???
I think what you’re seeing is the tablecloth, I think the badges are set on a white piece of paper or something.
 

kev994

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Quirky said:
So that's who's wearing all the flight suits. Supply must be fully stocked now that non-aircrew are wearing them.  :nod:
Does the ‘airborne’ part of AWACS not make them aircrew?
 

edlabonte

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Quirky said:
So that's who's wearing all the flight suits. Supply must be fully stocked now that non-aircrew are wearing them.  :nod:

The term "Aircrew" refers to those with an aircrew medical category.  Aerospace Control trades are aircrew and are subject to the same restrictions that the rest of the flying community like crew rest and alcohol consumption.  It's not like Flight Steward/Attendant or Door Gunner that are manned by non-aircrew trades and have the upswept badge. 
 

brihard

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edlabonte said:
The term "Aircrew" refers to those with an aircrew medical category.  Aerospace Control trades are aircrew and are subject to the same restrictions that the rest of the flying community like crew rest and alcohol consumption.  It's not like Flight Steward/Attendant or Door Gunner that are manned by non-aircrew trades and have the upswept badge.

I think the question is more a matter of 'why do they have flight suits in the absence of flight?', given that this is a piece of kit in short supply.
 

Blackadder1916

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edlabonte said:
The term "Aircrew" refers to those with an aircrew medical category.  . . .

No, it does not.  For the purposes of badges, it's CFAO 55-10 in which they break it down into aircrew, flight crew and specialized flight crew.

FLYING BADGES -- GENERAL

2.    A CF aircrew badge may be awarded to a member of the Regular or
Reserve Force after successful completion of formal CF training or a CF
qualifying course for pilots, navigators, airborne electronic sensor
operators, search and rescue technicians, or flight engineers. A flight
crew badge may be awarded to members for specialized employment within an
occupation requiring active and continuous airborne duties.

AIRCREW BADGES

5.    Pilot Badge. The following CF members are eligible for the award of
the pilot badge: . . .

6.    Navigator Badge. The following CF members are eligible for the award
of the navigator badge: . . .

7.    Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator Badge. Upon successful
qualification to Qualification Level (QL) 5A of Occupational Specification
(OS) 081, a member is eligible for the award of the airborne electronic
sensor operator badge.

8.    Search and Rescue Technician Badge. Upon successful qualification to
QL 5 of OS 131 a member is eligible for the award of the search and rescue
technician badge.

9.    Flight Engineer Badge. A student flight engineer is eligible for the
award of the flight engineer badge on attainment of QL 5A of OS 091 or
training of equivalent standard and successful completion of the flight
engineer course at a designated training unit.

FLIGHT CREW BADGES

10.    A member of the CF Regular and Reserve Force is entitled to the award
of the basic flight crew badge on the basis of occupation or occupational
specialty employment when the member is held on unit strength against an
annotated establishment position requiring active and continuous airborne
duties as follows:

    a.  Occupations

          (1)  Photographic Technician (MOC 541)-- when employed as a member
              of an aircraft crew engaged on continuous flying duties.

          (2)  Weapons Technician (Air) (MOC 571)-- when employed
              continuously on airborne target-towing duties.

          (3)  Integral Systems Technician (MOC 521), Communication &
              Radar Systems Technician (MOC 524), Avionics Technician (MOC
              525), Radio Operator (MOC 211),Radio Technician (MOC 221),
              Communication Technician (MOC 224), and Radar Technician
              (MOC 231)-- when employed as a member of an aircraft crew
              engaged in continuous Airborne Warning and Command System
              (AWACS) or NATO Airborne Early Warning (AEW) duties.

    b.  Occupational Specialities

          (1)  Technical Crewman-- Basic Occupation Specialty Qualification
              (OSQ) Code FA -- Aero Engine Technician (MOC511), Airframe
              Technician (MOC 512), Aviation Technician (MOC 513), and Air
              Reserve Aviation Technician (MOCR513)-- when employed
              continuously in the occupation specialty duties of a
              technical crewman.

          (2)  Flight Attendant (OSQ Code FY)-- a member of any occupation
              when employed continuously in the occupation specialty
              duties of a flight attendant.

          (3)  Flight Steward (OSQ Code FX)-- Cook (MOC 861 ) or Steward
              (MOC 862) when employed continuously in the occupational
              specialty duties of a flight steward .

RETENTION OF FLIGHT CREW BADGES

11.    For permanent retention of flight crew badges:

    a.  a member of the Regular Force must complete 24 months continuous
          duty in an established crew position; and

    b.  a member of the Air Reserve must complete a minimum of 350 flying
          hours and 24 months in an established crew position.

12.    A member who ceases to be employed in an established crew position and
has not qualified for permanent retention of the flight crew badge forfeits
the entitlement to wear the badge.

13.    A member who has qualified for permanent retention of the flight crew
badge and who is subsequently commissioned may continue to wear the flight
crew badge.

15.    The award of the flight crew badge shall not be construed as an
entitlement to draw aircrew allowance.

SPECIALIZED FLIGHT CREW BADGES

16.    Members are eligible for specialized flight crew badges in the
following categories:

    a.  Flight Surgeon Badge. A medical officer is eligible for the award
          of the flight surgeon badge upon successful completion of the
          flight surgeon course at the Canadian Forces Environmental
          Medicine Establishment (CFEME) or training of equivalent standard
          as approved by NDHQ (Surgeon General). Qualified medical officers
          who have been awarded the flight surgeon badge are entitled to
          wear the badge for the remainder of their service in the CF.

    b.  Flight Test Engineer Badge. An officer of the Aerospace
          Engineering Occupation (MOC 41) is eligible for the award of
          flight test engineer badge upon successful completion of the
          flight test engineering course conducted at training
          establishments approved by the aerospace engineering branch.
          Officers awarded this badge are entitled to wear the badge for
          the remainder of their service in the CF.

    c.  Loadmaster Badge. Traffic Technician (MOC 933) and officers of
          the Logistics Occupation (MOC 69) are eligible for the award of
          the loadmaster badge upon successful completion of the loadmaster
          course at a designated training unit. Qualified traffic
          technicians of logistics officers who have been awarded the
          loadmaster badge are entitled to wear the badge for the remainder
          of their service in the CF. Traffic technicians and logistics
          officers who have qualified for permanent retention of the basic
          flight crew badge are entitled to wear the loadmaster badge in
          lieu.

    d.  Tactical Helicopter Observer Badge. Crewman (MOC 011),
          Artilleryman (MOC 021), Artilleryman Air Defence (MOC 022) and
          Infantryman (MOC 031 ) are eligible for award of the tactical
          helicopter observer badge upon successful qualification of OSQ FF
          (Tactical Helicopter Observation). Members awarded the tactical
          helicopter observer badge are entitled to wear the badge for the
          remainder of their service in the CF.

    e.  Aeromedical Evacuation Badge. Nurses (MOC 57) and Medical
          Assistants (MOC 711) are eligible for the award of the aero-
          medical evacuation badge upon successful completion of the
          aeromedical evacuation course and are considered qualified to OSQ
          57.B3 or OSQ MA. Members awarded the aeromedical evacuation badge
          are entitled to wear the badge for the remainder of their service
          in the CF.

    f.  Airborne Warning and Control Badge. Air Weapons Control Officers
          (MOC 64) and Air Defence Technicians (MOC 171) are eligible for
          the award of the airborne warning and control badge upon
          successful completion of the airborne warning and control course.
          Officers and members who have been awarded this badge are
          entitled to wear it for the remainder of their service in the CF.
 

dimsum

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Brihard said:
I think the question is more a matter of 'why do they have flight suits in the absence of flight?', given that this is a piece of kit in short supply.

AECs and AC Ops only wear flight suits when posted to an AWACS unit in the US or Europe, hence why the Col is wearing the patch on his CADPAT. 
 

edlabonte

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Blackadder1916 said:
No, it does not.  For the purposes of badges, it's CFAO 55-10 in which they break it down into aircrew, flight crew and specialized flight crew.

Wow! good job on finding an old out of date document.  The errors included are numerous.  FREE ADVICE: If somebody is quoting CFAOs, read carefully, it's probably wildly out of date like this one is.
 

SupersonicMax

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edlabonte,

Flight Test Engineers have to do an aircrew medical on a yearly basis and yet, they are firmly considered flight crew and wear the half wing. 

You are an officer cadet.  You seem eager but you are in no place to speak with any authority.
 

PPCLI Guy

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Jarnhamar said:
Door gunners aren't considered aircrew?
\
They should be.

I mean let's face it, if Engineers are now Combat Arms.....

:stirpot:
 

brihard

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SupersonicMax said:
You are an officer cadet.  You seem eager but you are in no place to speak with any authority.

Maybe wind it in and check the guy out first there, Max. I strongly suspect his half-stripe is not the first rank he's worn in the RCAF, nor that it's a coincidence that his user name matches that of a former NCO out west. This part of your reply was out of line. Rank does not determine the objective factual accuracy of one's comments.
 

SupersonicMax

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Brihard said:
Maybe wind it in and check the guy out first there, Max. I strongly suspect his half-stripe is not the first rank he's worn in the RCAF, nor that it's a coincidence that his user name matches that of a former NCO out west. This part of your reply was out of line. Rank does not determine the objective factual accuracy of one's comments.

When talking about this specific trade, he has no experience.  It would be akin to me talking about infantry officers qualification.  Despite my experience, I know nothing.  His rank shows me his experience in this trade is minimal.
 
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