Does the badge change mean anything past face value?
From what I gather, the AEC and AC Op trades never felt they were properly included in the "aircrew" group, which is why I made the rub that technically they still aren't IAW the official policy. ;D
This gives them the 'aircrew' vice 'flight crew' look on operational and DEUs, which must have been important enough to them to pursue.
I've met a few folks from the AEC/AC Op community, spending several days with them as the 'majority numbers' at a conference at the Glass Palace; this conf included some time with BGen Boyle and the leadership and council of Col Lachapelle throughout.
These comments are from the article if some folks didn't see them:
“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.”
Sgt James Kelly - NORAD Plans NCM5 Wing Ops Support Squadron, Goose Bay, NL
Speaking as an aircrew Warrant Officer, I say "BZ" to the air force for the same reasons I said BZ when the Door Gunners badge was formerly announced and presented.