10 April 2020: Message from the Wing Commander, COVID-19

Portrait - Col Moar

Photo: LS Erica Seymour, 4 Wing Imaging

10 April 2020

Hello 4 Wing members, families, and friends,

Today marks the end of our first 4 weeks of minimized operations here at the Wing.  Although for some of us it has been a blur
of planning and activity, for others it has been too quiet and a bit dull.  This is intentional!  It is by design that a fewer number of key personnel and sections are shouldering the load to keep the base functioning, so that others can stay home, stay healthy, and remain ready to work when required.  This week I would like to highlight the hard work of the Operations Support Squadron who have continued to lead the planning and coordination of our COVID-19 response, our Mission Support Squadron and Comptroller administration sections who have worked overtime to ensure that our members are getting their claims and pay looked after, and our Snow and Ice removal crews (SNIC) who have worked day and night to keep our runways open despite the heavy snow and wind.

You likely heard some jet engine noise over Cold Lake this week – I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!  As I’ve mentioned before, 4 Wing has two main priorities right now.  We must preserve the health of our force and we must ensure we can conduct our operational NORAD, NATO and Search and Rescue (SAR) missions.  To ensure the success of our operational missions it is imperative that our pilots and technicians remain qualified to do their jobs.  We also must ensure that our aircraft are maintained and flown regularly to keep them functional.  This week, 4 Wing flew a number of CF18 and CH146 (helo) missions to keep our NORAD and SAR crews sharp and ready to fight.  We also conducted technician training for maintenance personnel who are scheduled to support our NORAD mission in the coming weeks.  You may be wondering how we are operating differently given the current COVID-19 environment.  We have already instituted or are in the process of changing many of our procedures for flying operations, maintenance, and support functions.  Examples of these modifications
include changes to workplace sanitization procedures, cockpit cleaning, crew shift changeover procedures, social distancing measures, and direction on 4 Wing’s procurement and use of protective equipment such as face shields and cloth masks.

For 4 Wing members who normally participate in family gatherings or congregate for religious observances this weekend, you are no doubt disappointed to be restricted from these activities.  I know many of you are planning to use online means to join up with family or attend services.

For those of you observing Easter, I would highlight that our 4 Wing chapels are offering online services that can be accessed at https://www.facebook.com/RCchapel and https://www.facebook.com/stmarks4wing/.  It is my hope that those of you who are sitting at home with your immediate family take time to reach out to those who are alone and may need some extra support during this long weekend.

I know that everyone still has a lot of questions related to this coming year, the posting season, selling houses, promotions, daycare services, and many other subjects.  We are doing our best to push those answers to you as they become available.  CWO Nault and I will be hosting a FaceBook Live Town Hall on 16 April at 2 pm and we look forward to answering more of your questions.  Our last Town Hall was very well-received, so I hope to see everyone submit their questions and join the event.  More details will follow in a separate advertisement.

Thanks to everyone for getting through the last 4 weeks, preserving your health, and working hard when required to keep our operations functioning.  Although COVID-19 has not yet significantly affected our
region, we must remain vigilant by washing our hands, social distancing,
monitoring ourselves for symptoms, and keeping ourselves well-informed.
Our NORAD operational mission will not slow down and in addition, as indicated by our Chief of Defence Staff, whether faced with fire, floods, or COVID-19, we must be fit and prepared to respond to the emergency needs of Canada and Canadians.

Have a great weekend and I’ll talk to you next week!

Dave Moar
Commander, 4 Wing Cold Lake