The Courier

The 1 AMS Command Team begins opening the time capsule that was sealed in 1996 to celebrate 25 years of the unit – Photo by Mike Marshall

It was a step back in time, 26 years to be exact, for members of 1 Air Maintenance Squadron (1 AMS).

On April 27th, members of 1 AMS were at the Cold Lake Air Force Museum to open a time capsule that had originally been sealed in 1996 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the squadron.

“It’s been a real honour having this time capsule here,” said Museum Curator Wanda Stacey at the opening ceremony. “It’s been here since 2002, and we love being a caretaker of things like this. It’s an honour to be here for this historic moment.”

The time capsule contained many items that gave a snapshot of life at 4 Wing in the mid-nineties. Some treasures pulled from inside included a photo album of 1 AMS staff at work, a variety of paperwork, a 1996 edition of The Courier News, and a program for a dinner in honour of the squadron’s then-25th anniversary.

1 AMS was formed in 1971 at Canadian Forces Base Soellingen in what was at the time West Germany. It was deactivated in 1993 and then immediately reactivated at CFB Cold Lake.

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) calls 1 AMS “…a central maintenance organization integral to 4 Wing flying operations and continues to evolve with the role of the fighter force. The unit is responsible for providing a wide range of technical support services from numerous locations on the base and Cold Lake Air Weapons Range. It is one of the largest squadrons at 4 Wing employing just under 500 personnel.”

The capsule was due to be opened on the 50th anniversary of the unit but was delayed until this year.

“We have tried to open this time capsule a few different times,” explained 1 AMS Commanding Officer LCol Phillipe Gibeau. “A variety of issues came up, from logistics to sickness to the COVID-19 outbreak, so to be able to open it today is a big deal.”

“Now that we’ve opened it, we want to reseal it. We want to see what they had put in, but we already have a few good ideas of what we can put in.”

The capsule itself sits on a podium that was signed in 1996 by members that contributed items, a tradition that the 2022 team says will continue. Gibeau says now that the 1996 treasures are out, they may find a new home inside the museum.

“I’m hoping we can put some of these items in the museum because we don’t want to lose them. I know if we put them at 1 AMS, they may be misplaced at some point,” he added with a laugh.

As for what may be going into the capsule, Gibeau gave a few ideas but Stacey summed it up.

“I guess we’ll know in 25 years.”

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