Frigid Wings, Warm Hearts:

Whitney Lackenbauer

Richard Goette

RCAF Arctic Mercy Flights During the Early Cold War

During the early Cold War period (1945-1960), the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) maintained a regular presence in Canada’s North. Though many are familiar with the RCAF’s role in sovereignty protection and continental air defence in the region at this time, the story of the air force’s Mercy Flights has gone largely untold.

Flying from a variety of locations – including Edmonton – RCAF aircraft performed many Search-and-Rescue (SAR) missions, delivered emergency aid (medical and supplies), and brought relief and joy (notably “Operation Santa Claus” in December) to numerous people.  Come learn about this valuable contribution to aviation history from two of Canada’s most engaging scholars.

Dr. Whitney Lackenbauer is associate professor and chair of the department of history at St. Jerome’s University (University of Waterloo).  He has travelled extensively throughout the Canadian North, and has (co-)written or edited a dozen books including most recently The Canadian Forces and Arctic Sovereignty: Debating Roles, Interests, and Requirements, 1968-1974 and A Commemorative History of Aboriginal People in the Canadian Military.

Dr. Richard Goette is an assistant professor in the Department of Defence Studies at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.  A National Director of the CAHS, Richard is an air force historian who has published a number of articles on Canadian military aviation, air power (notably air defence and maritime air power), and air force leadership and command and control.