Continue your career in the RCAF

Former Royal Canadian Navy member Major Steve Buckley is on his second OUTCAN posting as an aerospace controller with the Canadian NORAD Detachment at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.

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Royal Canadian Air Force

Sooner or later, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members may start to feel that it’s time to make a change in their career. The CAF recognizes this, and has programs in place to help make it so.

The Annual Voluntary Occupational Transfer Program (AVOTP) and Officer Voluntary Occupational Transfer Program (OVOTP) are designed to offer serving members an opportunity to change career fields while continuing to serve Canada in uniform. Many personnel take advantage of these OT programs each year, extending their careers in the CAF, acquiring new skills, and working in a new operational environment.

Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) occupations, in particular, offer unique and exciting challenges, providing the opportunity to acquire leading-edge skill sets that are highly recognized and respected across the aerospace industry.

All personnel who transfer into the RCAF have their own reasons for doing so. It may be to acquire the practical skills of an aircraft technician, to fly as a member of an operational aircrew, or to provide a different quality of life for their family. Regardless of individual reasons or motivations, one reoccurring theme is the continued or new-found professional success enjoyed by members who transfer to the RCAF, coupled with a renewed personal satisfaction in serving Canada as a proud member of the CAF.

One such member is Sergeant Harold Boley. While on exercise as a gunner with 2 Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in Petawawa, Ontario, Sergeant Boley was impressed by the close coordination of the Griffon helicopters’ flight engineers with both aircrew and personnel on the ground when transporting the artillery’s guns. The experience inspired him to look further into the flight engineer occupation. He learned that he would have to first qualify and gain experience as an aviation systems (AVN) technician or avionic systems (AVS) technician. After successfully transferring into the RCAF and honing his skills as an AVN technician with 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron at Patricia Bay, British Columbia, Sergeant Boley achieved his goal of becoming an operational flight engineer.

His first posting in his new occupation was with 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron in Petawawa, which gave him the unique opportunity to work alongside Canada’s Special Operations Forces. Today, Sergeant Boley is tackling yet another new challenge as a flight engineer on Aurora aircraft with 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia, expanding his skill set even further as he continues his journey in the CAF.

Two other OT success stories are those of Majors Steve Buckley and Scott Hoffman, aerospace controllers (AEC) serving with Canadian Detachment Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.

Major Buckley began his career with the Royal Canadian Navy and is now on his second outside-of-Canada (OUTCAN) posting, controlling aircraft assigned to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) mission.

Major Hoffman was previously an artillery officer and served as a forward air controller while deployed to Bosnia, Herzegovina, in 1997. He was attracted to the AEC occupation because it provided the opportunity to continue controlling aircraft. Major Hoffman is now on his third OUTCAN tour on Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, where he has participated on multiple joint operations with the United States Air Force.

Information about RCAF occupations can be found at

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