435 Squadron invests new honorary colonel

A man and a woman, both in uniform, sit at a tartan-covered table with documents in front of them and pens in hand, and flags behind them.
Lieutenant-Colonel Kevin Kozak, 435 Squadron commanding officer, and Honorary Colonel Helen Halliday sign the scroll during her investiture ceremony on April 27, 2018, at 17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba. PHOTO: Corporal Bryce Cooper, WG2018-0173-004

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By Martin Zeilig

The new Honorary Colonel of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, Helen Halliday, was welcomed by about 100 military and civilian guests at her investiture on April 27, 2018, at 17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Honorary Colonel Halliday is president and CEO of the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada and is currently leading the museum’s development and move to a new, multi-million-dollar, world-class facility at Winnipeg’s James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.

“Ms. Halliday is recognized nationally for her acclaimed career in hospitality, tourism and community leadership; a career that has mirrored her personal devotion to family, community, and country,” reads biographical brochure provided during the ceremony. “As general manager of Delta Hotels and Resorts in Winnipeg for 15 years, she elevated the hotel to a recognized, downtown economic leader while simultaneously helping to elevate Winnipeg’s tourism brand. She has received multiple awards for her achievements.

“Ms. Halliday is a dedicated mentor, who also enjoys opportunities to contribute to the social, economic and educational fabric of communities in which she lives. Currently, she serves as director on the board of Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. She has been married to Richard Halliday for 30 years and they have two sons, Austin and Douglas.”

17 Wing commander Colonel Andy Cook said he was pleased to participate in this important initiative for 435 Squadron even though the squadron no longer reports to 17 Wing. “The Chinthes [the nickname for members of 435 Squadron, after the mythical animal shown on its squadron badge] are near and dear to my heart,” he said after the ceremony, and he wished Honorary Colonel Halliday the very best with 435 Squadron.

Lieutenant-Colonel Kevin Kozak, commanding officer of 435 Squadron and the presiding officer at the Investiture, attended on behalf of his boss, Colonel Michael Atkins, commander of 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia, the wing to which 435 Squadron now reports.

“I ask you to be a vital force to establish esprit de corps and build a relationship between other units, and to simply spend time with my unit members,” he said to Honorary Colonel Halliday. “Go flying [with them] and spend time on the floor with the [ground] crew and with the air weapons technicians. I look forward to working with you in the coming months.”

“We have found a capable individual in Helen,” he told his personnel. “She’ll initially be a stranger to us, so go out of your way to make her feel comfortable.”

Honorary Colonel Halliday first thanked outgoing 17 Wing Honorary Colonel Ross Robinson, and Honorary Colonel Barry Rempel, for recommending her to the position. She also congratulated Colonel Cook and Lieutenant-Colonel Kozak, and their respective chief warrant officers, for “…hooking me in with their amazing first impression” in the fall of 2016.

“This week has been incredibly special owing to my Mom and Dad travelling with me here from Collingwood, Ontario,” she said during her speech. “I am certain that I would not be accepting this honour today had it not been for my lifelong cheerleaders, Bill and Merle Howes. Their love, faith, belief and service are the foundation and why I have been blessed to have such a wonderful life with my own family, friends, and employers, serving the communities we have called home.”

She also read a portion of Sir Arthur Currie’s famous First World War “Special Order” to the Canadian Corps, dated March 27, 1918. Her maternal grandfather, Norville Edward Luck, a non-combatant with the YMCS, took a copy with him overseas. “Canadians, in this fateful hour, I command you and I trust you to fight as you have fought with all your strength, with all your determination, with your tranquil courage. On many a hard fought battle, you have overcome this enemy. With God’s help you shall achieve victory once more.”

Honorary Colonel Halliday, who mentioned that 2019 will be the 75th anniversary of 435 Squadron, said, ““Know that this order safely came home with my grandfather, and he devoted his life to service in numerous capacities including, to the servicemen in Canada during the Second World War. I share this with you as I believe it underscores the commonality of the men that served 100 years ago in such rugged conditions, and the men and women that serve today.

“In my interactions with many members of this base in Winnipeg, I am so impressed and thankful [for] their service. Anyone who is working in today’s world knows that the demands are great, the bar keeps on rising, and resources are tight and sometimes diminishing. 435 Sqn works in this environ every day, and challenges its leaders and members to devote their focus and energy to recruitment, retention, training, and identifying efficiencies and maximizing the serviceability of its aircraft.

“In closing, thank you for joining me here today. This is a tremendous honour. And, thank you to my incredible family, who supports me day in and day out, regardless of how much I ask of them.”

This story first appeared in 17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba, newspaper The Voxair, and is reprinted with permission.


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  • A man and a woman, both in uniform, sit at a tartan-covered table with documents in front of them and pens in hand, and flags behind them.
  • A uniformed woman stands at a lectern, addressing a room full of men and women, many in uniform.
  • A uniformed man speaks at a lectern, with curtained windows and a flag in the background.
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