15 Wing History

Named in honour of Air Vice-Marshal Clifford McKay McEwen of Moose Jaw whose service to our nation as a member of the Air Force spanned the decades from the First World War to the end of hostilities during the Second World War.

15 Wing can trace its roots back to the early days of the Second World War when the Moose Jaw Flying Club was contracted to train pilots for wartime service with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Within months, this program was replaced by the greatest aircrew-training program of all time - the British Commonwealth Air Training Program (BCATP) saw the construction of what is today 15 Wing: McEwen Airfield.

Established as a Royal Air Force aerodrome, it graduated more than 1200 pilots for the Air Forces of Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand during the Second World War; five of whom received the Distinguished Flying Cross for their actions.

In 1952 the mounting pressures of the Cold War resulted in the Wing being reopened to train pilots for Canada and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies utilising both single-prop Harvard and Silver Star jet training aircraft. By the mid-1960's these were replaced by the Canadian built Canadair CT-114 Tutor jet trainer which would rule the skies over Saskatchewan for the next forty years.

Early in 1970, Colonel O.B. Philp, Base Commander at then Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Moose Jaw organized an unofficial group of volunteer instructors known as the 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School Formation Team. Over the years, the Canadian Air Forces "Snowbirds" have evolved into one of the premier military aerobatics display teams in the world.

Today the Wing is the principle site of the NFTC program: An international military pilot training program that has seen pilot trainees from around the globe join their Canadian counterparts in the skies over southern Saskatchewan.

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