Honorary Colonel William (Bill) Ricketts
Biography / November 3, 2020
After graduating from high school in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, Honourary Colonel (HCol) Ricketts joined the Canadian Forces in 1974 to attend the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. Finishing with his Mechanical Engineering Degree in 1978, he then completed Air Navigator training in 1979 at Winnipeg, Manitoba.
HCol Ricketts then started a military career that was primarily focused on operations. His first tour started in 1980 with 409 Squadron in Comox, British Columbia, flying in the CF-101 Voodoo fighter aircraft as part of Canada's commitment to NORAD. He was then posted in 1983 to Colorado Springs, USA, working in Space Operations in Cheyenne Mountain. Upon promotion to Major in 1986, he oversaw the establishment of training for combat crews for the worldwide network of space surveillance sites. Upon return to Canada in 1987, he attended the Command and Staff College in Toronto.
In 1988, HCol Ricketts started his next phase of his military career in the long range patrol community with a move to Greenwood, Nova Scotia and a posting to 405 Squadron. He served as a Tactical Navigator on the CP-140 Aurora, before serving the Squadron as the Flight Commander and Deputy Commanding Officer. In 1992 he was posted to Maritime Air Group Headquarters in Halifax, where he planned the first extensive operational deployment of the Aurora with multiple aircraft and crews flying out of Sicily, Italy for operations in the Adriatic Sea. Promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1993, he remained in headquarters to oversee the training and operational readiness of Aurora aircrew across the country. In 1996, he was appointed Commanding Officer of 405 Squadron and then, in 1998, Wing Operations Officer for 14 Wing Greenwood.
HCol Ricketts retired from the Canadian Forces in 2000 and moved to Halifax to begin a career in private industry. He first joined Satlantic Inc, a high tech company designing sensors for oceanographic research as their Vice President (VP) for Operations, and then as President. Looking to return to aircraft operations, he joined IMP Aerospace and Defence in 2005 as the VP overseeing the Canadian SAR Helicopter Program, responsible for all the administrative, financial, maintenance, engineering and logistical support for Canada's fleet of Cormorant aircraft across the country. He was very fortunate to stay with IMP and work with the Air Force in this position until 2017 when he retired after a 43-year career with the military and with industry.
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