16 Wing Welcomes New Honorary Colonel

RCAF News Article Dated: November 19, 2013 

On October 30th, members of 16 Wing and special guests gathered at the Base Borden Officers Mess for an investiture ceremony in which they said farewell to the Wing’s outgoing honorary colonel, HCol Peter Lorimer, while welcoming HCol Bill Coyle as the new 16 Wing honorary colonel.

During his address Lieutenant-Colonel Marc Rodgers, Commander 16 Wing, described to the audience the role and significance of the honorary appointment.  He thanked HCol Lorimer for his dedication to the members of the Wing, and highlighted some of his achievements over the past three years.

In his own farewell speech, HCol Lorimer thanked those who trusted him through the nomination and selection process, and supported him during the period of his appointment.  He expressed his appreciation and gratitude for all the opportunities that his honorary appointment offered him.  “The word ‘honorary’ in front of ‘colonel’ has always meant to me that it is an honour to be selected, and it is the duty of the honorary colonel to honour those brave men and women that serve.”  He also praised and thanked members of the Wing for their contribution to various community activities, such as Barrie’s Kempenfest “Tribute to the Troops” night, the Christmas Cheer initiative, and the annual Wing Commander’s Charity Golf Tournament, which raised more than $110,000.00 to help military and civilian families in need.

As for 16 Wing’s new honorary colonel, if the name Bill Coyle sounds familiar to you, it’s because it should be.  HCol Coyle served as honorary colonel for the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering (CFSATE) in Borden for a period of almost 13 years (1997-2010), long enough to earn a Canadian Forces Decoration (CD) and a Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) for that service.  His very successful career within the Aerospace Engineering community spanned more than 50 years, beginning at Avro Aircraft Limited in Malton, Ontario, where he took part in projects such as the Avro Arrow and the Avrocar research flying vehicle (the “Flying Saucer”).  He later served as Corporate Vice President with AlliedSignal Canada Inc., and pioneered international cooperative agreements in aerospace between Canada, the United States and the European community.  Since his retirement from AlliedSignal in 1997, he sits on several aerospace boards of directors and now frequently consults and advises on global aerospace as well as military and government affairs programs.  Over the years he has received many accolades from the aerospace and military communities, including a recent Honorary Doctorate (Ph.D) in Engineering from the Royal Military College of Canada.

An integral member of an Air Force unit, an honorary colonel supports the unit’s personnel and activities by providing a critical link between the unit and the local community.  Honorary colonels may be a former military officer or a distinguished Canadian citizen.  Their role is “honorary and advisory” within a range of responsibilities that includes fostering unit esprit de corps, acting as guardians of unit traditions and history, and maintaining close liaisons with the Commanding Officer and other honoraries in the area.


Publication Source:
16 Wing welcomes new honorary colonel  - News Article / November 19, 2013 – Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)

What is an Honorary Colonel Honorary Colonel

Honorary Colonels are integral members of the Air Force family.

They may be former Air Force officers or distinguished Canadian citizens, hailing from a diverse range of backgrounds, including many well-known public and community figures. Some currently appointed Air Force Honorary Colonels include singer/songwriter Sass Jordan; Second World War veteran Arthur Sherwin; President and General Manager of Le Réseau des Sports (RDS), Mr Gerry Frappier; and hockey legend Guy Lafleur, to name just a few.

Honorary Colonels are "honorary and advisory". They are vital to fostering esprit de corps within the family. They may mentor the commanding officer and members of the unit, help build relationships with other units through the Honorary Colonel network, and aid in ensuring the maintenance of customs and traditions. By their very presence and name, they build and develop community support for their units by providing a public profile - a public face - for the unit. Perhaps one of their most important attributes, however, is simply the time they spend with all members of the unit, no matter what their rank or position, just as a highly respected member of the family would.

An Honorary Colonel is an officer on virtually all issues except operations.

They work behind the scenes and provide a much needed connection between the community and the Canadian Forces. Each unit decides who they want as an Honorary Colonel. On the recommendation of the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Minister of National Defence approves all honorary appointments. These unpaid positions are usually for tenures of three years, but they are renewable.

While some Honorary Colonels are former Air Force members, many are not. Members Air Force Honorary Colonels program come from a diverse range of backgrounds, including many well-known public and community figures.

Honorary appointments bring with them certain responsibilities. Their duties include:

  • Fostering esprit de corps;
  • Developing, promoting and sustaining strong community support for the unit;
  • Establishing and maintaining liaison with unit charities and associations;
  • Maintaining close liaison with the unit Commanding Officer or Commandant and other honoraries in the area;
  • Assisting the unit in hosting parades and other unit functions;
  • Carrying out other duties or providing expertise in matters where they are qualified through background and knowledge when requested by higher authority;

Assisting the unit through the donation of plaques, trophies for competitions/course.

Honorary rank is “honorary and advisory,” and honorary rank does not confer authority or command function. Honoraries can provide continuity within the unit on matters of community events and activities, unit traditions etc. – of importance can be speaking to new recruits and young officers on unit history and traditions.

Publication Source: Honorary Colonels - RCAF