17 Wing History

The Royal Canadian Air Force's (RCAF) connection with the City of Winnipeg goes back to 1922, when a station of the old Air Board was opened here to serve as a winter base for detachments operating in Northern Manitoba during the remainder of the year.

RCAF Station Winnipeg officially opened in April 1925 - one of the first Air Force Bases in Canada.

During World War II, RCAF Station Winnipeg became a major Air Force Base as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, which trained more than 130,000 pilots, navigators, observers and wireless operators at various locations across Canada. Winnipeg also became a major wartime centre for supply and repair depots, and ferry and inspection units.

After the war, RCAF Station Winnipeg saw an increase in training activities. Over 5,000 foreign aircrew graduated from No. 2 Air Observer School and Central Navigation School.

The 402 “City of Winnipeg” Squadron has been based in Winnipeg since 1932.

17 Wing was initially formed as RCAF (Reserve) Wing Winnipeg on 1 October 1950 to administer and control 402 Squadron. On 1 August 1951, it was re-designated 17 (Reserve) Wing, and then 17 (Auxiliary) Wing on 1 September 1951.

On 1 February 1968, it became integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve as 17 Air Reserve Wing. In November 1968, following the unification of the Canadian Forces, Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Winnipeg was formed by combining the Fort Osborne Army Barracks and RCAF Station Winnipeg – the title 17 Wing was no longer used.

On 1 April 1993, CFB Winnipeg became, once again, home to 17 Wing. From such small beginnings, this Base has grown to be one of the country's largest, employing over 2900 personnel, of whom about 650 are local civilians.

In 1994, as the result of the Federal Budget, 435 Squadron came to Winnipeg and joined the other units in 16 Hangar. 1 Air Movements Squadron also came in this move and occupied new quarters next to 10 Hangar. Today, 435 Squadron operates 5 Hercules aircraft which are configured for search and rescue missions or air-to-air refueling.

One of the newest lodger units to 17 Wing was the Canadian Forces School of Aeromedical Training in September 1996.

17 Wing personnel are very proud of their contribution to aviation history and to the City of Winnipeg. The six aviation schools co-located at 17 Wing are second to none in the world and at the leading edge of technology.

In October 1992, CFB Winnipeg received the Freedom of the City in recognition of the Base's outstanding contribution to the citizens of Winnipeg.

As our motto says, "Prospice" or "Look to the Future".