3 Wing Commander
Colonel Darcy Molstad, CD
Colonel (Col) Darcy Molstad joined the Canadian Armed Forces in December 1996 through the direct entry program after completing his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics at the University of Alberta. After earning his pilot’s wings in 1999 and completing his initial training on the CF-18 fighter aircraft in 2000, he was transferred to 433 Tactical Fighter Squadron at Bagotville, in Quebec. During his four years as a “Ti-pic,” he completed his expert-level weapons training and his combat aircraft instructor training. During that posting, he also served as Planning Officer, Deputy Operations Officer and Deputy Tactical Shooting Officer.
In 2004, he took part in the U.S. Marine Corps exchange program in Beaufort, South Carolina, during which he served with the 312th and 122nd fighter-bomber squadrons, thus giving him an opportunity to work with the F/A‑18 Hornet A+ and C. During his three-year stay, he served as the Deputy Operations Officer, the Deputy Squadron Weapons and Tactics Officer, and the Quality Assurance Officer. He was the first Canadian pilot to be deployed with the U.S. Marine Corps in the Western Pacific to support their presence in the region.
In 2007, upon his return to Cold Lake, Alberta, he took command of the evaluation and standardization team, where he was responsible for standards, tactical evaluations and tactical publications for the entire fleet of CF-18 fighter‑bombers. In 2009, he became the deputy commanding officer of 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron, where he trained the next generation of Canadian fighter pilots.
In 2010, he was selected for the Joint Command and Staff Program at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, Ontario. He then joined Canada Command Headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, as a senior officer in charge of strategy. In that role, he led a team tasked with developing the future joint operational plans for the North and for integrating, coordinating and synchronizing defence diplomacy for the Canadian Forces across the Western Hemisphere.
In 2012, he took command of 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron (425 Tac F Sqn). He was responsible for providing the material and human resources for ensuring the air defence of eastern Canada and for expeditionary missions abroad. As the commanding officer of 425 Tac F Sqn and as part of the Atlantic Alliance, Col Molstad was made Air Task Force Commander when his unit participated in the Icelandic airspace surveillance missions. In addition, in that same role, he conducted a number of air missions in Romania as part of Op Reassurance in order to support allies in Eastern Europe in response to Russia’s expansionist policy in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
Upon returning from Romania in 2014, he was transferred to Montgomery, Alabama, where he completed strategic studies at USAF’s Air War College. Colonel Molstad finished this demanding program, placing first out of 245 students from the United States and other allied nations and scoring a perfect cumulative grade point average. He was promoted to his current rank in the spring of 2015, becoming the new commander of 3 Wing and Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Bagotville.
Throughout the course of his career, he has accumulated over 2,100 flight hours on the CF-18 fighter aircraft. He has a master’s degree in defence studies from the Royal Military College of Canada and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the Air University in the United States.
Before joining the Canadian Armed Forces, he competed in pole vaulting at the national level and won two junior national titles. He is a long-distance runner, and he cycles, plays golf, skis and plays hockey.