429 Squadron welcomes new honorary colonel

News Article / August 10, 2016

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By Ross Lees

To say that Honorary Colonel Kemp Stewart of 429 Transport Squadron at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, finished his tenure with the “Bisons” kicking and screaming might be an exaggeration. To say he left reluctantly is not.

Honorary Colonel Stewart loved his association with the “Bisons”, as squadron members are nicknamed, and said he would have liked to have stayed longer, but he knew as he left his position that the squadron would be in good hands as Honorary Colonel Glenn Rainbird took over.

“My term here at 429 Squadron has been gratifying, but far too short.”

The change of appointment ceremony took place July 7, 2016, at the National Air Force Museum in Trenton. Honorary Colonel Stewart, who was appointed in 2012, thanked the squadron members for taking him in and making him feel welcome.

“My fellow honorary colonels, I can’t tell you the admiration I have for you for putting on the uniform – correctly – and stepping forward – promptly – and putting yourself out there to assist the Air Force and your units to help with morale and to link with the communities,” Honorary Colonel Stewart continued. “Canadian Forces Base Trenton much more engaged in the local environment than is some areas where there is not a prominent local community.“

“Thank you for allowing me to, in your words, ‘play with the Air Force’. It’s been a great ride.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Bill Church, squadron commanding officer, noted that it had been a busy time around the squadron during Honorary Colonel Kemp’s tenure but he waded in and got involved, taking part in all kinds of social functions and missions. He was well remembered for generosity to the members, supplying Blue Jay tickets and rail passes to deserving members and supplying door prizes to almost everyone at certain squadron functions.

“For those who think it would be awesome to have an honorary colonel who owns a winery, yes it is,” noted Lieutenant-Colonel Church.

On a more serious note, he praised Honorary Colonel Kemp for being the voice of the “Bisons.”

“You were able to pass our story to members of the business community and to the public. You’ve done 429 Squadron ‘Bisons’ proud by giving us a voice that carries beyond our reach and I thank you for that.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Church also noted that Honorary Colonel Stewart’s involvement in the Military Family Resource Centre’s Invisible Ribbon Gala, Wounded Warriors bike rides, Grapes of Wrath Challenges and that he headed up the sponsorship branch of the 2016 Quinte International Air Show 2016.

Incoming Honorary Colonel Glenn Rainbird, said he found out he was going to be offered the honorary colonel position at 429 Squadron about the same time an automobile was being recalled. He wondered if he too was being recalled to get it right this time; Honorary Colonel Rainbird served as 8 Wing’s honorary colonel from 2007 to 2011.

He said taking on the role of honorary colonel is a “high-order duty” full of challenge  and noted that he considered serving in a military uniform to be a high honour because military personnel serve such a noble cause – this nation.

“Once we get face-to-face, shoulder-to-shoulder with those who serve, we understand the commitment, we understand how challenging it is day to day and how challenging it is for families. For those of us who serve as honoraries, that is one of the messages we will be able to convey in the communities in which we operate, whether it be our local communities, our professional communities or business communities,” he said.

He promised he would support the squadron as much as possible.“I will be proud to become part of the command team and I want to recognize as well that my family command team – [my wife] Jennifer and I – will try to become part of your family command team,” he said.

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