Canadian Lt Fred Robert Gordon McCall, MC, DFC, DSO, serving with the Royal Flying Corps, examines an aerial photo near Arras, France, in 1918.

The history of Canada’s Air Force is the story of the men and women who had the guts, determination and vision to serve their country in the aviation arm of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Canadians in the Air Force immediately distinguished themselves as fighter aces in the First World War. Although the years between the wars were modest ones with an often limited mandate to act as an aid to the civil power, the Royal Canadian Air Force grew to be the fourth largest air force in the world during the Second World War. It played a world class leadership role in the Cold War years as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and a joint partner in the continental air defence of North America as a member of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Though the early years of unification provided new challenges, the RCAF regrouped and restored much of its heritage and traditions.

Today, it continues to play a leading role on the world stage as a multi-purpose, combat-capable force that fulfills a variety of domestic and international commitments.