The role of Honorary Colonels with the Royal Canadian Air Force has become a long standing institution. The Canadian tradition of honouring regional or local dignitaries with an honorary rank in the military goes back to 1857 although it was 1895 before the first honorary colonel was appointed. The last 30 years has seen Canadians from all spectrums of society appointed to the list of honoraries. Canadian musicians, television personalities, members of academia and executives from all manner of business and industry.
On August 14 2015, 14 Construction Engineering Squadron welcomed their new Honorary Colonel, Dan Hennessey, during the Official Change of Appointment Ceremony. Hennessey replaces outgoing Honorary Colonel Antoni S. Wojcik who was appointed in September 2010. Hennessey is currently the Executive Director of the Bridgewater Area Chamber of Commerce but has been active in both the area of Prostate Cancer advocacy along with working for veterans both past and present in honouring the sacrifices that they have and continue to make for our country.
During his remarks Hennessey stated that as a young boy in 1970 he proudly wore the uniform of a Royal Canadian Air Cadet with 18 Dartmouth Lions. Those early days of cadet training have stayed with him all these years and it is great to be back in “air force blue again”. Hennessey also said that this three year appointment is a great honour and is looking forward to giving back to those that give so much for us every day here and around the world. He also said that he wants to familiarize himself with all aspects of the Squadron and the associated Flights as he stated “until you walk in the boots of those you represent, you will never begin to fully understand their struggles and successes”.
Major Rick Leighton, Commanding Officer of 14 CES, said that "14 Construction Engineering Squadron is delighted that Dan has graciously accepted the position and with his strong community ties, I am confident he will be a great addition to the 14 CES team”. 14 Construction Engineering Squadron is located along with 143 Construction Engineering Flight in the Bridgewater area and also includes 144 CEF in Pictou, 91 CEF in Gander, Newfoundland and 192 CEF in Aldergrove, British Columbia.
The visibility that the Honorary Colonels bring to the Royal Canadian Air Force and the pride that the men and women of the air force feel in their honorary colonels provide an important link between the air force and the communities in which it is based. The honorary colonels continue a centuries-long tradition of service and are just as important today as when the program first began.