CORNWALL, Ontario – A cutting-edge air-traffic control school in Cornwall has a new boss.
Royal Canadian Air Force Lt.-Col. Luc Labelle was sworn in Thursday as the new commander at the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Control Operations (CFSACO) in a ceremony at the Nav Centre in Cornwall.
The school typically teaches some 50 students at a time the intricacies of air-traffic control for the Canadian forces.
Labelle said he hopes to build on the successes the school has enjoyed to date.
“It’s quite an opportunity to be appointed as a commanding officer,” he said in an interview prior to the change-of-command ceremony, adding he plans to make few changes to the existing protocols at the school. “The challenges that go with that job…I look forward to that.
“I don’t expect to make big changes, but rather to maintain the quality of the teaching for our new students.”
Labelle was previously stationed in Germany as part of a NATO deployment that involved flight time aboard AWACS jet aircraft, including surveillance work.
His predecessor, Lt.-Col. Robert Anderson, has spent the last two years as the commanding officer at the school and will now make the move to Europe to work in an administrative role at NATO headquarters in Belgium.
“I had the opportunity to make a difference and lead a great group of people here,” he said. “I really appreciate the hard work of the instructors.”
CFSACO is part of the Canadian air force’s 16 Wing, attached to CFB Borden but is the only part of the base not physically in the Ontario community north of Toronto.
The role of CFSACO is to carry out military aerospace control training. A range of basic and specialty courses are offered to operators. Military members are trained to become either air traffic controller/operators or air weapons controller/operators.
Successful graduates of the school, once certified at their respective units, will be ready to start their first assignment controlling live aircraft.
BIOGRAPHIES (provided by RCAF):
LIEUTENANT-COLONEL Robert Anderson was recruited in Halifax in 1987 and joined the Canadian Forces as an Air Traffic Control officer. After graduating as “Top Student” from the basic air traffic control course in 1988 he was selected for an initial posting to Lahr, Germany. During that tour, then Capt Anderson was qualified as an Approach, Arrival, and Tower controller.
In 1993 following the closure of CFB Lahr Capt Anderson was posted to 5 Wing Goose Bay where he qualified as an IFR controller. He was appointed Chief Controller Terminal that fall and the following summer was selected as the unit Standards and Training Officer. After a very successful and busy three years Capt Anderson finally returned to Bluenose country and moved to 14 Wing Greenwood where he again worked as Chief Controller Terminal and Standards and Training Officer.
On promotion to Major in 1999 he returned to 5 Wing Goose Bay as Wing Air Services Officer. Maj Anderson was in charge of Quality Assurance for the Operations section of the DND/Serco Alternative Service Delivery contract and was the lead officer responsible for coordination of civil/military issues related to the Goose Bay Airport Corporation interaction with Wing agencies. In 2001 Maj Anderson was appointed as the Wing Air Traffic Control Officer at 4 Wing Cold Lake. After leading the unit through three extremely busy Maple Flag exercises and one very successful Airshow as Director Emergency Services, Maj Anderson accepted the challenge of cross-over training to Air Defence and was posted to 21 AC&W Squadron North Bay in 2004. Initially trained as a Mission Crew Commander, he was eventually appointed as Flight Commander of “Avenger” Flight. Two short years later Maj Anderson was posted to 552 Air Control Wing (ACW), Tinker AFB, Oklahoma for a four year tour on USAF E3 AWACS. During this tour he was an instructor and evaluator Mission Crew Commander who amassed almost 1100 flying hours and flew 28 missions in support of OP ENDURING FREEDOM over the skies of Afghanistan. He was appointed to various positions including the Canadian Detachment DCO, Squadron Assistant Director of Operations, and for the last year 552 ACW Deputy Chief Standards and Evaluation. In 2010, after escaping staff duties for the 23 previous years, Maj Anderson was appointed as the Aerospace Control Officer Career Manager at NDHQ in Ottawa. He was promoted to his current rank in 2011 and appointed as Commandant of the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Control Operations in Cornwall. LCol Anderson is posted to SHAPE Headquarters in Belgium where he will take on a NATO staff position.
LCol Anderson holds a Bachelors degree of Military Arts and Science (RMC) and a Masters of Aerospace Administration and Logistics (Southeastern Oklahoma State University). He is a graduate of the USAF Air Command and Staff College program. LCol Anderson is married to Tracey and they have three children, Courtney, Emily, and Dynan.
LIEUTENANT-COLONEL J. Luc Labelle
Born in Hull, Québec, LCol Luc Labelle joined the Canadian Forces in December 1981.
Following basic controller training at the Air Weapons Control and Countermeasures School in North Bay, he was assigned to the 22nd NORAD Region. In 1984, he was posted to CFS Moisie, Québec, as the Ground Environment Operations Officer, and was promoted to Captain in 1986.
In 1987, LCol Labelle was transferred to the 28th Air Division at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, home of the American AWACS. In 1991, LCol Labelle deployed to the Persian Gulf where he flew onboard the AWACS out of Riyadh Air Base, Saudi Arabia, in support of Operation DESERT STORM.
He was posted to Langley AFB, Virginia, in summer 1991 where he assumed the duty of CF Liaison Officer for the “DEW Line” radar sites located in the Arctic. In 1994, LCol Labelle was transferred to 12 Radar Squadron of 3 Wing Bagotville. Promoted to Major in June 1997, he headed to Rome, New York and assumed the position of “Bravo” Flight Commander at the Northeast Air Defense Sector.
He returned to Canada in July 2001 and was posted the Directorate Air Requirements at National Defence Headquarters. In July 2004, LCol Labelle assumed command of 12 Radar Squadron in Bagotville. Promoted to his current rank in 2005, he proceeded to Toronto to attend Command and Staff College and was subsequently posted back to the Air Staff under the Directorate of Air Programmes.
In 2009, LCol Labelle was transferred to Geilenkirchen, Germany where he was employed as Chief Mission Support Division and flew as a Tactical Director onboard the NATO E-3A. During his posting in Germany, he had the privilege to command the Technology Element and was appointed as Force Element Commander for his last deployment to Afghanistan in support of ISAF. Today LCol Labelle will assume command of The Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Control Operations.
LCol Labelle and his wife Yolaine Perreault have two children, Sylvain and Patrick, who currently reside in Casselman.