New Canadian Commander has close ties with Arran

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The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has appointed a new Commander who finds himself very much at home in Blackwaterfoot.

The new commander is newly promoted, Lieutenant-General Alexander Donald Meinzinger CMM MSM CD who was  sworn in at a ceremony held at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in the nation’s capital, Ottawa.

Lt-Gen Meinzinger, known as Alister, is the second son of Dave and Kate Meinzinger of Orleans, Ontario and is the grandson of the late Donald and Helen MacAlister of Cairnhouse, Blackwaterfoot. His cousin Alan MacAlister, who still lives there, flew out to Canada ahead of the ceremony last week.

Dave Meinzinger was serving with the RCAF in France in 1961 when, by chance he came to Arran for the first time with his Air Force friend Dave Thorburn, a relative of the MacAlister’s of Cairnhouse. He met Kate, then a teacher at Shiskine Primary School, and romance blossomed. They were married in October 1962 and moved to Dave’s next posting in Vancouver, British Colombia. Dave retired from the RCAF as a Chief Warrant Officer after 36 years service.

Alister joined the RCAF in 1985 under the Regular Officer Training Plan. He earned a BA Honours in economics and commerce from Royal Military College of Canada, (RMC) Kingston, and was awarded the Governor General’s Medal for academic excellence. Immediately following graduation, he attended Queen’s University, earning an MA in economics in 1990, before obtaining his pilot’s wings in 1992.

In the course of four flying tours, he deployed from CFB Edmonton, Alberta with 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron as a member of the first contingent in support of the United Nations Mission in Haiti, serving as an instructor pilot and Flight Commander, before assuming command of 403 (Helicopter) Operational Training Squadron at CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick in August 2006.

In 2008, Al returned to Canadian Forces College where he attended the inaugural National Security Programme, graduating with an MA in security and defence management and [olicy.

In addition to various staff positions Lt-Gen Meinzinger deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2011, as the then Colonel A.D. Meinzinger he commanded Canada’s Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing in what was then a `theatre of operations’.

The following two years were spent as deputy director of NORAD’s and Northcom’s strategy, policy and plans directorate, at the Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Arizona in the United States.

In 2013 Alister and the family return to Canada when the then Brigadier-General Meinzinger was appointed Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario.

Lt-Gen Meinzinger is married to Joy and along with their children Nolan and Shayna, they enjoy regular visits to Blackwaterfoot where the family have a home.

Lt-Gen Meinzinger is the new Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force. NO_B18canada01