Honours & Awards
The role played by an organization’s honours and awards program is a significant one. It might seem like a lot of work and effort to manage an awards program, but the energy and devotion to such a program while demanding, is also very beneficial. Honours and awards promote member retention. When the organization knows how to acknowledge the important support of its members, those members tend to stay; they remain loyal to the organization. Not only do awardees and honourees stay, but the people who engage in such programs also stay. This is critical to an organization’s survival because finding one new member can cost the association six to seven times what it costs to retain one member.
When a member achieves some honour or wins an award, they are understandably proud of their achievement. Most of them are happy with the thought that others might want to know about the award decision. These aspects are important because they trace the awarding of an honour to the awardee’s increased engagement. As members engage more in the association, so too does member retention increase.
An effective honours and awards program is one that is relevant to your stakeholders. In this regard, some of your major sponsors deserve an invitation to participate. At one time the RCAF Association’s honours and awards were sponsored, to some extent. For example, the J.A.D. McCurdy Trophy was sponsored by Litton Systems. The RCAF Association is exploring how best to incorporate the participation of sponsors interested in such opportunities. The organization’s honours and awards program is actually a window into the organization’s legitimacy, reputation, and credibility. The management of an honours and awards program that recognizes the best (in aerospace industry, for example) shows the organization as a legitimate and credible leader in its field, simply because the awarding of honours to such recipients gains a great deal of public interest. Finally, properly crafted the honours and awards system managed by the organization actually reinforces the values and goals of the organization.
Air Marshal William Avery “Billy” Bishop, VC, CB, DSO & Bar, MC, DFC, ED, LL.D. (8 February 1894 – 11 September 1956) Memorial Trophy
Air Marshal W.A. Bishop, VC Memorial Trophy
The Air Marshal W.A. Bishop, VC trophy was created to recognize a great Canadian hero’s outstanding contribution to the legacy of excellence in Canadian aviation. The purpose of this award is inscribed on the trophy, as follows: “IN RECOGNITION OF OUTSTANDING AND MERITORIOUS ACHIEVEMENT IN ANY FIELD OF AVIATION.” This trophy may be presented to any military unit or organization (generally other than those involved in providing air transport or SAR) engaged in military operations the members of which have made a significant contribution to Canada’s security and/or well being over the preceding year.
Air Marshal Charles Roy Slemon, CB, CBE, CD (7 November 1904 – 12 February 1992) Memorial Award
The TopAces – RCAF Association Air Marshal C.Roy Slemon Award
This award recognizes the outstanding performance of an individual member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, particularly focusing on Non-Commissioned Members. This individual will be designated “Aviator of the Year.” Any Regular member of the Royal Canadian Air Force is eligible for this award. The criteria for nominations are: a recommended recipient must be a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, engaged in military air service or support; the achievements of the proposed recipient may include service to the nation in operations, outstanding contributions in support of United Nations’ international tasks or outstanding achievements in community activities, both on or off-base (examples could include supporting youth activities [particularly Air Cadets] or exceptional service to citizen or social programs).
John Alexander Douglas McCurdy (August 2, 1886 – June 25, 1961) Memorial Trophy
J.A.D. McCurdy Trophy
On February 23rd, 1909, J.A.D. McCurdy piloted the Silver Dart at Baddeck, Nova Scotia, marking the first heavier-than-air flight to take place in Canada. The J.A.D. McCurdy Trophy was created by the Association to recognize outstanding achievements in the field of civil aviation. The purpose of the award is described on the trophy as follows: “IN RECOGNITION OF OUTSTANDING AND PRAISEWORTHY ACHIEVEMENTS BY CANADIANS IN THE FIELD OF CIVIL AVIATION.” Any Canadian citizen, group, unit or organization engaged in the various fields of civilian aviation or its support is eligible to be considered for this award. The Association has enlisted the assistance of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) to help identify appropriate candidates for this award. Recommendations are also welcome from members of the Association (including Members-At-Large).
F/Lt Douglas Marshall “Bitsy” Grant, DFC, (1920 – 1943) Memorial Award
Flight Lieutenant D.M. Grant, DFC Award
This award recognizes the “Air Reservist of the Year” and was established in memory of F/L Duncan Marshall Grant of 400 Squadron, killed in action on September 28th, 1943 when his Mustang aircraft was hit by flak and crashed. The purpose of the award is to officially recognize annually the person selected to represent the reserve component of the RCAF as “Air Reservist of the Year.” Any member of the Air Force Reserves engaged in military air service or support. The achievement(s) of the recommended recipient may include service to the nation in operations, outstanding contributions in support of international taskings or outstanding achievements in community activities, on or off-base.
Gordon R. McGregor Memorial Trophy
This trophy was established to commemorate the late Gordon R. McGregor, Past Grand President of the Association, in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the field of air transportation in Canada. The purpose of the trophy presentation is officially inscribed as follows: “IN RECOGNITION OF OUTSTANDING AND MERITORIOUS ACHIEVEMENT BY CANADIANS IN THE FIELD OF AIR TRANSPORTATION.” Any Canadian citizen, group or unit organization, engaged in the fields of military or civilian air transportation (to include the provision of aerial refueling services); or the support of such operations, are eligible. Recommendations of potential military recipients will be made by the Commander RCAF. Recommendations for non-military organizations or individuals will be coordinated by the Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC).
Golden Hawks Trophy
The Golden Hawks Trophy
The Golden Hawks Trophy was established in 1963 to recognize outstanding contributions or achievements in the field of military aviation in Canada. The trophy is named after the famed Golden Hawks aerobatic team, formed in 1959 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of powered flight in Canada as well as the 35th anniversary of the RCAF. In 2016, the NEC agreed to broaden the purpose of this award to specifically include excellence in the area of RCAF air or ground training. The purpose of the trophy as inscribed is as follows: “IN RECOGNITION OF OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS OR HIGHLY COMMENDABLE ACHIEVEMENTS IN ANY FIELD OF MILITARY AVIATION.” Any citizen, group or unit/organization engaged in any field of military aviation – specifically to include RCAF air and ground training – is eligible for consideration.
Andrew Charles “Andy” Mynarski VC (14 October 1916 – 13 June 1944) Memorial Trophy
The P/O Andy Mynarski, VC Memorial Trophy
The Mynarski Trophy was created by Polish members of the RCAF Association to recognize the outstanding heroism demonstrated by Pilot Officer Andrew Mynarski VC, a renowned member of 419 Squadron who gave his life to save others during the Second World War. The Mynarski Trophy is presented to the most deserving unit, individual or organization making the most significant contribution to air Search and Rescue (SAR) in Canada over the year. All units and individuals involved in providing air search and rescue in Canada are eligible to be considered for the trophy. Selection criteria include: Effectiveness in SAR operations, considering the intensity of activity and the established resources; Heroic performance of a crew or an individual during a single incident; A very special or outstanding contribution to SAR during the period by an individual; and Outstanding performance by an organization or individual in promoting Flight Safety and SAR training in the civilian sector.
NORAD Commemorative Trophy
The NORAD Trophy was inaugurated in 2008 to mark the 50th anniversary of the North American Aerospace Defense Command. It has been selected by the NEC for presentation to individuals or organizations which have made significant contributions to the preservation and perpetuation of Canada’s rich aviation history, values and traditions. The NORAD Trophy is awarded annually to the most deserving individual, unit or organization: “IN RECOGNITION OF THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO THE PROMOTION OF THE AIR FORCE MISSION, VALUES AND TRADITIONS.” Any Canadian individual or group, military or civilian, making a significant contribution to air force advocacy, the preservation of air force values, and/or the maintenance of air force traditions, history and heritage may receive this award. The Association has enlisted the assistance of the Canadian Aeronautical Preservation Association (CAPA) in identifying suitable nominations. CAPA will be asked to forward information on nominees in the same format as used by other nominating organizations. Nominations may also be submitted by Wings, Groups, the NEC, the RCAF and individual members (including Members-At-Large).
The Len Baldock Memorial Award for RCAF Association Member-of-the-Year
Introduced in 1962 by the RCAF Chief of the Air Staff, this award honours the Association member-of-the-year whose skills in performance, inspiration, enthusiasm and leadership in Association activities has been well above the ordinary. This award acknowledges superior performance throughout not only the year of its presentation but also performance over the
Distinguished Service Award
In 1973 the NEC approved the establishment of the Distinguished Service Award, in recognition and appreciation of distinguished service to the Association. Awarded to only two members annually, it is the highest award which may be presented to a individual by the Association.
Life Membership Award
In 1989, the Life Membership Award, the Association’s second most prestigious award, was established to award members in recognition of outstanding long and faithful service.
RCAF Association Trophy
Awarded annually to the Air Cadet Squadron deemed the most proficient in Canada
General Manager of the RCAF Association, Mr. Jack Gray, presenting the Wings at Home Trophy to Geoffrey Gradwell (700 Wing) in the top photo, and to Ron Palace (444 Wing Scarborough) in the bottom photo.
“Wings at Home” Trophy – A Group
Awarded to the Wing with the best Wing Bulletin in Wings with 150 or more members
“Wings at Home” Trophy – B Group
Awarded to the Wing with the best Wing Bulletin in Wings with fewer than 150 members
Ordre de la Tuque
Instituted by the RCAF Association Quebec Group
Order of the Golden Buffalo
Instituted by 500 Wing (Winnipeg) in 1964 in recognition of outstanding service to the RCAF Association.
-inaugural winner Mr. Herbert M. Bell (see Roundel, May 1964, Vol 16 no 4).
Order of the Side-hill Gouger
Instituted by RCAF Association Alberta Group
Order of the Big Foot
Instituted by RCAF Association Pacific Group
President Atlantic Group, Mr. J.A. Bardsley, pinning the order of the golden lobster on Air Marshal W. A. Curtis
Order of the Golden Lobster
Instituted by RCAF Association Atlantic Group
Order of the Canadian Shield
Instituted by RCAF Association Ontario Group
Peculiar Presentation of the Platinum Pig
Instituted by RCAF Association Ontario Group