uggs at office City veteran honoured with 419 flight
The 419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron paid their respects to distinguished veteran soldier Alex Sim recently by taking him on an honorary flight.
This event symbolizes the link between this man’s generation of warriors and today’s, and allows for reflection on the sacrifices and contributions that so many brave men and women have made before us. This flight also represents appreciation for the enduring support of 419 Squadron given by the City of Kamloops, the city where 419 once was based, and the city where Alex currently resides.
Alex Sim, the Honorary Commanding Officer of 419 Squadron, was flown in a CT 155 Hawk aircraft by the incumbent Commanding Officer of the Squadron, Lt. Col. Lee “Midas” Vogan. Lt. Col Vogan was perhaps the most excited member of 419 and truly understands the meaning of the flight.
“Alex Sim is the conduit between Kamloops and 419 Squadron, a fantastic human being, a true military hero,” he said. Presidential Citation. To the current ‘Moose’ of 419, Lt. Col. Vogan, Alex is “a national treasure.” To this day, Alex remains very active in preserving the bond between 419 and Kamloops through his membership of No. 886 Squadron and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 52.
Alex was very excited and self admittedly a little nervous about his first fast jet flight, as were his wife, son, and daughter in law who not only watched his flight, but were there for every step of the process. Capt. David “Tickler” McLeod was in charge of making sure everything went smoothly and guided Alex through his G suit fitting and seat check. With his custom flight gear strapped on tight Alex said with a big laugh, “Did Billy Bishop have to go through all this?” With all the equipment in place and the seat check done, all that was left to do was head out to the aircraft and buckle up.
Alex’s family and several 419 pilots watched the July 16 takeoff with smiles as wide as could be, and while Lt. Col. Vogan and Alex were flying everyone was talking about the Honorary Moose. Capt. McLeod weighed in on the event, “It’s quite an honour to get him flying in a Hawk. . It’s awesome, the biggest thing for us is to have that connection with such a distinguished history.”
Major Stig Lorentzen, the Deputy Commanding Officer of 419 and Danish exchange officer, was filled with joy to be a part of the event where Alex, a man who he developed a bond with over the years, was to receive a well deserved honorary flight.
“Flying Alex is a great acknowledgement of the peace and freedom we enjoy today,” he said. “Veterans like Alex have a lot to teach us, we learn a lot from them, their stories bring what we do into focus and bring perspective to it all.”
After a perfect flight and landing the two Moose taxied off the runway towards anxiously waiting family and 419 members. The canopy of the jet was open and two thumbs were held high in the air as the jet came to a stop and began powering down. As Lt. Col. Vogan and Alex stepped out of the cockpit and stood next to each other, the event was made, and the bond was forged.
The final scene was the modern fighter pilot and the war hero fully embracing the moment and its significance. Alex stepped down the stairs after handling the fast jet flight extremely well, and immediately spoke on what he was feeling, “I don’t for a minute regret my association with 419 Squadron. This is the greatest honour I have ever had.”
Next Remembrance Day when 419 Squadron sends a group of Hawks to do a flypast in Kamloops, the Honorary Moose can look to the skies and feel proud of everything that he has done.