As part of this year’s 80th anniversary of Kamloops Airport, officials gathered on Tuesday for a rededication of the iconic CF-5 Freedom Fighter monument, gifted to the airport by Kamloops 419 Squadron in 1995 to mark the strong connection between the City of Kamloops, Kamloops Airport and the squadron, a relationship that dates from 1941. Recently, the aircraft was refurbished and moved to a new permanent home at the traffic circle near the entrance to the airport. From the monument, visitors can walk to and from the terminal building via Fulton Field Trail, also newly installed.
“We are very happy to be marking 80 years of serving our community, alongside our friends from the 419 Squadron,” said Ed Ratuski, managing director of Kamloops Airport. “Throughout our history, the airport has built strong connections with neighbouring businesses and associations, and few are as storied and enduring as the connection with the 419 Squadron.”
Adopted by the City of Kamloops during the Second World War, the 419 Squadron was first commanded by Kamloops resident John “Moose” Fulton, for whom Kamloops Airport was given the name Fulton Field by Canada’s Governor General in 1944.
“On behalf of CAE, I am proud to be here represent the NATO Flying Training in Canada program and 419 Squadron in Cold Lake, Alberta,” said Maj. CarI Cottrell, CAE Ground Based Training Team Lead, 419 Squadron. “As CAE has a rich Canadian heritage in support of Canadian pilot training, it is our pleasure to continue fostering this relationship and the rededication of this site. It is also a special honor to be representing the Moosemen of 419 City of Kamloops Squadron, who have such a rich history with the City.”
Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar, said the re-dedication of the CF-5 is “a wonderful way to clearly demonstrate the rich 80-year history of Fulton Field and also a window to the growth that is still to come.”
Mayor Ken Christian noted the 419 Squadron and the Fulton name hold a special place in Kamloops history.
“Moose Fulton created a legacy that lives on here in our city and in military tradition and the path and airframe are symbols of the importance of that relationship,” Christian said.
This anniversary milestone comes as Kamloops Airport continues to experience record growth, with 14 months of consecutive increases in passenger travel and the return of Air Canada Rouge’s popular Kamloops-Toronto seasonal service beginning July 4.