A change in command has happened at 19 Wing Comox, with the first female Wing Commander since its establishment in 1941.
Lt. -Col. Rhonda Stevens took over command of the base from Col. Bryn Elliott on Dec. 10. Stevens comes to command with lots of experience at 19 Wing.
After enrolling with the Armed Forces in 1993 and attending both College Militaire Royale de Saint-Jean and Royal Military College of Canada – getting her wings in 1999 from the Canadian Forces Air Navigation School (CFANS) – she took her first operational assignment with 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron.
Stevens would later return in 2010 as the operations officer and navigator on the CC-115 Buffalo and again in 2019 as the commanding officer.
The 19 Wing Commander will oversee three squadrons, the Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue, three support squadrons, the Deputy Wing Commander branch and 10 lodger units over the next two to three years.
Maj.-Gen. Eric Kenny says Stevens brings a new chapter to the Wing’s history.
“Lt.-Col. Stevens brings years of expertise and experience to a Wing she knows well. She has shown great leadership throughout her career and often during some of the most challenging of circumstances,” said Kenny.
“Her assumption of Command at 19 Wing marks an auspicious chapter in the Wing’s history as the first female Wing Commander since its establishment in 1941/42.”
Lt.-Col Stevens also has experience as an instructor at CFANS and as an executive assistant to the Wing Commanders in Winnipeg and Greenwood, N.S.
She was also appointed Officer In Charge of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax, a centre that handles more than 2,500 search and rescue cases annually.