Last updated at 9:33 AM on 14/06/08  


Maj. Marty Tate (retired) proudly pins the wings on the uniform of his son, Lt. Philip Tate, during a 15 Wing graduation ceremony on Friday. Marty was himself awarded pilot wings at the Moose Jaw base in 1977. Carter Haydu photograph
Piloting legacy continues at 15 Wing graduation ceremony

CARTER HAYDU
The Moose Jaw Times Herald

As far as Father’s Day gifts go, inviting your retired pilot father, or grandfather, to pin your Air Force graduation wings on your military uniform is a nice one.
    That’s exactly what happened during the wings graduation ceremony of phase three training at 15 Wing Moose Jaw on Friday afternoon.
    Pinning the wings on 24-year-old Lt. Phillip Tate was his dad, retired Canadian Forces Maj. Marty Tate, who earned his pilot wings in Moose Jaw 31 years prior.
    Tate senior also helped establish 15 Wing as a NATO training facility while posted to the National Defence Headquarters as the directorate of air requirements in 1994.
    The fact his dad helped establish the flight school he graduated from this week made the experience even more special for Tate junior.
    “He built my future . . . This base is (largely) thanks to him,” Phillip said, adding it was fitting his father, who went to the same base three decades prior and eventually helped ensure the base’s future could be at this graduation before Father’s Day weekend.
    “To be honest, it meant a lot.”
    Marty was equally thrilled to pin those wings on his son.
    He said Phillip has wanted to fly since watching jets take off when he was eight months old.
    “It’s been a lifelong dream,” he said, adding his son is independent and hardworking and a source of pride for his father.   
    While Phillip received wings from his father Friday, classmate Lt. Will Livingston received his from his grandfather, retired flight officer Walter Knott.
    Knott served in the air force from 1954 to 1959, training NATO pilots at AFB Penhold, after which time he became a chartered accountant and eventually worked for the CBC.
    Knott said it was a wonderful present in advance of Father’s Day to be able to pin pilot wings on his grandson, half a century after his own air force career.
    “It was just marvellous. We’ve had a wonderful family and a wonderful life with (Livingston),” he said, adding it’s nice to see someone in the family follow in his footsteps.
    Livingston, 25, said having his grandfather pin his wings made the accomplishment of his training that much more special.
    Even though it’s Father’s Day weekend, Livingston felt he was the one being honoured.
    “I think it was a good gift for me.”
    In total, four pilots graduated to the next phase of training in Cold Lake, Alta., on Friday, including Phillip, Will, Lt. Andrew Ostrowski and 2nd-Lt. Andras Gottschall (from Hungary).
    Lt.-Col. Neil McDermid, from the Canadian Forces College served as reviewing officer.
    Ostrowski received the City of Moose Jaw Award, which is handed out to the graduate with the highest proficiency level.

Remembering the Moose Jaw years
After graduating from the Royal Military College of Canada in 1976, retired Maj. Marty Tate was posted to Moose Jaw’s air base, where he received his pilot wings and served as an instructor until 1982.
    During his son’s 15 Wing graduation ceremony on Friday, Tate was thrilled to be back in the Friendly City, reminiscing about his previous life as a Moose Javian.
    “My wife and I had a ball,” he said.   
    Aside from their son’s graduation ceremony, Tate said he’s also using this time in Moose Jaw to stroll down memory lane.
    “We went to see the first house we lived in,” he said, adding he would also be visiting his second Moose Jaw house.
— Haydu