Beaver Magazine article
I was asked to write an article for The Beaver magazine, now known as Canada’s History magazine, in 2009 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of flight in Canada. In “Canada’s Cold Warriors” described a North American Air Defence (NORAD) mission that took place in the 1970s. The fighter and target aircraft crews that participated were interviewed and recounted their part in the NORAD exercise.
The success of the “The Cold Warriors” article in The Beaver magazine indicated to me that a full account of NORAD would contribute to the history and understanding of the defence of Canada. The secret electronic wars fought in the skies above the “True North strong and free” should be recounted to Canadians so that they understand how we have and maintain the freedom of our great land.
My research confirmed that the Amalgam Mute exercise on the 10th May 1973 would provide an historic snapshot of those times with many of the participants available for interview. The interviewees included the fighter and target aircraft aircrew, the ground radar operators, intercept directors, squadron maintenance and armament personnel. Their stories are interspersed with a comprehensive explanation of the Cold War and technical description of the aircraft and radar systems. The exercise is described in detail with the benefit of inside knowledge, the author was involved in these missions, and draws the reader into the action.
The resulting book gives the reader a comprehensive overview, never available in one source before, of the NORAD operations in the skies above Canada as the public went about their daily lives totally unaware of the defensive shield above them. The fact that Canadian interceptors trained with, and had access to in the event of war, nuclear capable rockets for many years is not widely known.
The NORAD Agreement is one of the longest agreements between Canada and the USA and has been in effect for 60 years and still maintains its motto to Deter, Detect, Defend.
The Manual book was requested by Amberley Publishing as a companion to their very successful Spitfire Manual 1940. The book gives a brief history of the Avro Lancaster’s development and its World War Two contribution in the success of the bombing campaign. Excerpts from a wartime Maintenance and Descriptive manual, Air Ministry publications on technical subjects, and wartime instructional navigation notes complement personal accounts by crew members. A speech given by one of the pilots on the famous Dam Raids concludes the manuscript.