By Mike Renzella
The Haldimand Press
CAYUGA—When you think of veterans, often the first image that comes to mind are soldiers landing on the beach at D-Day or heroically raising the flag on the beach at Normandy. But there is a new generation of veterans who have fought across a broad range of conflicts, and they deserve our attention just as much as their forefathers who went before them. Ian McDonald, a member of the Cayuga Legion, is one such local veteran.
“When I was starting third year of university, 9/11 happened. Coincidentally, it was around that time that I was losing interest in what I thought I wanted to do as a career,” explained McDonald. “I had always been interested in military aviation and one day my dad suggested I look into the Canadian Armed Forces.”
Motivated by the attacks on September 11, McDonald began researching where he could best help. Upon completing university, he enrolled in the Air Force and took on a position as an Aerospace Control Officer. “I monitor the skies of North America and control military aircraft using radar equipment.”
Once McDonald finished basic training in 2005, he completed his aerospace training in Cornwall and North Bay. “My first posting as a qualified aerospace controller was, coincidentally, to the Eastern Air Defense Sector in Rome, New York, the sector that responded to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and was featured in the movie United 93.”
Due to the NORAD agreement, McDonald has had a lot of opportunities to serve outside of Canada. After three years of service in Rome, McDonald was sent back to Cornwall to work as an educator training new recruits in Aerospace Control. “I found teaching new recruits how to do what I do very fulfilling.”