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This article was published 3/12/2018 (353 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Wearing a green flight suit and sharing salutes with officers at 17 Wing Winnipeg, Gov. Gen. Julie Payette revisited her roots during a tour of the St. James Air Force base on Nov. 27.
"I’m part of the military family, very proudly so, and whenever I come to a base I really feel at home," she said, adding that she trained as a pilot with the Canadian Air Force in Moose Jaw, Sask., before beginning her astronaut training.
"It really prepared me very, very well. By the time I ended up at NASA I was very qualified because I had the chance to train with the best."
On Tuesday, Payette visited with the wing’s 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron and 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron before departing from Winnipeg following a two-day visit.
While standing in the cockpit of a CC-130 Hercules aircraft during a stop on the tour, Payette recounted her two trips to space and described the patches she wears on her flight suit. One patch includes an image of a rocket in outer space and the names of the six other astronauts she travelled with, while the other is a special brand of pilot wings outfitted with stars and an Earth.
"This particular wing is one that is given to those who have done both pilot training in the Canadian Air Force and have flown in space," said Payette, who is one of two people with the patch. "There will be more soon because we have upcoming astronauts."
Wing commander Col. Eric Charron was glad the Governor General took the time to meet with members in-person.
"Seeing the people, shaking hands, asking them what gets them excited about their job and giving them a chance to see someone of that importance really paying attention to their day-to-day jobs," he said. "We’re very happy to have her here."
Eva Wasney reports on arts, culture and life for the Winnipeg Free Press.