The distinguished service and flying career of LGen Lou Cuppens, CMM, CD, started as a gunner officer and a pilot in the Air OP and continued in the unified forces. LGen Cuppens achieved the most senior rank of all those who qualified as army pilots and were engaged in active flying duties.
LCol (Ret'd) A. Victor Coroy
General Cuppens retired as the Deputy Commander in Chief (DCINC) of the North American Aerospace Defense Command at Peterson Air Force base, Colorado, USA. Gen. Cuppens was born in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He enrolled in the Canadian Army (Regular) in 1963 having served in Saint John, NB’s 3 Fd Regt, RCA. Commissioned as an officer in the Artillery, he served in the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in Canada and in Europe.
Subsequent to selection for pilot training in 1969, he underwent flying training in at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden, Ont., CFB Gimli, Man., and CFB Rivers, Man. He was awarded his wings in 1970
After brief tours as an artillery air observation post pilot, and as a pilot with 422 Squadron, Gen. Cuppens was assigned to 403 Squadron as a helicopter instructor and standards pilot. He completed the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College (Land) at Kingston, Ont., in 1975.
Upon promotion to Major, Gen. Cuppens was assigned as a staff officer to 10 Tactical Air group Headquarters (10 TAG). After completing the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College, with distinction, he was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel and appointed to command 403 Squadron. He was awarded the Order of Military Merit in the grade of Officer.
Thereafter, he was assigned to Air Command Headquarters as senior staff officer tactical helicopters and concurrently filled the position of senior staff officer operations. Upon promotion to the rank of Colonel, he was appointed Deputy Commander of 10 TAG.
In March 1986, Gen. Cuppens was appointed the Chief of Liaison Services and the Commander of the Canadian Contingent Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai, Egypt (the “Camp David Force"). In 1987, he was assigned to National Defence Headquarters as the Director Military Plans and Operations.
In July 1989, he was promoted Brigadier-General and appointed Commander of 10 TAG. In 1992, Gen. Cuppens was promoted Major-General and appointed the
Deputy Commander of Air Command (Canada’s Air Force). In 1994, he was assigned as the Director Combat Operations NORAD (J3), in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.A. He was promoted within the Order of Military Merit to the grade of Commander.
In July 1995, Gen. Cuppens was promoted Lieutenant-General and was appointed by Canada and the United States of America as Deputy- Commander-in-Chief of the North American Aerospace Defense Command. At the retirement ceremony, in April 1998, the government of the United States of America awarded Gen. Cuppens the Legion of Merit.
Gen. Cuppens and his spouse, Christine Fitzpatrick, of Saint John, N.B. parented a son and a daughter, Sean and Gretchen, who have both served as members of the Canadian Forces. Christine passed away in 2002 after a brave struggle with cancer. In 2005, Gen Cuppens married Patricia LaPierre (Larisey) formerly from Halifax, NS, and the Cuppens’ reside in Nauwigewauk, New Brunswick. Gen. Cuppens remains involved in aerospace, defence and security and veterans support. He is past president of the New Brunswick Aerospace and Defence Association. Since 1999, he has chaired the Defence Committee of Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion. While in that position, he represented the Legion on the CF/VAC Advisory Council that led to the creation of the Modern Day Veterans legislation. He has served as National President of the Federation of United Services and Military Institutes. He has held various executive positions within the Corps of Commissionaires and was the National President of the Last Post Fund. General Cuppens remains committed to his community—he volunteers at the Regional Hospital and supports his church. In April 2008, he was awarded the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation for his support to veterans and commemoration.