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Maj DP (Don) Chambers RCASC

20 May 36 -




Donald Paul Chambers was born 20 May 36 and raised in the east end of Toronto, primarily in the Riverdale and Leaside areas. He attended Leaside High School in the years 1950-55 and simultaneously was a member of 172 Leaside Air Cadet Squadron. Following graduation from high school, he enrolled in the Electronics program at what was then the Ryerson institute of Technology and graduated in 1958. While at Ryerson, he was accepted for the COTC program at 5 Column RCASC (M) and was ultimately commissioned as a 2Lt.

Shortly after, he joined the Regular Force in 1959 and was posted to his first employment at 2 Coy RCASC in Lakeview ON. There followed several logistics postings in Toronto, North Bay and Lakeview ON.

In 1964, he began flying training on the venerable DHC Chipmunk at RCAF Station Centralia ON, followed by L19s in Rivers, the CH-112 Hillers at BHTU also at Rivers and then H21s in Trenton. These four courses consumed one calendar year, ending in May 1965.

Then followed a ground posting to the RCASC School, Camp Borden, a tour in the Gaza Strip with United Nations Emergency Force and ultimately, in 1967, the multi-engine conversion and instrument rating course at RCAF Station Portage la Prairie, MB.

This being the beginning of the integration of the Forces, Don went east to VU-32 Squadron at CFB Shearwater NS learning to fly the CS2F Tracker during maritime operations. Once qualified, he became part of the first ‘tri-service’ aircrew members of VS-880 Squadron and became the one and only Army pilot to operate fixed wing aircraft from H.M.C.S. Bonaventure.

Capt Chambers left the maritime environment in 1971 and was posted to 450 Transport Helicopter Squadron in Ottawa until moving downtown to NDHQ in 1975 as a Pilot Career Manager. Don was promoted Major in 1977 and was assigned as the Deputy Commander 444 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Lahr, Germany.

He returned to NDHQ in 1981 for French Language Training, and then the following year he served as Staff Officer Air Doctrine and Operations in the Directorate of Land Aviation until retiring in early 1985.

Upon leaving the Services, Don joined MBB Helicopter Canada Ltd. as Manager Military Sales in Ottawa. By 1987 he was their Director of Government Programs. From 1990 to 1992 he was the Vice-President of Marketing based at Fort Erie, Ontario.

Don left MBB in 1992 and became a partner in Gryphon Associates and, part-time, flew passengers over Niagara Falls for Niagara Helicopters.