William Joseph (Alf) Tait was born in Stonecliffe, ON March 19, 1937. He attended grade school in Stonecliffe and graduated from High School (1953) in Campbell’s Bay, QC.
Came to Canadian Army Aviation like many other former RCAF types by a somewhat circuitous route.
Joined the RCAF as an Airman in Toronto ON May 25, 1954. After basic and trades training, I was posted to Sydney NS to a Radar site. Soon, I realized that Aircrew was the way to go. I was selected as a Navigator and graduated from Course 5601 as an Airborne Interceptor (AI) Navigator. After the OTU at Cold Lake AB, I was posted to North Bay ON to 433 Sqn in August 1957. Later I served on 414 Sqn and spent 1200 hours as a back-seater in the CF-100 Canuck. Posted thereafter to Moise QC and a year later transferred to the Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC).
After the required “stint” at the RCASC School in Camp Borden ON, I was allowed to apply for Army pilot training. The usual route from Centralia ON to Rivers MB was followed. Courses at CJATC Rivers were L-19 Bird Dog, (to wings standard), Hiller CH-112 (RW qualification) and later the H21/44 in Trenton ON. Posted on Exchange to Fort Benning Georgia USA to instruct on the Chinook. While there I flew the T41, T42 (Beach Baron), Huey and attended the US Army Rotary and Fixed Wing Instrument Examiner Courses.
Then to Petawawa ON to the re-activated 403 (HOT) Sqn as an instructor on the CH118.
Had to complete the ICP Course on the DC-3 Dakota since Canada did not recognize the US Instrument Examiner Courses.
Alas, NDHQ was next as Desk Officer for the purchase of our first 10 Chinooks. Six months in Viet Nam followed and then two years were spent obtaining my BA at Carleton University in Ottawa ON. Then back to flying via Gagetown NB to 408 Sqn Edmonton AB. After four years went to Winnipeg MB as a staff officer at Air Reserve Group HQ. Then on to Tinker AFB Oklahoma USA on AWACS as a NORAD Mission Commander and finishing my MBA Program whilst there. Then posted as CO of the Recruiting Center in Hamilton ON. BGen Les Rowbottom then made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I transferred to the Air Reserves and retired in Winnipeg MB as a LCol with 40 years Service to Her Majesty The Queen.
I have been very active with the Royal Canadian Legion, Charleswood Branch 100 in Winnipeg, having been President three times. I have been on the Executive for 28 consecutive years and am currently serving as Chairman.