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ATESS welcomes new Honorary Colonel

Department of National Defence Press Release | March 23, 2023

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 36 seconds.

Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS) warmly welcomed the Squadron’s new Honorary Colonel (HCol), Mark Phillips, during an investiture ceremony at the 8 Wing/Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton Officers’ Mess, on March 10, 2023.

HCol Phillips’ primary job is the President of Mystical Distributing Company Ltd., however he maintains a large community presence through his entrepreneurship in local businesses and his volunteer work. In addition to HCol Phillips’ business ventures, he is involved in many volunteer organizations such as the YMCA Strong Kids campaign, and both the Trenton and Belleville Hospital Foundations, giving back to the local community in a variety of ways.

The new ATESS HCol, Mark Phillips (left), is joined by LCol Leslie Dicks, Commanding Officer of ATESS (right), joined by CWO Steve Hough, ATESS Squadron CWO (back), as Phillips formalizes his investiture as the squadron’s Honorary Colonel during a ceremony at 8 Wing Trenton on March 10, 2023. Karley Spencer Photo


“I feel very fortunate to be made the Honorary Colonel for Aerospace Telecommunications and Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS). It is easier to tell you what ATESS does not do, than it is to explain the scope of everything that does happen here. We don’t fly planes and we don’t load planes, but we enable those functions. The Squadron has 250 dedicated people doing everything the Canadian Armed Forces asks of them and I am proud and honoured to serve with them and to represent them as their Honorary Colonel.” — Honorary Colonel Mark Phillips, ATESS Honorary Colonel

“A former 8 Wing Commander once described the essence of an Honorary Colonel as someone who honoured and was proud of our past, someone who would foster and maintain the incredible relationship we have with the citizens in this community, a highly respected, and engaged individual who led by example, and embodied the values that we do in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Someone who puts service before self, who is dedicated to serving the members of Aerospace Telecommunications and Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS), and someone who supports our mission. Mark, the consensus is in, you are the perfect fit.” — Lieutenant-Colonel Leslie Dicks, Commanding Officer of ATESS

Quick Facts

  • The Honorary rank is “honorary and advisory,” and honorary rank does not confer authority or command function. Honoraries can provide continuity within the unit on matters of community events and activities, unit traditions, etc. – of importance can be speaking to new recruits and young officers on unit history and traditions.
  • The role of Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS) encompasses design, development, and production of aircraft systems and parts, and telecommunications equipment as well as software development support and engineering. ATESS also develops maintenance schedules for aircraft techniques for non-destructive inspection and provides technical training for Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) and Aerospace Telecommunication and Information Systems (ATIS) technicians.
  • Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS) is the only accredited design and manufacturing unit in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

This press release was prepared and distributed by the Department of National Defence

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