FPC 59 honours the memory of Capt Thomas McQueen

Fighter Pilot Course 59
Fighter Pilot Course 59 organized a drive for the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in memory of Captain Thomas McQueen. Photo: OS Erica Seymour, 4 Wing Imaging

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The Courier – 4 Wing Cold Lake

Fighter Pilot Course (FPC) 59, which graduated in early March, decided to honour the legacy of Captain Thomas “Toast” McQueen, who was killed when his CF-18 Hornet crashed in November 2016.

Every FPC that graduates at 410 Squadron offers a class gift to the squadron as a way of saying thanks. This often takes the form of upgrades to the lounge or the barbecue area – a “quality of life” gift to make the workdays easier for squadron personnel.

“We sought the direction of a few of his close friends on base who are still very well connected with his family,” said Capt Tucker Densmore, one of the FPC 59 grads. “They said he was very heavily involved with the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum during his youth, so that would be a fitting place to honour him.”

The course members sent the idea up their chain of command, and received plenty of encouragement and advice. The effort began with a goal of $5 000, enough to have Capt McQueen recognized on the museum’s Major Donor wall. With individual donations and contributions from private businesses, the fund has reached $14 000 so far which meant that Capt McQueen now has a special plaque in his honour.

“We’re very excited about being able to do that,” Capt Densmore said. “People from across the base, and in fact from across the country got involved, as word got around that we were doing this fundraiser for Toast. As soon as I said the name Thomas McQueen, the museum was very eager to help in whatever way they could.”

In fact, just as the plaque was being installed on the major donor wall, the McQueen family happened to stop by and see how the donation run was going. “They got to see the memorial be put up, and they were very pleased with the donations and the outpouring of support to help honour him,” Capt Densmore noted.

The FPC graduates are pleased that the memorial will be near the McQueens’ home, in a place his family can visit. And as new fighter pilots, they feel they owe something to those who have gone before them.

The FPC 59 fundraising campaign has wrapped up, but the museum is still accepting donations in Capt McQueen’s name. Visit www.warplane.com for more information.

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