Members of 17 Wing Winnipeg are offering help to their American neighbours who are stationed in the city.
Bumper stickers have been created for American troops with U.S. licence plates in hopes of stopping any potential vandalism or hostility.
The stickers read “U.S. Military Family Serving in Canada.”
Some U.S. air force members and family had their personal vehicles keyed and have been aggressively confronted when noticing out-of-country plates.
It’s been happening since the coronavirus pandemic began as some believed they were in the country for non-essential reasons.
“I think there’s been a lot of misunderstanding or fear on both sides of the border. Particularly with the pandemic,” U.S. air force Brig.-Gen. Edward Vaughan said.
“When you see an American licence plate, it may be tempting to jump to the conclusion that they may be here for purposes other than for those that might be authorized.”
The border between Canada and the U.S.A. has been closed to non-essential travel during the pandemic.
Both the Canadian Armed Forces and U.S. Air Force want to remind everyone that air force members are part of the community and helping to defend both countries from any threats.
They also say all public health guidelines are being followed by those stationed in Winnipeg.
“It’s an honour to be here. We’re respectful of Canadian laws and rules and want to be a part of the communities we’re in,” said Vaughan.
17 Wing is home to the Canadian headquarters of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, more commonly known as NORAD.
It’s a bi-national organization between Canada and the U.S. to monitor and protect North American air space from any potential threats.
Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, has said kindness, understanding and not jumping to conclusions will help everyone get through the pandemic.
“We’re here supporting the national defence of Canada. I’m just enjoying being a Winnipegger and an honourary Canadian as we’re stationed here,” U.S. air force Lt.-Col Dominic Litwin said in a video posted to social media.