The NSAC Alumni Association presented the award of Distinguished Alumnus to Brigadier General Courtney S. Gilliatt, DFC, CD at the annual meeting in July 1993.
Courtney Gilliatt was born and raised in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. As a youth growing up on his fathers farm, he became proficient in climbing ladders to pick cherries, peaches and plums. This soon changed to climbing ladders of success to a distinguished military career.
He graduated from the NSAC in 1941 winning both the Governor-General's Medal and the Macdonald College Scholarship. He immediately enlisted in the RCAF serving as a flying instructor and Squadron Commander in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. His next posting was to operational flying with an RAF squadron in England and France where he won the Distinguished Flying Cross for is exploits.
After the war, he obtained his B.Sc.(Agr.) from McGill in 1947. He then returned to military service holding progressively responsible appointments and positions in a 35- year career as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces.
A few examples from General Gilliatt's very productive career will serve to illustrate the scope of his duties and responsibilities as well as the caliber of his achievements.
As a staff officer at Training Command Headquarters of both the RCAF and the USAF he was concerned with all aspects of scheduling, planning and programming of advanced single engine and jet training. He was Officer Commanding of the first Jet Advanced Flying School in the RCAF. In the area of Ground Training he had overall responsibility to meet the technical manpower needs to the RCAF.
As Director General Air Forces he was responsible for the preparation and co-ordination of all staff actions for policy decisions affecting the operational readiness of the air element of the Canadian Armed Forces.
He served as the Canadian representative at the preparatory planning conference in Panama for the Annual Conference of the Chiefs of Staffs of the Air Forces of the Americas.
While attached to the 4th Allied Tactical Air Force Headquarters at Ramstein Germany, General Gilliatt was responsible for leading multinational teams to evaluate the operational readiness of tactical fighter wings and missile units.
From 1972 to 1976 he served at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium. In this post he was employed as the Secretary of Staff; was the senior Canadian officer and the only Canadian General office at SHAPE.
From 1967 to 1972 General Gilliatt was Honorary Aide-de-Camp to Governors- General Vanier and Michener.
Because of this interest and involvement in international programs, he took an M.A. degree in International Affairs at Carleton University in 1977. He retired with the rank of Brigadier General.
General Gilliatt and his wife Helen live in Ottawa a but spend their summers at his old home in Annapolis Royal. They have three children.