Lieutenant-General Coates is the Deputy Commander North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, CO. Lieutenant-General Coates joined the CF after completing his post-secondary education at the University of Calgary with majors in chemistry and biochemistry.
Upon entering the Canadian Forces he was trained as a helicopter pilot. His flying career started as a reconnaissance pilot flying light observation helicopters with 444 Squadron in Lahr, Germany and 430 Squadron in Valcartier, Québec. He also flew utility helicopters with both 408 Squadron in Edmonton, Alberta and 427 Squadron in Petawawa, Ontario.
He led the deployment of three helicopters to England and France during Canada’s celebration of the 50th Anniversary of D-Day and spent six months as a Forward Air Controller with the UN Protection Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Lieutenant-General Coates served as the Air Component Commander during support to the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, returned to Bosnia-Herzegovina for the second time, serving as the CO of the Canadian Helicopter Detachment for seven months, and he led the rerole of 427 Sqn from a Tactical Aviation unit to a Special Operations Aviation Squadron.
In his staff appointments Lieutenant-General Coates has served as an operations officer with 10 Tactical Air Group HQ in St Hubert, 1 Wing HQ in Kingston, with the Air Staff in Ottawa and as the CAOC Director in Winnipeg. He has contributed to the planning and execution of aviation support to a variety of domestic operations, including forest fires, ice storms, and floods. He has been involved with the air and aviation planning for Canadian missions to Haiti and Honduras, the first Canadian tactical aviation deployments to both Bosnia and Kosovo, air support for the French-led mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as Canada’s mission to Afghanistan. As the CAOC Director for the Canadian NORAD Region he coordinated NORAD’s response to numerous increased operational requirements, including Canadian domestic operations and Northern sovereignty.
After Winnipeg Lieutenant-General Coates was appointed Commander of 1 Wing in Kingston, in charge of all Canadian combat helicopter Squadrons. While commanding 1 Wing he was also appointed as the first Commander of the JTF-Afghanistan Air Wing in Kandahar where he led the deployment and establishment of new air and aviation capabilities in Afghanistan. It was during this period and under his leadership that Canada re-established its Chinook helicopter capability, directly in to the combat theatre of operations.
Lieutenant-General Coates served as the Deputy Commander Continental NORAD Region based at Tyndall AFB, Florida. In June 2013 he returned to Canada as Deputy Commander Continental at Canadian Joint Operations Command. Most recently, Lieutenant-General Coates served as Director Operations at NORAD for a period of three years.
Lieutenant-General Coates has completed Canadian Forces Land Forces Command and Staff College in Kingston and Command and Staff College at the Institut royal supérieur de la défense in Brussels, Belgium. He attended the USAF Air War College in Montgomery Alabama completing a Masters of Strategic Studies. Lieutenant-General Coates has completed the USAF Combined Force Air Component Commander Course, as well as both Capstone and Pinnacle courses. He served as an air cadet with 781 RCACS in Calgary and 533 RCACS in St Albert, and enjoys outdoor pursuits and woodworking in his leisure time.