Branch Events- 2011

Branch Luncheons and Guest Speakers for 2011:

January 5 - Rod McDonald
February 2 - LCol Dalton Cote -  and Luncheon with Spouses (see home page)
March 2 - Branch Luncheon - An RMC Squadron Commander
April 6 - Lunch with the cadets in Yeo Hall followed by meeting in the Cadet Mess
April 28 Spring Formal Fundraiser - Special guest - Rt Rev. George Bruce
May 4 -  Branch Luncheon/AGM - Speaker: Dr J. Allen Stewart, Vice Principal, RMC
June 1 - Branch Luncheon - Lt(N) Paul Cervenko, doctor, served on the DART in Haiti.
July 6 - Branch Luncheon - Refocusing the Aghanistan Mission - LtCol Huet
August 3 - Branch Luncheon - Marine Museum of the Great Lakes - Ben Holth
August 5 - Summer Banyan - Music, Food and Friendship!
September 7 - Branch Luncheon - West Point Again! - Darren Cates - Director of Athletics
October 5 - Branch Luncheon - NCadet Reid/Maj Prendergast - 1st year cadet orientation*
November 2 - Branch Luncheon -Dr John Cowan - "The Canadian Discourse on Defence"
November 9 - Fall Formal Dinner - BGen Tremblay - Honoured Guest           
December 14 - Luncheon - Gilles Langlois - The CF Contractor Augmentation Program

DECember LunchEON

This month's meeting of the Branch was held on 14 December in the 'Coggins Club' of the Senior Staff Mess.

We heard a very interesting presentation from member Gilles Langlois about CANCAP, the Canadian Forces Contractor Augmentation Program that has assisted the CF in Bosnia and Afghanistan. This program is intended to free uniformed personnel from many of the logistics tasks during overseas operations. Most of the presentation featured the activities of contractor SNC-Lavalin-PAE since it was awarded the contract for this service for the period 2003 through 2012. Gilles' presentation helped us understand the immense complexity of the undertaking.

Also, we welcomed two members who attended for the first time - Bob Kozak and Henri Cardinal.

The fall formal dinner

Among the guests  at the Branch November Formal Dinner were the Commandant, Ted Hsu, local MP, Joel Sokolsky, RMC Principal, the cadet wing commander, Landon Lavictoire, (Hockey team captain) and from Ottawa, Mel and Emily Brown. Honoured Life members attending were John Plant, Danny McLeod, and Don Strong.  We also welcomed several new members from staff and the base.


       BGen Tremblay and LCol Brigid Dooley-Tremblay                   Gwyn Griffith, Landon Lavictoire, Al Pickering


In his first formal address to the members of the Kingston Branch, the guest of honour, BGen Tremblay spoke passionately about the Colleges, the present and the future. Some points of his address.

  • From his experience in a recent trip to China and from other military contacts, he judges that the RMCC is probably the finest military alumni club in the world.  Some military academies have nothing to compare. Others plan to model on ours.

  • The red and white program is being revived under a new title but he emphasized that the key to success will be in how well the branches actively participate.

  • The training of cadets on heritage, customs and military etiquette cannot be done by RMC military staff, but could be delivered by the alumni. he also stressed the role of the branches in making the public aware of RMC and its values.

Abandoning his notes, BGen Tremblay showed the audience how strongly he feels about putting the “M” back into RMC, and the early signs are that this is well received by the cadet body.


november LunchEON

There were three important parts to the meeting on 2 November 2011.
We celebrated the 90th birthday of Danny McLeod with a cake and a rousing rendition of 'Happy Birthday'.
We heard from two fourth year cadets, Joseph Parent and Colin McNaughton, who told us about their reasons for selecting RMC as a university

John Cowan, Principal Emeritus of RMC, spoke to us about the Conference of Defence Associations and the its related Institute. The Conference of Defence Associations Institute intersects with RMC in a number of ways.
    • It convenes an annual National Graduate Students Symposium which draws 150 attendees to hear bright, young students from across the country. It is intended to stimulate study and research in issues of defence and security. The symposium is equivalent to an international conference.
    • It holds the annual Vimy Dinner in Kingston which is attended by 650 people including a large number of cadets from the College.
    • It has a Board of Directors of 50 distinguished members many of whom are ex-cadets. Members of the Board provide ideas, conduct research and write papers that promote an informed and balanced discourse on matters of defence and security. Some of the work of the Institute has influenced policies of NATO.
The Institute has just launched a five year scheme that is intended to double its output of papers, provide speakers to organisations and to raise 1.5 million dollars to pursue its goals. John suggested that members of our Branch could contribute research and papers.

Prior to the presentation, Reg Watts announced the newest Branch Heritage program opportunity, whereby branch members have been invited by the Commandant to offer ideas on training recuits on RMC heritage, history and basic miltary etiquette. Further, if sn adequate program can be designed, the branch will be invited to deliver these lectures!


October LunchEON

Members attending the Branch meeting on Wednesday, 5 October 2011 were treated to hearing from NCdt David Reid, a senior who is the CWOpsO and the OC of the First Year Orientation Program (FYOP). David had the poise and style of an experienced public speaker as he told us everything about the program from teaching the recruits how to make a bed to their participation on the Obstacle Course. They are kept very busy from 05:00 until they fall into bed at the end of the each day. By the end of the FYOP, 170 first year cadets received their cap badges from Old Brigade members during Ex-cadet Weekend on 1 October.

 Commandant BGen Eric Tremblay explained the issues presented by the application of Canadian rights and freedoms and CF policies to the recruiting program. He asked the members for suggestions as he grapples with these issues. Two recruits are married with families. The oldest recruit is 25 and has had two 'jobs' since leaving high school. Our members were pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to the debate.





The resumption of the RMC vs West Point hockey game was the topic of program at the Branch meeting on 7 September 2011. Darren Cates, Athletic Director, started the presentation telling us about the reason for the suspension of the series in 2005 and the changing circumstances that have lead to the renewal. He credited hockey coach Adam Schell with working out the details and reaching agreement with West Point's coach Riley.



Adam explained that his key requirement was the ability to use any member of the Canadian Armed Forces, who is related to the College in some way, as a player. West Point agreed to this. The games in 2012 and 2013 will be in West Point to accommodate already scheduled series between the American service colleges. The upcoming game will be held on 4 February, 2012 two days after the Carr-Harris Cup in which RMC faces off against rival Queen's in Kingston. 


Landon LaVictoire is the captain of the hockey team and also the Cadet Wing Commander. He spoke about the quality and depth of the team this year and the keenness of the team to see the series resume.


Kirk Sullivan, another member of the team and the Cadet Wing Training Officer also attended the meeting.
Bill Oliver will be arranging a bus to take supporters of the team to West Point for the first game of the series renewal. Please contact Bill if you would like to attend the game and spend a weekend in West Point.




Presentation: Following the speaker, Gwyn Griffirh presented a cheque for $250 on behalf of the Branch, to Mike Jackson, to support his fund-raising for the Chasse-Galerie, taking place later this month.










Beautiful weather, great music, and another fine meal by the SSM chef - all contributed to a fine evening for a record turnout of over 100 branch members with guests. The fellowship was flowing along with the wine, and many memners had a chance to meet the new Commandant, BGen Eric Tremblay and his wife Briget. Also attending, ...Mooz, the new Chief of Staff.

Click here for Banyan Photos!



The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes was the topic of interest at the Branch meeting on Wednesday, 3 August 2011. Doug Cowie, General Manager, and Ben Holthof, Registrar/Curator, of the museum were the speakers. Ben covered some of the history of ship building in Kingston from the late 1700s to 1968. He also told us about the start of the museum in the 1960s by a group of dedicated divers and its move to the present site in the 1970s. The retired Coast Guard ship, "Alexander Henry" has been a prominent feature on the Kingston waterfront. Doug described some of the challenges that the museum has overcome and plans for the future. This museum is confronting some of the same issues being addressed by our own RMC Museum.



We were treated to another account of the Canadian Forces DART Mission in Haiti in early 2010 following the devastating earthquake. Paul, a medical doctor at the CFB Clinic where he treats cadets and others, served for 79 days on the mission, the longest of any of the CF members. He explained how the self-sufficient mature of DART is essential in a mission of this sort where there are no reliable water, food and accommodation. He also mentioned the value of transportation, a capability that most NGOs did not have. Conditions around the three places where the CF worked, Port au Prince, Léogane and Jacmel, were not safe and so security was very important and the length of time medical service could be provided each day was limited. The members of the Branch appreciate Paul’s taking time to tell us about his experiences.

Speaker: Lt(N) Paul Cervenko, MD and Charlie Simonds


May Branch luncheon

If you were wondering what is going on with all the construction around RMC, you should have been at the luncheon to hear Dr J. Allen Stewart, Vice Principal, RMC provide the history of planning and executing the essential changes to campus buildings. He described the driving deficiencies in unadorned detail, then how the plan unfolded over many iterations and finally how it was launched, progress and expectations to completion. Basically, the project is on schedule and within budget. A second rotation will occur this summer. Members had many questions which Dr Stewart handled with ease and good humour. Building codes are quite different now than in the 70's and 80's and the College is catching up quickly. Members' chief concern was about ongoing maintenance once the buildings are recommissioned.

Mike Jackson encouraged members to donate to the Danny McLeod Sports Fund through the annual Ottawa-Kingston paddle. (Contact Foundation)

Al Pickering invited members to form a table for the upcoming dinner in Trenton to support the Portraits of Honour project to honour the fallen in Afghanistan.


40 members of the branch were present at the Kingston Branch Annual General Meeting, held in the Coggins Room, SSM, May 4th, 2011. Highlights of the meeting:

  • A minute of silence for those members who had passed on during the last year:
      • 2131 Wattsford, George (class entering in 1929)
      • 2777 MacDonald, Ian (class entering in 1940)
  • All committee reports were summarized and approved. Positive progress was reported on all projects with the exception of the Book Awards program which is undergoing conversion to Grade 11.
  • A motion was carried to thank the Commandant for use of facilities and his support of the Branch.
  • Members thanked all Panet House staff for their assistance.
  • President's Remarks included:
    • Explanation of the workings of the executive committee through its meetings and leadership of the projects. Executive meetings are not "in-camera."
    • Highlights of the strategic plan of the Branch posted on the Branch website. Mr Watts stressed that our #1 goal is Fellowship.
    • Suggested that the parent club needs to do more to advocate on behalf of the College in light of expected government cutbacks.
    • Commented on the discouraging declining attendance at our three major events over the last three years; suggested that there still is a need to involve younger ex-cadets.
    • Our efforts over the last few years to increase active membership has borne few results; we need to increase the vitality of the current membership; in this regard we will be looking for a Director of Membership.
  • Officers for the next 2 year term were elected:
      • Past president: Ed Murray
      • President: Reg Watts
      • Vice president: Ray Dignum
      • Secretary: Andrew Robb
      • Treasurer: Gwyn Griffith
  • The members of the Club Branch approved a motion to express our appreciation to Peter Dawe for the progressive contribution he has made to the RMC Club of Canada over the past 9 years.
  • Museum director Jack Pike thanked the branch for the enormous contribution it is making to the museum operations.

Complete minutes of the Branch AGM HERE

Complete remarks of President  HERE


Branch Spring Formal

The  Kingston Branch Spring Formal was a record-setting event. Attendance was up due to the interesting guest speaker and a special group from the Class of '69, headed by Michael Gainer, who came to honour Danny and Sheila McLeod. Guests came from California, Toronto and Ottawa. keynotes of the evening:

  • The address by the Right Reverend George Bruce, Bishop of Ontario and ex-cadet #6090. In his excellent presentation he related the values he learned at RMC and which have served him well in both careers, military and in thechurch; his 3 C's are - Commitment, Community and Compassion. Rev Bruce used humour well to highlight his address to the guests, and he was warmly thanked by branch secretary Andrew Robb.

  • A special gift to Cmdre Bill Truelove and his wife Brenda was presented by branch president Reg Watts, who thanked him for his support of the branch during his term as Commandant.

  • Members rose to applaud Club Executive Director Peter Dawe in a tremendous show of appreciation for his work in advancing the Club and communicating to members as expressed by the branch president.

  • In a unique and heart-warming presentation, the Commandant gave a College coin to Sheila McLeod because of her support of Danny and the College.

  • Special guests were introduced, Senator Joe Day, Hon. Peter Milliken, all honourary life members of the club, DCadets Sue Wigg, CWC Andrew Wong and officers of the branch.

  • Anniversary! On the eve of the Royal wedding, one of senior branch members and his wife, Craig and Marlene Moffat celebrated theirs to the applause of branch guests.

  • Photo show of the evening below:

The Spring Formal Photos




College Tours - Another Museum Support Project Off and Running!

The Tour Guides Group is formed as a part of the Kingston Branch Heritage Committee. In order for the Curator of the RMC Museum, 8057 Ross McKenzie, to have more time to do Museum work, it is essential that he reduce the time spent on conducting tours for visitors to the College. Consequently, a group of Kingston Branch members have volunteered to conduct those tours that the Commandant does not get personally involved in, nor those involving recruiting and admission of candidates.

Members of the group are: 2864 Pierre Bussières, 3826 Don Coulter, 5256 Gwyn Griffith, 4459 Ed Murray, 2908 Al Pickering, 5611 Gerry Stowe and 5300 Bob Thomas. Bob Thomas led the first tour for the group on Tuesday 5 April
, a group of about 20 foreign officers and their wives from the CF Language School in Ottawa.  It was a particularly cold day so they spent most of the time in Mackenzie Building and Currie Hall, discussing the history of the College and the current programme.  It went well and they asked a variety of insightful questions.

Gwyn Griffith has one on Friday 15 April, and Gerry Stowe will lead a tour on Wednesday 13 April.

Gerry Stowe is the Group organizer and he expects the group to do one or two tours each week in the foreseeable future. As an incidental note from Ed Murray,  the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, also uses alumni volunteers for tours of the Academy.

April  Branch Luncheon

New member - 11014 Steve Thompson class of 1976  - far right


In a break from our traditional luncheon format at the RMC Senior Staff Mess, members joined the cadet body for drinks in their mess west of the new gym, then lunch in Yeo Hall. This event was at the invitation of PMC (Cadet Mess Chair 24766 Gabor "Smokey" Somogyvari)  and details were arranged by branch member Bill Oliver.

Meals are quite different from our days, now cafeteria-style, with lots of selection. Members split up to join cadets of different classes at tables around the Hall. This was a great experience for both members and cadets as anecdotes were exchanged and cadets explained their progress, problems and highlights, while members couldn't help but tell a few tales of "when we were here...."  Nostalgia reigned!

Following lunch, members were treated to presentations by cadets from each of first, second and fourth year. These were outstanding. It was quite remarkable to hear the clarity of thought, commitment and energy from these young men; Cadets I, 26170 Powis; II, 25804 Holken and IV, 24895  Litowski. My apologies to N/C Holken whose photo I missed.

Andrew Robb Introduces O/C Somogyvari:              O/C Litowski                    O/C Powis

I will be asking members at the AGM if they wish to repeat this event in 2012.

March Branch Luncheon 

           Capt Wedland                            LCdr Antoniewicz                       O/C Somogyvari

  • Guest speakers were Capt Lee Wendland, supported by LCdr Roman Antoniewicz RMC Division and Squadron commanders, respectively. Capt. Wendland described the role, the busy 60 hour week and typical working day of an RMC squadron commander. In explaining the most significant difference in leading today, vs. the experience of the audience, Capt Wendland outlined the generational difference and communication technology as major issues. Members attending vigorously questioned the Captain on how he deals with Generation Y, or the entitlement generation, and were surprised at the limitations of disciplinary options. Equally disturbing was the fact that class/year distinctions are becoming blurred by the academic program structure. Nevertheless, members enjoyed the frank and open discussion by these two officers of their issues in creating leaders at RMC. Some good news though, there are attempts underway to restore the honour bar slate in the third term.

  • Gwyn Griffith read a note of thanks from the Wattsford family for our donation.

  • Bill Oliver introduced 24766 O/C Gabor Somogyvari, President of the cadet Mess, who invited the members to take our April luncheon in the cadet mess. Details to follow.


February Branch Luncheon 

  • Guest speaker  - LCol Dalton Cote described several aspects of his peacekeeping mission in Sudan. This was very timely, considering the recent election results in southern Sudan. As team leader operating from Juba, he was exposed to all of the factors surrounding the "birth of a nation."  After a slideshow of the countryside, Dalton described the likely future roles of Canada and the Un, then entertained a lively discussion on the possible geopolitical outcomes of the division of the country. A recent article on the mission is attached. Click here                  

  • This luncheon was open to spouses, partners and special guests, and many took the opportunity to share our monthly fraternalism.

  • The RMC  mountaineering team was present to share their experiences with members, on their recent mountain conquest in Argentina. Next goal - Kilimanjaro!

  • A presentation of $5,000 from the Kingston Branch to the RMC Museum Operations fund was made by Reg Watts, Branch President to Rod McDonald, the new EVP of the RMC Foundation. The Branch is leading a nationwide fundraising campaign among other branches and class reps to meet the goal of $80,000, and this gift was our kickoff to the campaign.


January Branch Luncheon Report

Rod McDonald - On the Duties and Responsibilities of The RMC Registrar

Rod has recently resigned his position as Registrar at RMC to take up the staff leadership position at the RMC Foundation, for which we all wish him the best. But It was an exciting opportunity for the branch members to hear in detail, the functions that are the responsibility of the Registrar, and the many restrictions and complications surrounding the position. Members stayed longer than normal with many questions and comments, and without summarizing his entire presentation, here is a significant challenge put forth by the ex-registrar:

The withdrawal of budget for the Red and White program effectively saw it draw to a conclusion. This leaves a tremendous void, as the only active recruiting channel for cadet candidates now is the CF recruiting offices. There is clearly a role for the branches here, and it will be interesting to see if the governors of the Club take up the challenge and organize the branches to fill this gap. Rod described some technology tactics to support cadet recruiting, but the major gap will have to be filled by an active, organized volunteer program.




At ease!