Branch Luncheons and Guest Speakers for 2013:
July 3 - Col.(ret) Ted Nurse - Writing Danny
August 7 - Jeffery Schamehorn - JointEx, the exercise among all three services
August 14 - BanYan
September 4 - Clay Samis
October 2 - No Speaker
November 6 - BGen (ret) Serge Labbe
December 4 - LCol Patrick Lemyre, D Cdts.- the state of the cadet wing
Branch members were treated to an inside look at the Cadet Wing and changes that
are in the works. Our speaker was LCol Patrick Lemyre, Director of Cadets who
titled his talk, "The Cadet Wing Big Picture". In this position he oversees the
military and training aspects of the Cadet Wing with his staff of 43. He has
been challenged in his 18 month tenure by a large turnover of training staff,
staff training and maternity leaves resulting in the doubling up of duties and a
very heavy workload for those remaining 'on the ground'.
remilitarization of the Cadet Wing started about seven years ago and has been
making steady progress. Patrick told us that the senior 'bar cadets' are
understanding the changes and providing significant leadership. The next step is
to help the more junior 'bar' cadets come to the same stage.
military training aspect of the College has been changed to focus more on the
immediate future of the cadets as they look forward to graduation. The cadets
feels good about the change as they are learning what they need to know now and
have a little more time for academic studies. Related to this is a change in
schedule. Only one weekend a month is devoted to military training and these
weekends are scheduled to relieve pressure on key study periods. The annual
Drill Competition was moved to November from a winter month. Senior 'bar' cadets
are taking a significant and effective role in the training of the other cadets.
Part of Patrick's talk was titled 'creating opportunities and tools'. In this
revision, changes are being made to:
routine: mandatory Monday inspections; Cadet Wing parade every Wednesday
before the Professional Military Training lectures; morning PT;
the manner in
which cadets move around the campus; 'disciplined walking' is required; a
marching gait with arms swinging;
between years as identified by privileges; more privileges will be earned as
cadets progress from one year to another;
the Cadet Wing
operations manual (CADWINS) will be updated for the first time since 2009.
part of the talk that captured the attention of the members is a new
"Progression Model". This program is still in the development stage and will, if
implemented, put emphasis on cadets making progress on all four pillars
(leadership, academics, athletics, bilingualism) of the College as they move
from year to year starting in September 2014. Only cadets who are making
satisfactory progress under this concept will be considered for 'bar'
positions. If expected progress is not being made, privileges may be withheld.
Photo: LCol Patrick Lemyre, the current DCdts with two previous holders of this
role, Bob Thomas and Al Pickering.
We regret that we have decided to cancel the
14 November dinner advertised earlier. The parameters under which the mess now
operates have a resulted in high ticket price, one which your executive is not
prepared to proceed with at this time. We sincerely regret the loss of an
opportunity to dine together and regret any inconvenience this may cause for our
members. We will continue to look for a way to address this issue so that our
Spring dinner may be held.
Kingston Branch Executive
Our members had the
privilege of hearing from BGen (ret) Serge Labbé at their Remembrance Day
meeting on 6 November 2013. Serge had a varied career in the Canadian Forces
that took him to many international hot spots before retiring in 2008. After
retiring and up until February of this year he returned to Afghanistan and
served as a civilian advisor to the Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and
Development, as a senior political advisor in the NATO Senior Civilian
Representative Office and as senior strategic partner to the four agricultural
and redevelopment ministries. He completed this assignment as senior policy
advisor to the Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in Kabul.
Serge spoke to us on his
experiences in Afghanistan with particular emphasis on the sacrifices made by
members of the CF serving there. He lauded the military leadership and the
professionalism of all the ranks that served there. He was less kind in
describing some of the political decisions made during Canada’s involvement in
the war. We benefited from a passionate leader giving us an insider’s view of
Every time something had
to be done for the first time, Canadian forces did it and did it well. He made
particular note of the leadership of generals Leslie and Hillier and LCol Ian
Hope (who spoke to our members a few years ago). Operation Medusa, which started
in September 2006, was described as the most significant battle fought by
Canadians since the Korean War and during which 30 members were killed.
Since the end of roles
for Canadian troops in combat in Afghanistan, Canada has been the second largest
contributor to the new training mission.
Serge’s final slide was
of a tablet in the Commonwealth cemetery in Afghanistan showing some of the
names of Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice. On this portion of the
tablet is the name of Capt. Nichola Goddard of 1 RCHA, an ex-cadet and the first
Canadian woman to be killed in combat. The other ex-cadet killed in
Afghanistan was Capt. Matthew Dawe of the PPCLI.
The Afghanistan War,
which spanned 2001 to 2014, resulted in 158 Canadian killed and 635 wounded.
“Lest We Forget”.
There was no speaker for this luncheon,
however a presentation was made to 4976 Reg Watts by Brian Bailey on behalf of
the Club President for Reg's efforts in leading the RMC Club Strategic Review.
the meeting of our Branch on 4 September 2013, we were introduced to some of the
tribal tensions and United Nations activity in the eastern border region of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. Clay Samis, a graduate from 1963 and a
classmate of our president, Ted Davie, told us of his experience there, as part
of a recent UN mission.
Tribes from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo seem to be always struggling to
get an upper hand on the lands and the rich mineral deposits in the Congo. The
Congo government in Kinshasa makes a less than half-hearted attempt to exercise
control over the border area. The region is awash in weapons and armed groups.
United Nations has a mandate to deal with the foreign armed groups. The main
focus is to encourage warrior tribesmen to put down their arms and return home.
The only tools at the disposal of the 'peace-keepers' are pamphlets, videos, and
radio & television broadcasts. Some of the warriors have turned themselves in.
Their weapons are taken, the people are processed in transit camps and then
transported to their home countries. Many have their families with them.
Within the last two years, a new rebel group called M23 has emerged with 1,200
to 2,000 warriors. They have laid siege to Goma, where Clay was stationed. One
day prior to M23's first attack, Clay had travelled south to visit another
station. He received word that he should not return to Goma as the UN group was
Clay told us of the situation up to this week. There seems to be no prospect for
a solution to the tensions in the foreseeable future due to:
the absence of
a Congo governmental presence in the eastern region;
incentive created by the minerals in east Congo;
the lack of
experience in effective governance by the people in Congo and adjoining
Col.(ret) Ted Nurse spoke to the meeting of the Kingston Branch of the RMC Club
on 3 July 2013 about the book he has completed writing on the life of Danny
McLeod. Danny is a beloved member of our branch who was Athletic Director at the
College from 1960 to 1972. Ted was introduced to Danny for the first time five
or six years ago by the late Bob Billings. It was Bob who encouraged Ted to
write the book about this outstanding soldier, athlete, athletic executive, NHL
executive and car salesman extraordinary.
Ted described his getting to know Danny and learning about the details of his
life. This was not easy as Danny is very reluctant to talk about himself or to
indicate that he is 'special'. The interviews started in 2009 and sometimes took
place twice a week. Their friendship was cemented during one of Danny's
'battlefield tours' in 2010 during which he learned of Danny incredible
organisational ability. Once Ted did get him talking, he learned that Danny has
an incredible memory, never tells a lie and never embellishes a fact. The book
is a biography rather than a memoir so it includes information from many others
who know and worked with Danny.
Ted described the task of working with a publisher including the change of
title and constraining the extent of the book. He concluded his talk with a few
vignettes of Danny's life and getting stories about Danny from others.
The book titled "Always a Leader" will be available in early September.
Gen.(ret) John de Chastelaine was kind enough to write a 'Forward' for the book.
Contact any member of the Branch executive for details or to get your name on a
list for a copy of the book.
Danny's wife, Sheila, joined us at the meeting on Danny's behalf who was unable
Ted is a career armoured officer who commanded the 8th Canadian Hussars before
attaining the rank of Colonel. Following retirement in 1997, he was the Kingston
area regional manager for the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires.
large number of interested members turned out to hear Dr. Robin Boadway tell us
about a report on governance of the academic staff of the College. Robin was one
of three ex-cadets on a commission that studied the governance situation at the
College on behalf of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). He
explained some of the background giving rise to the request by CAUT and 12
issues that were examined and the recommendations for each. The commission
recognized that RMC is unique and different from civilian universities in that
it has a mandate to prepare officers for the Canadian Forces and well as
providing a university education. Nonetheless some structures and procedures at
civilian universities should be adopted within RMC. The members feel strongly
that two separate governance structures, one for the military and one of the
academics, can function together effectively. Among the recommendations, the
following were highlighted:
of the Canadian Defence Academy towards training vs education
resulted in it being no longer appropriate to be in the chain of command above
the 'rank' of
the Principal should be returned to equivalency with that of the Commandant;
the creation of
a separate academic budget under control of the Principal, accountable to the
Board of Governors, and within the defence budget;
should be appointed Vice Chancellor, as is the case in most civilian
universities, and the Chancellor's position be re-assigned from the Minister
of National Defence to the Governor General;
staff should be involved in the selection of the Principal, Deans and
department heads and in academic promotions; the role of the civil service HR
should be strictly supportive;
the position of
Director of Administration should be re-created with a mandate to oversee
administrative and support processes and issues;
establishment of a formal tenure process; this would guarantee academic
freedom and be a device for quality control of academic members.
meeting was attended by Dr. Joel Sokolsky, the current principal and Dr. John
Cowan, immediate past principal. They each made remarks pertinent to the
recommendations of the review commission and both
that the report is a good one and will be helpful in overcoming some issues if
it is considered seriously. Joel offered an opinion that the main area of
concern is between the academic staff and the civilian authorities in the
federal civil service rather than with the military. John suggested that the
informal consultative processes that used to be followed, should be
re-instituted and then formalised one at a time.
Henri Cardinal, a Branch member and ex-cadet, spoke to the members on 1 May 2013
about his experience with the Montreal Police Department's use of a helicopter
during the period from 1997 to 2000. Henri had been a helicopter pilot in the
Canadian Air Force before joining the Montreal Police. The police force had
limited experience with this type of aircraft back as far as 1960. In 1997 it
had an opportunity to share a helicopter with the RCMP with the national force
carrying most of the costs. Henri was one of two pilots, the other being from
the RCMP. Some of his most interesting experiences was when he was working with
the RCMP on its projects.
Henri explained how the pilot and observer in the craft were able to assist
ground forces track down suspects on foot, keep track of vehicles during car
chases and scan areas to declare them clear much faster than could be done on
the ground. The senior decision makers were not very visionary and did not seem
to grasp the value of the airborne eyes to officers on the ground and so the use
of helicopters was not continued on a regular basis.
Most of the work was done at night to coincide with store closing times and bar
closings and to avoid conflicts with commercial aircraft in and out of Trudeau
Airport. The helicopter was equipped with some high tech devices to help spot
their targets. Henri used the relationship-building skills learned in the
Canadian Forces to win support for the air service among ground-based police and
air traffic controllers at Trudeau.
Thank you to Henri for a very interesting presentation.
Kingston Branch met again in the Cadet Mess while the Senior Staff Mess is
undergoing renovations. We heard an interesting message from Anthony Matlock who
served as a parliamentary intern with the federal government in Ottawa from
September to December 2012. Even before reaching RMC, Anthony had an impressive
resume of adventure travel and volunteer work around the world. While at RMC he
started the Expedition Club about which we heard earlier this year.
Anthony was assigned to Conservative MP Chris Alexander who is the Parliamentary
Secretary to the Minister of National Defense and who became his mentor. He
worked in Ottawa and in Mr. Alexander's Ajax-Pickering riding office. His
experience covered three areas: communication, special projects and outreach.
Working behind the scenes in Ottawa he was involved with intergovernmental
correspondence, the taking of minutes and the preparation of briefing notes. In
the riding, he made a five minute video 'Life of an MP' for Mr. Alexander,
intended to reach out to young people in the riding.
Anthony feels that the time as an intern was well spent. It expanded his studies
by being able to ask "Why?" to decision makers in Ottawa. This gave him a
perspective he would not have gained in the classroom. The experience also
advanced his leadership skills by working in an environment with a high level of
accountability and where strategic thinking as in play every day. He was
impressed with the drive and passion of the parliamentary staffers and the civil
While in Ottawa he was required to pay his own room and board.
At the Branch meeting on Wednesday, 9 February we learned about the
College's Expedition Club from three adventuresome cadets. Colin Strong (3rd
year; Air Force; Kentville, NS) is the past president of the club and explained
the structure of the club including the advisory committee of experienced
cadets, officers and ex-cadets. There also is an executive committee of current
cadets who plan the year's activities in consultation with members of the
advisory committee. The aim of the club is to help cadets develop their
leadership skills beyond what they learn at the College and during their summer
Stephanie Paquette (2nd year; Army; Gatineau, QC) described the
expeditions to Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mt Aconcagua in Argentina. Raakesh
Bharathi (3rd year; Army; Winnipeg, MB) described the expedition to the upper
reaches of the Amazon. In all of these adventures, the cadets combine a program
of adventure with cultural and/or academic dimensions.
Currently Stephanie is leading the planning for an expedition to
the Candian Arctic that will combine adventure with a cultural dimension. She
has already completed an ultra-marathon on Baffin Island in Nunavut. Raakesh is
leading the planning for a cultural expedition to India with an added adventure
dimension.So far the club members have covered the cost of these trips from
their own resources. The RMC Foundation has assisted with a current activity.
Currently they are developing a plan that may attract funds from other sources.
This was a very interesting presentation from three impressive