Archive for the 'h. Where are they now?' Category

Focus On Training Wing Staff: Maj Robert Parent, RMCC Chief Instructor

Posted by rmcclub on 14th October 2012

After this past Wednesday’s Awards Parade, 25366 Mike Shewfelt had the chance to sit down with Maj Robert Parent, College Chief Instructor and the officer behind this year’s First Year Orientation Period (FYOP).

e-Veritas: There have been a number of positive changes in the First Year Orientation Period (FYOP) this year. Can you talk about how those changes came to be, and what specific improvements to FYOP were intended for this year over previous years…?

Maj Robert Parent: I think the first thing that must be absolutely made clear is that the success of FYOP this year is due to the growing professionalism and maturity of the FYOP Cadet staff and the overall senior Cadet Wing leadership. It has always been clear to me that RMCC is too big and too complicated an organization for any one individual (or officer) or even group of individuals (Training Wing) to effectively shape, align and influence without the complete buy in (or at least the critical mass / tipping point) of the Cadets themselves. I think this year’s FYOP has demonstrated this over the past 10+ weeks.

e-Veritas: Were there any “incidents” during this year’s FYOP…?

Maj Robert Parent: It wasn’t without incident but it was clear that the FYOP leadership were now seeing their collective leadership role in the context of the broader Canadian Forces mandate and governed by the professional precepts of the Canadian Forces. I think a clear indication of this was the response of the FYOP staff to some feedback the Commandant and Director of Cadets had received on some FYOP “legacy activities” which had taken place. I believe it was a testimony as to how far we as a military unit had come when the FYOP Cadets demonstrated both the integrity and trust in the Training Wing to come forward and self correct the situation.

e-Veritas: Obviously this result didn’t happen overnight.

Maj Robert Parent: The process of gaining that level of trust and buy in from Cadets has taken place over four years and has included engaging the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS) to provide basic instruction and training with our FYOP leadership actually being deployed to St Jean for instruction over the past two years. It was my intent and desire from the beginning to “professionalize” FYOP and create a strong and disciplined leadership cadre focused on delivering a well defined course of instruction which combined the best of both worlds; a synergy of the physically demanding and rigorous RMCC FYOP environment with the professionalism and discipline of the CF Regular Force unit (in my case the Battle School and Infantry Battalion).

e-Veritas: What were the challenges you faced in trying to “professionalize” FYOP…?

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Focus on Training Wing Staff: 18799 Capt Fiona Haines, 9 Sqn Comd

Posted by rmcclub on 8th October 2012

25366 Mike Shewfelt recently had a chance to sit down with 18799 Capt Fiona Haines, the new commander of 9 Sqn.

e-Veritas: What expectations did you have with respect to coming to the College…?

18799 Fiona Haines: In coming to RMCC, I had the expectation that I would need to “earn my way in” with the Training Wing, but mainly with the Cadets themselves. Respect for a person is not something you can command; you have to earn it. This takes time. I knew that some cadets in 9 Sqn had worked with 5 different Squadron Commanders in their 4 years here and that their “guard was up”. In addition, I expected to be challenged to my very core of who I was ethically, and that has certainly proved to be true. I needed to be prepared to be the example, not dictate what the example should look like.

e-Veritas: What do you most enjoy about working with the Cadets?

18799 Fiona Haines: Every day, I am amazed. Admittedly, sometimes I am amazed at the degree in which events can unfold and the variations of the events! However, I am mainly amazed by how capable and superb the Cadet Wing really is. Their energy, if harnessed, could power a large city! Moreover, the Cadets really value what you have to say, the experience you bring to the table and the mentorship you offer. In return, all they ask is that you take an interest in them and listen.

e-Veritas: Any advice that you would have for the Cadets?

18799 Fiona Haines: My advice to the Cadets would be to remain humble and treat all people as you wish to be treated. You can never go wrong with this principle. You are going to see all types of leadership styles while a Cadet at RMCC, both at the College and while on summer training. Some styles you will not like and some you will want to emulate. Instead of complaining about the forms of leadership you least prefer, you need to rise up and shadow the leadership style you respect most. Also, enjoy this invaluable experience. Don’t get bogged down by dwelling on the mistakes you have made in the past or things that you perceive as “unjust”. This is part of why you are here…to learn and grow, so that you are ready to be the ethically sound and resilient officers in the Canadian Forces. If you never fall on your face, you will never know how to get back up. Therefore, experiencing mistakes and set-backs is part of your RMCC experience.

e-Veritas: Any goals that you have for the position you are now in?

18799 Fiona Haines: I have many goals while at RMCC as the 9 Squadron Commander. One of my main goals is to ensure that the Cadets know that I take an invested interest in their life, not just with respect to the 4 Pillars but also in relation to “who they are” and “what they are about”. I requested to be posted to RMCC with the intent of paying forward what was gifted to me by the leadership I benefitted from while I was a cadet at RMC and RRMC. Also, my continuous goal is to be an effective mentor. I expect that things are not going to go perfectly 100% of the time. Again, this is all a part of learning and growing so that the Cadets feel prepared and are ready to graduate. When you care about and invest in people, they know it and they strive for excellence. Attempting to make a personal contribution to the future graduates of RMCC and to assist in producing solid, well-rounded officers that we can all be proud of….What better goal is there?

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Spotlight on Professors: Dr. Sean Maloney, War Studies Department

Posted by rmcclub on 16th September 2012

25366 Mike Shewfelt recently had the opportunity to have a brief chat with Dr. Sean Maloney, a history professor at RMC who is now the historical advisor to the Canadian Army for the war in Afghanistan. 

e-Veritas: How did you come into the position of historical advisor to the Canadian Army…?

Dr. Sean Maloney: After my first trips to Kandahar and Kabul in 2003 I assisted the Land Staff while they were planning Operation ATHENA, which was the Army commitment to the International Security Assistance Force. At that time ISAF consisted of a single multi-national brigade based in Kabul. Having also been briefed by the Americans on their early Provincial Reconstruction Team concepts, I was asked to take a look at how the German PRT in Konduz worked while we were planning on taking on the Kandahar PRT. So from 2004 to 2005 I looked at stabilization operations in Afghanistan from the PRT standpoint and got to know people in Kandahar, including some of the power-brokers.

There were indicators in late 2005 that the situation was going to deteriorate in southern Afghanistan, so I went back in the summer of 2006 while the first battles were being fought. Chief of the Land Staff LGen Andy Leslie asked that I be assigned from RMC to be his historical advisor. One of my tasks is to write a history of what the Canadian Army did in Afghanistan from 2001-2011. (Note that the Directorate of History and Heritage jealously guards the use of the term “official”, so this is an Army history of the war, not DHH’s “official” history).

e-Veritas: You have been to Afghanistan 10 times, and you are the first historian to be under fire since Korea. Talk about that.

Dr. Sean Maloney: There have been numerous occasions over there and I’ve started to lose track of them. My G-Wagon was hit by a suicide bomber driving a Mercedes; another time the LAV III in front of me hit a pressure plate IED; somebody tried to shoot me in downtown Kandahar; the CH-47 helicopter that dropped me off at a forward operating base was shot down minutes after; I ingested contaminated water…

A deliberate engagement was something else. It is one thing to read about battle and another to be in the middle of one. In one of my books, “Fighting for Afghanistan,” I detail my part in Operation ZAHAR, which was the first Canadian mechanized infantry battalion battle in decades, certainly more like a Second World War action than Cyprus in 1974 or Medak Pocket in 1993. I found that I had a combined sense of heightened apprehension, hyperalertness, and excitement which was tempered with the realization that living, breathing, loving human beings were being turned into human meat by our 25mm cannons before they could fire RPGs and machine guns and turn us into fried meat. It was slowly, slowly doused with fatigue and the realization that, shit, I could get killed and it’s all over. Done. I just focused on my job, which was to record what was happening while PKM bullets were going supersonic over our heads.

The other aspect of being in battle was that there was an element of spectacle, it was like watching a painting being painted, or sculpture being sculpted. It was art while it was in progress. I’d observed all of the planning, seen the intelligence, knew what the commander’s intent was, and then I got to see it played out in real time and experience the conditions, including the so-called ‘fog of war.’ Op ZAHAR was a difficult operation: it had three LAV III companies converging on a defended target on restricted avenues of approach and at night, to boot. I went in with “A” Company and it was almost 60 hours of fighting.

The pride in watching our soldiers fight in the way that their predecessors fought in both World Wars and Korea, and to realize that was what I was indeed observing, was overwhelming at times. Then of course, there was the feeling of survival when it was over. I was with all three company commanders at a hasty “O” group convened at night, in a cemetary of all places, when everybody looked at each other and realized they were in one piece and still alive. But then everybody had to mount up and do it again…..And again.

e-Veritas: Once your responsibilities as historical advisor are complete, do you intend to return to the classroom…?

Dr. Sean Maloney: Once I have completed the project, yes, I do.

e-Veritas: How will your experiences in Afghanistan change how you teach…?

Dr. Sean Maloney: One of the larger lessons I have drawn from our experiences in Afghanistan, mine included, is the need for a broader education at RMC. We currently do not have the horsepower we need in anthropology, for example, or philosophy. The history curriculum needs expansion so that we can provide our students with opportunities to gain background knowledge about the geographic areas and their demographics that they WILL be operating in (not MIGHT). The idea that we are somehow going to revert back to 19th or 20th Century modes of warfare as a default setting for the armed forces is dangerous.

We weren’t cynical enough in Afghanistan and we need to breed a healthy skepticism into our people so that they can operate in environments where our allies may have divergent agendas from Canada’s while we are engaging a variety of enemies in a series of proxy fights. A friend of mine with substantial Afghan experience told me he thought our officers were, on the whole, too credulous in dealing with some of the characters we had to deal with in that region of the world. How do we best prepare our future leaders for those kind of environments? I suggest that there is no rational, engineering solution set to problems like those our people encountered in, say, Arghandab district or when dealing with other government departments that lack a culture based on a rational approach to planning in a complex environment. Logic and rationality have their place, but so does experiential intuition, gut feel, intellectual perseverance in the face of apparent chaos, and intellectual curiosity.

My challenge will be imparting that to our future students. And, as usual, there will be opposition from those who, perhaps, have become too comfortable in their outlook on the world and how it functions. RMC’s purpose is not to generate nation builders for the British Empire any more. It is to produce leaders who can effectively implement Canadian policy on a global basis to protect Canadian interests.

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Spotlight on Training Wing Staff: Capt Zachary Gatehouse, 4 Sqn Commander

Posted by rmcclub on 9th September 2012

As part of an effort to get to know some of the many new faces around the peninsula, 25366 Mike Shewfelt recently sat down for a brief chat with 23935 Capt Zachary Gatehouse, the new commander of 4 Sqn. 

e-Veritas: Sir, what expectations do you have on coming back to the College…?

23935 Zachary Gatehouse: My expectations coming here were simple. I expected to be able to deal with motivated and interested people who wanted to be Officers in the CF. Being a former cadet I know full well the range of personalities that make up the Cadet Wing, but thus far I have been impressed. The College has changed significantly since I left it last, and I believe these changes to be for the better. There is a sense of focus, an intent, and most importantly an end state that stems further than just reaching the parade square in the spring of Fourth Year. As I speak to Cadets more and more, there is an understanding of the road beyond the arch and the responsibility they will have as they assume leadership roles over the men and women of the CF.

e-Veritas: What are you looking forward to about working with the Cadets…? And what advice would you give them…?

23935 Zachary Gatehouse: I am looking forward to simply being involved in the growth of junior officers and helping people define their leadership style so that it works for them. My advice to cadets is simply to try. Stay motivated throughout your time here because in the end, when you get to you Platoons, Troops, Ships, and Planes you will realize that RMC was something good. Stay close to friends as well because there is little time post grad to see people!

e-Veritas: What goals do you have for the position you are now in…?

23935 Zachary Gatehouse: I, like all officers, continue to learn every day. My goals are to continue that trend while pushing knowledge around to the Cadets and fellow Training Wing Staff so that we can all learn and make things work effectively.

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The Way it Was for Recruits in 1965: Then and Now

Posted by rmcclub on 3rd September 2012

Recruit Camp In 1965 (click to enlarge)

Fast Forward to FYOP 2012…

As the Class of 2016 settled into the routine of FYOP, the First Year Orientation Program, 25366 Mike Shewfelt got out to record the sights around the College.

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Spotlight on Professors: G1628 Maj John Grodzinski, RMCC History Department

Posted by rmcclub on 29th July 2012

25366 Mike Shewfelt recently had the opportunity to sit down with G1628 Maj John Grodzinski, Associate Professor in the College’s Department of History.

e-Veritas: Sir, what were your expectations upon coming to teach at the College…?

Maj John Grodzinski: I really didn’t know what to expect as I had never taught in an academic environment before. While teaching at the university level shares some similarities with instructing on a military course, the workload and expectations, from an academic perspective, are considerably different.

Although I was aware of the four pillars that Cadets were expected to complete, I had little idea of the challenges they imposed. Time is at a premium at the College, particularly for those students in some of the more demanding programmes, and I am often amazed and impressed by those cadets who can balance a busy academic schedule with military training, intramural or varsity sports, and, in some cases, bar positions.

e-Veritas: What are some of the highlights of your time at the College, both the good and the bad…?

Maj John Grodzinski: My experience at the College has been very good. Certainly there are times where a failure to complete their work on the part of my students or some annoying aspect of College administration bothers me; however, this is a great place to be, a wonderful unit to serve in. My favourite experiences have been on field trips, whether they are visits to museums, battlefield tours or at competitions with the varsity fencing team, that provide an opportunity to better know the cadets and to discuss coursework in a different environment.

e-Veritas: What do you like about working with the Cadets…?

Maj John Grodzinski: I enjoy the spontaneity and energy of the Cadets. They have such energy and they demonstrate a knack for getting themselves into unique problems. Following their progress as they mature through four years of their studies and training is rewarding. During that time, you witness the changes in a group of young adults, who, at one point, seemed incapable of doing anything right, and who now display a sense of confidence and a basic understanding of leadership that demonstrates they are ready for the first challenges of commissioned service.

As I was not a Cadet and my studies here were at the graduate level, I had a lot to learn about College culture. My wife, who is a College graduate, and some of my friends who attended the College, provided great help in understanding the nuances of Cadet life. However, my perspective has changed considerably when my son joined the Cadet Wing. Suddenly, FYOP, the obstacle course, the demands of the academic year, parades, parties, PT tests, varsity sports and summer training took on a new meaning. Since my wife and I encourage our son to bring his friends home with him on those rare weekends he can visit, I’ve also gained a better appreciation of Cadet life.

e-Veritas: Do you have any advice that you would share with the Cadets…?

Maj John Grodzinski: Enjoy your time at RMCC as your experience at the College will guide you through your life and career. Study hard, read often, think, develop your writing and speaking skills and challenge yourself always.

For a look at other professors that e-Veritas has highlighted in the past, click here

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Dr. John Amphlett: Faculty & Sports Leader Extraordinaire …

Posted by rmcclub on 29th July 2012

By 25782 OCdt Brandon Friesen

This past week, I had the honour and pleasure of interviewing someone who has had a considerable amount of time and influence at the Royal Military College of Canada. As a matter of fact, Dr. John Amphlett has around thirty-six years on me at this fine institution, due to the fact that I am in my fourth year of studies and he has taught, managed, and coached here longer than I have been alive. It was truly a rewarding experience to hear him recall his time at the College and the many roles he performed during his outstanding tenure.

Upon meeting Dr. Amphlett outside RMC’s Senior Staff Mess, I noticed that he had a small limp; he was recovering from a leg injury. “It’s the first time I’ve been slowed down,” he said jovially. After talking with him for the rest of the morning, I believed it, for he has taken every opportunity to find busy and meaningful ways to involve himself with the College.

Dr. John Amphlett arrived at RMC in 1967 to do a Post Doctoral Fellowship with Dr. Dacey, the Head of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and later the Principal of the College. In 1969 several permanent teaching positions opened up in this department, and Dr. Amphlett applied for one.

Since that choice, he has taught many courses to just about every type and year of student at RMC. He taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and, due to the fact that in those days everyone did a common 1st year program, he even lectured Arts students along with Engineering and the Sciences. Dr. Amphlett has seen quite a good sample of cadets at the college, and this is merely from the academic side.

When I asked him how working as a professor at RMC had changed over his forty years of teaching, he stated that the biggest change was mostly in the attitude of the classroom compared to how “regimental” it used to be. It had grown and still grows a little more laid-back over the passing years. I was surprised to hear that cadets used to be required to salute any civilian faculty on campus! Among other things, such as the introduction of women to the College, another large change that Dr. Amphlett mentioned was how technology has changed the way classes were taught. However, he told me he was still a “chalkboard type of guy.”

Dr. Amphlett was not only a professor; on top of that a coach for the varsity rugby team for eleven years from 1968-79. He remembered it as “a truly rewarding experience, getting to know the cadets outside the classroom, learning how many of them dealt with all the different aspects that they had to manage while trying to do their academics, military duties, and at the same time play competitive sports.” The team regularly took trips to the UK, courtesy of the British Military, to play the Sandhurst, Dartmouth, Cranwell, and Larkhill teams. These visits were an eye-opener for how other military schools were run, as well as a great incentive for the cadets to do well in their classes, since only students doing well in academics could go. To Dr. Amphlett’s knowledge, none of his players missed one of these very desirable trips, for they all had C or B averages.

The rugby team also played games against West Point and the US Naval Academy, whom they regularly trumped, and of course, Queen’s University. RMC’s rugby games against Queen’s carried the weight of the rivalry between the two schools, for these were the only varsity teams from either university to play each other due to the various leagues the other teams were in. Dr. Amphlett remembers one seasonin particular where his rugby team beat Queen’s four times, and each of those wins was by more than twenty points. It was one of the highlights from his extracurricular responsibilities at RMC.

All this turned out to be quite the workload, for he would regularly return home around seven or eight o’clock each night. Then there were rugby games on Saturday and Sunday, not to mention the trips to England and the United States. After his eleven years of coaching, Dr. Amphlett left his position of coach in order to spend some more time with his growing family. However, he was still interested in remaining involved with the cadets, so he became Chairman of the rugby team for the next eight years. On top of this, he was Chairman of the Recreation Club, the Athletic Awards Committee, and later the Hockey team. The Recreation Club, in those days, was responsible for providing finances for the equipment and extracurricular activities of the Rep teams and Clubs at the College.

I asked Dr. Amphlett if taking on these extracurricular responsibilities helped him relate to the workload of the cadets studying at RMC. He agreed and said that RMC definitely asked a lot more than any other university. The high participation in sports was something he could appreciate, seeing the cadets from both the academic and varsity point of view. He suggested, to his disappointment, that RMC has started to lean more heavily on the academics pillar than that of athletics. He suggested that sports compliment and improve academics, allowing people to clear their minds from their studies for a while and refresh.

Winding the interview down, I asked how Dr. Amphlett spends his time now that he is retired. He told me that while initially thinking that it would be dull and slow, it has been the opposite and now he is busier than before! He is still involved in research, even if not directly, and he travels for both research and recreation. China, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and Japan he mentioned; he has seen over thirty countries so far. When he is back home in Kingston, he participates in two choirs: The Kingston Capital Men’s Chorus and the Kingston Senior Choristers. He had played quite a bit of golf until his recent leg injury; now he has taken up lawn bowling as a new pastime.

When I asked Dr. Amphlett to give a few final comments to the readers of E-Veritas, he wanted to stress that rugby is always a good sport for a military. It requires incredible teamwork as well as individuality. He said “a team can have the best fifteen athletes, but be swamped by a team with technique.” In parting, he added “teaching here was a good career move; I thoroughly enjoyed my time at RMC.”

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Focus on Military Staff: 21971 Capt Lesley Kerckhoff, Staff Officer to the Commandant

Posted by rmcclub on 22nd July 2012

25366 Mike Shewfelt recently had the chance to sit down with 21971 Capt Lesley Kerckhoff, Staff Officer to the Commandant at the College.

e-Veritas:What were your expectations upon coming to the College…?

21971 Capt Lesley Kerckhoff: My expectations, like many, were of an opportunity to go to university and not be in debt when I was finished as well as having a career to follow when I graduated. I had no military background so it was certainly a different world. Being in the military is always being part of a team, and having been part of many team sports and leader of other clubs, I adapted well into the team dynamic.

e-Veritas: What memories stand out for you from your time here, both good and bad…?

21971 Capt Lesley Kerckhoff: The highlights included being part of the first Women’s Basketball Team, which was just a club back in 1997. We still had to do a varsity sport or intramurals, but we would eat box lunches and practice at 8 p.m. just to be part of that team.

I was the class of 2001, and another highlight was that on Grad Parade, our march on was the theme to “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The band really did a good job on that.

I was also a member of the Highland Band, which had the best away trips of any group at the College.

Another memory that stands out for me is that during my time here we lost a fellow Cadet to a terrible accident. What I remember was the pulling together and compassion of the Cadet Wing. Even those who did not know him at all reached out to those who did and tried to help in any way that they could. Like family.

e-Veritas: What do you like about working on the peninsula…?

21971 Capt Lesley Kerckhoff: Nothing is ever boring here. Everyday there are changes which result in learning something new and putting that experience into my toolbox for the future.

e-Veritas: What was it like being posted back to the College…?

21971 Capt Lesley Kerckhoff: Coming back as an officer has been interesting. As a Cadet, you don’t see how the College operates. As staff, I now know how much work and how many staff hours go into every pillar in order to graduate 250 officers each year.

e-Veritas: Can you describe your role as Staff Officer to the Commandant…?

21971 Capt Lesley Kerckhoff: As SO, I help to keep the Commandant’s schedule, ensure all paperwork is processed in a timely manner, assist with task follow-up and coordinate and mentor the Cadet Aide de Camps.

e-Veritas: What advice would you have for the Cadets….?

21971 Capt Lesley Kerckhoff: My one piece of advice is about respect. Respect others, and yourself. ALWAYS. If the Cadets can learn just that, it will take them far.


The following are the members of the College military staff that e-Veritas has recently brough into the spotlight. Feel free to enjoy the articles you may have missed.

LCol Sue Wigg; Maj Donnie Monroe; MWO Andy Skinner

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“A Poet and an Eccentric Prof” Dr. Michael Hurley, RMCC English Department

Posted by rmcclub on 22nd July 2012

25366 Mike Shewfelt recently had the chance to sit down with Dr. Michael Hurley, long-time member of the College’s Department of English. 

e-Veritas: Why did you decide to teach at the College…?

Dr. Michael Hurley: I didn’t. Fate did. The stars. Sauron. The Evil One. The Force. Who knows? “It is your DESTINY, Luke…” I’d been teaching at Queen’s for four years after getting a Ph.D. in English there—my line of country Canadian literature, still in the doghouse in that Dark Age— when I got a phone call outta the blue offering me a job teaching poetry to the military. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse—or believe.

The call came from someone maintaining he was the Head of the English Department at the Royal Military College of Canada. I said, “Is there such a thing?” I knew as much about this place as I do about electroencephalographic procedures in Outer Mongolia or a Dirac equation. But I did know I wasn’t going to work anywhere I couldn’t be my dysfunctional self or follow my calling, so the first thing I did, besides cultivate an attitude, was grow a big beard. My hair was already long, and would get considerably very longer over the years before Mother Nature intervened. Believing you should always bite the hand that feeds you lest you become another brick in the wall, I wanted to see if folks here had hair issues or cookie-cutter ambitions for me or Agent Smiths and Thought Police round every corner.

So, key point: I was invited to teach here, initially replacing someone on sick leave. Landing a job here, or anywhere for that matter, wasn’t on my agenda, my little radar. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” as John Lennon sings. I remain grateful to the Universe for upsetting my applecart and throwing me headfirst—once again—into the unknown. I couldn’t have landed in a better place pour moi, couldn’t have consciously chosen more wisely, little did I suspect at the time. So much for my better judgment, eh.

It’s been a wonderful journey since February 1988, one always reminding me, as Obi Wan counsels headstrong Luke, to “let go your conscious self and act on instinct.” For those in the military or academia where we enshrine a squeaky-clean rationality above all else, it may take awhile to give intuition and gut instinct their due. Einstein, not surprisingly, got it right: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Once through the Arch, I decided to remain teaching here to explore the implications of that statement and another of Einstein’s—“Imagination is more important than knowledge”—both personally as a poet and a lost soul and professionally as a professor of English.

e-Veritas: What are the highlights of your time at the College, both the good and the bad…?

Dr. Michael Hurley: The good started day one when I met those legendary avatars of the Department Tom Vincent and George Parker. Great guys and mentors who stewarded the realm efficiently and empathetically. Kudos! As every Queen’s grad employed as a sessional here is relieved to discover, the English Department is a most collegial place to pursue one’s calling. With the obvious exception of the deaths in Afghanistan of my students, the bad started this past year when Parties Unknown proceeded to gut the College as we know it by axing profs left and right, which will in our opinion affect how and what we teach here, upset the balance between the military and academic wings, and perhaps worse. It’s certainly already severely tarnished our reputation, bladed morale, and raised serious questions about governance and academic freedom, plus our continuing ability to educate cadets in critical thinking skills. Many of us fear that the College will regress, as RMC grad and historian Jack Granatstein laments, to the dark days of the Somalia era if we turn our backs on the genuine liberal arts education that study after study has stressed needs to be safeguarded here.

In the Glowing Highlights Department, I’d cite being in a position to help hire truly talented and promising professionals like Irwin Streight, Huw Osborne, Helen Luu, Chantel Lavoie and our current Head Laura Robinson. Add in awesome sessionals, folks already here or assigned to the Department—Sylvia, Erika, Heather, Marion, Steve, Andy, Brandon, Elaine and Viviane—and what a line–up! Welcoming my former student Andy Belyea as a colleague was a real joy. Since I knew some writers and artists and the usual suspects, early on I was asked to bring in guest speakers, everyone from Margaret Atwood and Timothy Findley to Jane Urquhart, plus a veritable Who’s Who of local writers, and English grads Casey Balden and John Ford. I was delighted when Principal Sokolsky started the Writer–in–Residence program with Irwin Streight’s sage guidance. More slam–dunk highlights: going on the amazing Battlefield Tour as poet–in–transit with The Three Wise Men: Boire, Delaney and Hennessey. Gold plaques should be put up celebrating these guys.

Other nuggets: helping RMC’s aboriginal Elder conduct sweat lodges. A surprise 60th birthday party! Getting email, phone calls, or visits from former students. Getting incredible support and thumbs up from cadets, profs, Majors and Lieutenant-Colonels after being arrested, jailed and shackled at the 2010 prison farms blockade for opposing what many see as injustice, idealogical bs, and democracy–bashing. Initiating a World Literature course that gives cadets a window into the cultures of Afghanistan, Iran, India, Nepal etc., places they might end up in and that I travelled to as a crazy, footloose nineteen-year-old escapee from the Matrix hitch–hiking around the planet and spreading joy.

And, of course, being the grateful recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award, being put on the Honour Roll years before that, and years after again being nominated, this last spearheaded by Bus. Admin students, although I politely declined to let my name stand, there being lots of deserving profs out there.

e-Veritas: What do you like about working with Cadets…?

Dr. Michael Hurley: What’s not to like? Wade Davis, National Geographic’s Explorer–in–Residence, a guy who’s been everywhere and done most everything, is currently writing a book about RMC grad Oliver Wheeler who mapped Everest, making climbs possible. I just invited Wade to speak here, and what I suspect he sees in Wheeler—a spirit of adventure, perseverance, a willingness to think outside the box, to move off the map and the grid, to keep mind and heart and imagination open, to be what songwriter Robbie Robertson calls “a communal individual” true to oneself while playing on a team—these are qualities I’ve encountered in a diverse group of people here over the decades. And that energizes me and keeps me in the game.

e-Veritas: What advice, if any, would you give to Cadets?

Dr. Michael Hurley: I’m willing to accept advice, if not always follow it, but with my track record as a sorry-ass human being who messes up on a regular basis, I’m reluctant to offer it. But not above it: think for yourself, feel for others, trust your gut instinct, listen for and heed your calling, follow your bliss but don’t cling to it or anything, live your life, consider practicing some form of meditation or mindfulness to focus and deepen attention to “be here now,” get into trouble, brush regularly… The sort of thing you might expect to hear from a poet and an eccentric prof, whose impeccable credentials for his day job include occasional stints (or stunts) as a stand-up comic, clown, cartoonist, yogi-wannabe, and spiritual runt at retreats led by Tibetan lamas, Buddhist monks and nuns, Hindu pujaris, Sufi whirling dervishes, Zen fools and wise First Nations Elders. How could I not end up teachin’ poetry to the military?

The following is a list of the professors at the College that e-Veritas has brought into the spotlight over the last year. Feel free to enjoy the articles you may have missed.   xxxxxx


Mr. Kommy Farahani; Dr. Allister MacIntyre; Dr. Billy Allan

Dr. Nicholas Vlachopoulos; Dr. Ron Weir; LCol Joy Klammer

Dr. Konstantin Kabin; Maj John de Boer; Dr. Laura Robinson

Maj Bertram Frandsen; Dr. Brandon Alakas; Dr. Yahia Antar & Dr. David Wehlau

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Focus on Military Staff: 14510 LCol Sue Wigg, Outgoing Director of Cadets

Posted by rmcclub on 8th July 2012

25366 Mike Shewfelt recently had the chance to sit down with 14510 LCol Sue Wigg, the outgoing Director of Cadets at the College. 

e-Veritas: What have you seen change since your arrival on the Peninsula and now…?

14510 LCol Sue Wigg: From my perspective the essence of both the DCdts responsibilities and College life has not changed since I graduated in 1984, but over the last two years they have been reinvigorated. We have renewed and evolved both the purpose and the actions behind the essence of what RMCC is designed to do…provide the CF with duty ready junior officers. Through transparency, clarity and focus on the Cadet Wing as a CF unit we now have a common context and means for unified effort from all involved. There is now a tangible, real “military” meaning to the experiences of an officer cadet.

e-Veritas: Have there been any memorable challenges in your time here…?

14510 LCol Sue Wigg: The most important challenge has been one that is shared by all organizations. To be truly effective an organization cannot be viewed as “outside of” or “different from” its intended environment. Yet, a certain uniqueness must be maintained or it suffers from naysayers that would purport its existence is not necessary because its product can be obtained elsewhere. Maintaining that balance of uniqueness vs being identifiably part of the Canadian Forces seems to be very hard for most. RMCC is a tough environment for Cadets, Faculty and Staff alike and I would point to having to maintain balance as one root cause. There is no time to specialize in only those things you like and still be successful. This translates into the single most important lesson – no matter what your age or experience – Know yourself, know your “know-how to succeed”. Always be on top of your game, be professional, be competent and be constructive when dealing with the subjects that are not your strong points.

e-Veritas: Since you graduated from the College in 1984, you have had many postings. Was there anything in those previous postings that helped you in this one…?

14510 LCol Sue Wigg: My past experiences helped me to be forward leaning, adaptable, agile and most importantly, not to stop looking until I could see the essence of the issue at hand (not the superficial or the “constructed reality”). One cannot cling to a decision because it was made, one must adapt to new information all the time. Also, Rome was not built in a day – one needs strategy and patience but should not be lulled into stagnation or accept prolonged resistance to evolution.

e-Veritas: There have been a number of changes on the peninsula in the last couple of years. Given that, do you feel you’ve been able to improve the College at all, and if so, how…?

14510 LCol Sue Wigg: If asked “what was improved” I would say the Officer Cadets are beginning to be more aware of the power of their experience at RMCC. They are taking the opportunity of evolving their CF unit systems to obtain meaningful self-identy and control of their environment while developing the real skills needed but not taught at their next unit. They have the size, the chain of authority, the responsibility and the longevity of four years to develop relevant experiences needed for a successful life faster than when they are immersed in the more narrow perpectives that will be their role as a specialized junior officer in their next unit. The next unit is about depth in their field; this unit is about how to be successful in that environment.

e-Veritas: What advice would you give to the Cadets as you leave RMCC…?

14510 LCol Sue Wigg: If I was asked for advice, I would say – know yourself honestly. Examine any lack of success closely to find out how you kept yourself from succeeding. The environment is not the enemy – our approach to it is the key to triumph. That starts with self identifying our internal barriers whether they are physical, mental, or emotional and finding our own way of removing those factors that hold us back. Conversely, invest in success – “know how” you succeeded and keep improving it.

e-Veritas: Any final thoughts for the College you leave behind…?

14510 LCol Sue Wigg: At the close of my tenure I would be remiss if I did not formally acknowledge the RMC Club of Canada, the Foundation and the Ex-Cadets that were ever present and supportive of the role of the Director of Cadets in their passion for keeping the College relevant and on course. Throughout the two years there was moral, ethical, financial and leadership help from all corners. It came to me without asking and at just the right occasion. Through this experience I have benefited from what we take for granted as we make our way through our careers – we are a family. Everyone relies on those that go before them, whether they admit it or not. A direct thank you to all those Ex-Cadets in the area that come out to the events and make the effort to keep connected to our young adults in a way that helps to bridge the generations. Your energy and wisdom is not replaceable. Thank you to those that came to welcome the arrival of my successor and bid me farewell. May I always be able to act in supporting the College, as you have given me the example, regardless of where I go this second time leaving the peninsula.

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19894 Erin O’Toole: Will He Run? Late breaking news…The answer is yes!

Posted by rmcclub on 8th July 2012

(photo – Brad Lowe)

Erin O’Toole Big Decision to Make


As we were going to press rumours were rife that 19894 Erin O’Toole, a graduate of Royal Military College of Canada (’95) (photo right) currently a Bay Street lawyer is gearing up for a run at the Ontario seat that federal Conservative Member of Parliament Bev Oda is vacating.

O’Toole, a lawyer at Heenan Blaikie, is said to be preparing to declare his interest in being the Conservative candidate in the Durham riding after years of laying the groundwork in the region east of Toronto that Ms. Oda has represented.

Erin, is active in many causes, including being a prime mover behind the formation of the True Patriot Love foundation. He has served on a number of charitable and non-profit boards, including the Board of Governors of the Royal Military College.

Over the years, he has been a regular visitor to the college, most recently at the 2012 graduation.

At the reception following the graduation parade, we were part of a three-way conversation with Erin and 19218 LCdr Roman Antonicwicz (photo left). I was curious on what the connection is between the two.

With all the buzz about Erin and the possibility of him throwing his hat into the political ring we asked Roman about the connection.

“Erin and I were roomates during our first year, 1991-1992 in 3 Squadron, living in Ft. LaSalle. We were both from Ontario and got along together well.”

What activities did he get involved with?

“He was always very physically active with triathlon, swimming and cycling. He was a lifeguard at the old RMC swimming pool that used to be in the basement of Ft. Haldimand. He even played a little rugby at RMC.”

What type of activities did he involve himself in away from the college?

“Erin had a radio show called “The Pillbox” that he hosted with 19799 Andrew Chanyi on Queen’s University radio station CFRC 101.9 FM.”

Are you surprised that he may enter politics?

“ Not really. Erin was well-read and worked to keep himself informed of current events. I can remember discussing world and political events with him and 19874 Brian MacDonald currently the MLA, Fredericton-Silverwood in New Brunswick.”

Mr. O’Toole has yet to officially announce his candidacy.

Late Breaking News…

Erin O’Toole to Seek Conservative Party Nomination for Durham

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11306 Pierre Rivard received a Doctorate degree, Honoris Causa,UofT

Posted by rmcclub on 2nd July 2012

On Jun 20th, 11306 Pierre Rivard received a Doctorate degree, Honoris Causa, from the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering of University of Toronto for his championship and leadership in the field of Clean Tech in Canada and internationally. The most frequent heard during that convocation was “This guy is way too young to be an honorary graduate”. During the ceremony, RMC was mentioned twice as the Alma mater of Pierre.

Following are  the written notes for Pierre’s Address to the undergraduates and a picture (Dean Pr. Cristina Amon, Pierre Rivard, Chancellor The Honourable David Peterson). (Link at the end)

Chancellor Peterson, Professor Young, Dean Amon, Professor Ward and esteemed faculty, fellow graduates, ladies and gentlemen.

I am deeply honored and grateful to be among you today.

In the next 10 minutes, I am not going to tell you to dream big, to give back, nor will I give secrets to fulfillment. Many of you are worried about finding a job, starting or restarting a career, finding your path, or building a legacy that you can call your own, after a lifetime of having been told that you are great, that you can achieve anything that you set yourself to do.

So, I would like to tell a story of achieving in the present, of embracing the unexpected, a story of achieving manageable dreams rather than achieving global world-transforming schemes. It is a story of firing bullets on the side of a barn, and then drawing a bulls-eye around each hole to explain how well one can aim. It is a story of finding higher purpose and common thread one chapter at a time. It is a story of flexibility, adjustment and adaptation.

Look where I am today.

I was admitted to the University of Toronto when I was 31.

I registered at the height of a middle-age crisis, similar perhaps to the process that led some of you to be here today.

At the time, I was serving in the Canadian Military, which was undergoing significant downsizing following the fall of the Berlin wall and of Communism, with serving numbers rapidly falling from 78,000 to 56,000 within 2 years; my 21-year military career was going nowhere fast, and I felt an urge to reassess how I wanted to spend the rest of my life and the legacy that I wanted to leave for the second half of my professional life, especially after the Military had posted Catherine and I to Toronto by force against our will. I had left home at age 16 to join the Canadian Air Force and to become a fighter pilot and ultimately an astronaut, neither of which was to happen. Military College was one way to get an education that parents could not otherwise afford for their child, and to get me started on the journey that I had set for myself.

15 years later, by going back to school at age 31, I wanted to show my children that it is never too late to change tack and pursue dreams, and that no matter how far you are from achieving earlier dreams, it is never too late to write a new chapter, including going back to school to better equip you for the next pivot.

So, I quit my job and an appealing pension and security, and embraced the opportunity that the University of Toronto offered to me, which was to pursue a life-long dream of participating and advancing what in the 1970’s was coined the Hydrogen Age. The journey ended up being professionally and financially rewarding to me and my family, although on many occasions it certainly did not appear that it would turn out to be so. The critical steps were triggered by a string of unexpected events, and by making the most of the cards that one is dealt with.

Incidentally, my parents did not attended university, although my father attended chiropractor school in Chicago in the 1950’s, before chiropractice became university-taught. My parents valued education and hard work as a life-transforming opportunity. I suggest that everyone here today did, or will, at some point reach the same conclusion. I remain grateful to this day to my parents for having showed me by example the lessons of hard work, higher purpose, and values.

In a prior entrepreneurial pursuit, I recall another pivotal string of unexpected events. My mother and sister and I had started a courier business in Québec City in the 1980’s specializing in delivering medical samples, X-Rays photos, and the like. I recall once delivering courier to a specialist doctor who happened to have attended the same high school as I did 15 years prior; I recall the look in his eyes, of sympathy that I was now relegated to delivering courier by hand, while he was now a graduated medical specialist doctor. That same day, our only employee driver had tendered his resignation, after having wrecked the Company’s only car in an accident, leaving mountains of undelivered mail in his wake. That same evening, I proposed marriage to a fine young Belgian, who turned down my proposal. That was a proverbial “bottom of the barrel”, common to any entrepreneurial life.

On being looked down by a former classmate, my mother Carmen reminded me that day that no one should be ashamed of any work, as menial as it may be, for work is central to life, as it is service to other fellow men and women. What also kept me going at that time was that I sincerely believed in the higher purpose of what our fledgling Med-Express was doing. We were not just delivering courrier, we were saving lives, as I kept reminding everyone in and around Med-Express. An important message there, for me at least, is that you have to find the social utility, the higher purpose in what you choose to do, regardless of how insignificant the job may appear to others (or even to you at some times).

In Medieval times, the best stone cutters were not those who viewed themselves as stone cutters but rather they were the ones who viewed themselves as cathedral builders, who knew where the stone that they were cutting would fit in the broader scheme of things. Alfred de Vigny in 1835, recalling Napoleonic wars, wrote that any life and work carries its own “Grandeurs et Servitudes”, and it behooves us to define each in what we choose to do. Appearing ridiculed or futile in pursuing a worthwhile cause in a day-to-day job, is secondary to leading the right cause, or making things right. As one poster that appeared on the walls of Hydrogenics said: “You become successful the moment that you move towards a worthwhile cause.”

On being spurned by a girl that I proposed to, it reminded me later in life of a story that we call in our family “l’histoire du vieux chinois”, the story of the old chinese. This zen story teaches that an event which may appear as a curse one day may turn out to be a blessing in disguise at some point in the future, and similarly that what might appear as a blessing may one day turn out to be a curse in disguise. When you are young and most of your life is in front of you rather than behind you, it may not appear to be so, but it could help to remember that it may some day turn out to be true. In my case, being spurned on proposing to a young girl led to other events that allowed me to meet and marry my wife of 25 years, Catherine Paquet, whom I continue to love more every day ever since, and whose name should appear side by side with my name on the degree conferred to me today. Catherine: Je t’aime. I should also thank my two children, Laurence and Simon, for putting up with Dad and with Dad’s dreams over the years, and for not rolling up their eyes as they let me talk my 10 minutes today.

Upon graduating today, you will embark on a journey. Whether you had defined that this journey would be prior to attending University, or whether you have yet to define what that journey will be, the important point to keep in mind is that it is never too late to get going, and that you should not wait to find a perfect match in order to get going at serving a meaningful cause or at finding a higher purpose or dreams. Put aside the video games and the facebook, and, as they say in latin, go play in traffic.

Keep in mind that your calling or your career will change two or three times or more in your life, so it is more important to get going on serving some cause, something, anything, than it is to keep searching indefinitely for the perfect start. Then, work on better defining the social utility and higher purpose of the chapter that you are writing, as it is one of the foundation of a life well lived.

In the course of my life, I have been hired, have been fired, have founded companies and have closed companies, but the common thread was that I always and continue to strive to be an impeccable warrior in service of a worthy cause on a day-to-day basis.

In choosing a calling or a career, I would encourage you to consider CleanTech and entrepreneurship . The quality of the air we breathe, the water that we drink, affect all of us equally, whether we are rich or poor, healthy or sick. We are at the cusp of unprecedented transitions in energy systems, with opportunities and threats that dwarf the opportunities found in social media, information technologies, telecom and the internet combined. The top 10 firms by capitalization and revenues on the Dow Jones index over the past 100 years have consistently been related to energy in one form or another, invariably active in a carbon-intensive way. This may continue for the next 100 years, although the name of these companies will change over time. There are people sitting next to you in this room today who will be on the front line of necessary change, who will succeed by making the attempt at finding more sustainable ways to produce and deliver an energy that will be carbon-free.

The transition will be gradual, albeit massive, as it will not be about breaking through a wall of established global infrastructure of unparalleled scale and influence, but rather, as someone once said, it is about sand-blasting and chipping away at the wall, not knocking it down suddenly.

Lead the transition to low-carbon sources, because the latter are less strategically vulnerable and more sustainable. Also consider creating your own job, if finding one proves difficult. Entrepreneurship is not innate – it can be learnt, specially if you can associate yourself with good partners as I was fortunate to have over the years. Embrace the change and the unexpected.

In closing, I would like to say that I was fortunate to study under a superb cast of mentors and professors while at U of T, at the height of their calling as educators. I have kept touch with them over the years, as they graduated a significant number of the collaborators that made the Companies that I was involved in the companies that they are today. I thank all of them without naming them for fear of forgetting one, including professor Charles Ward who taught Joe Cargnelli and I our first rudiments in hydrogen fuel cells and in the science underlying such wonderful and promising quantum mechanic devices.

As such, the University and its faculty continue to be one of Society’s best engines to solve complex problems, to create wealth, and to build a 21st century economy.

To graduating students, remember to achieve manageable dreams one chapter at a time, and find your higher purpose in the present and in the unexpected. You have an exciting and wonderful and unexpected future ahead of you.

Remember the six L’s of Long Live, Love, Learn, Lead, Laugh.

Thank you,

By: 11306 Pierre Rivard

Commencement address on receiving a doctorate of engineering from the University of Toronto,

20th June, 2012.


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Focus on Military Staff: MWO Andy Skinner, Training Wing Sergeant Major

Posted by rmcclub on 2nd July 2012

25366 NCdt Mike Shewfelt recently had the chance to sit down with MWO Andy Skinner, the outgoing Training Wing Sergeant Major. 

e-Veritas: What expectations did you have upon being posted to the College…?

MWO Andy Skinner: Truth be told, I didn’t know much about RMC before coming here. I had known others who had worked as the “DSM” but our conversations rarely if ever led to their time at the College. On the Artillery side I had occasion to instruct OCdts when they were completing phase training but I did not pay attention to their background be it RMCC or Civy University. Our focus as AIGs (Assistant Instructors of Gunnery) was geared towards every candidate’s successful completion of the training.

All that being said my answer would have to be that I expected a challenge! I understood that I was moving out of my comfort zone and that there would be many obstacles along the way. I felt that if ever I really wanted to make a difference this would be my golden opportunity. It was either step-up, take a chance to be that difference maker or shut up and find a desk somewhere to hide behind.

e-Veritas: What highlights from your time at the College, both good and bad, stand out for you…?

MWO Andy Skinner: There are many highlights from my time here at the College. It has been, to say the least, an eye opening experience. On the positive side and at the top of the list would have to be the relationships that are built while dealing with the Cadet leadership, especially those filling the position of CWTO. It really gives you a good feeling when they stay in touch after graduation. It helps to keep us on task and motivated. Showing us we really can make a difference.

Of course all of that wouldn’t have been possible if the relationship with the DCdts wasn’t strong. I would like to take this opportunity to thank both at this time. To LCol Tony O’Keefe for starting me on the right path; he pointed me in the right direction and let me go! And of course to LCol Sue Wigg who made my last two years a very interesting time! We survived the race and have handed the baton off to others to take up the challenge in our place. Her passion and enthusiasm were infectious and she taught me to understand that even though we know a lot we know so little!

On the down side would be the need to wait to see results. The College is only the beginning of a very long voyage. I am also disappointed with the fact that I wasn’t able to leave my office, walk to the Dining Hall and not have to stop and correct some shortcoming or deficiency. I guess I will have to return in the future to accomplish my dream of making it there uninterrupted, sitting down with a group of OCdts sharing a meal and intellectual conversation.

e-Veritas: What do you like about working with the Cadets…?

MWO Andy Skinner: What did I like about working with the OCdts? Good question. Okay, let me think now….. uh. I would say weekends but rarely did we have any off! Just kidding!

I liked the fact that it was always a learning experience and the fact that their desire to learn is always present. (Of course in some it was buried pretty deep, like centre of the earth deep!) Okay I digress. I enjoyed the unbridled enthusiasm, the vigor of youth, the tenacity, especially when they were able to harness their energies and apply themselves to the task at hand. I like the fact that they are not perfect although they aspire to perfection. I liked making them think about things, providing them with the NCM perspective if you will, because if they are thinking about me or something I said then I have made a difference and maybe, just maybe they will reflect later in their lives and say…..OKAY I GET IT NOW!!

e-Veritas: What advice would you give the Cadets…?

MWO Andy Skinner: If I were to provide some advice, words of wisdom if you would, it would be to say that you should never accept that where you are at is where you need to be. What the heck is he saying!? Just that the world doesn’t stop turning and that if you decide to stop and admire the view you will quickly get left behind! That change is inevitable and happiness is fleeting.

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Focus on Military Staff: Maj Donnie Monroe, Deputy Director of Cadets

Posted by rmcclub on 24th June 2012

“I have a great deal of respect for those Grads who come out the other end not just smarter and more capable leaders, but better people…” 

25366 NCdt Mike Shewfelt recently had the chance to sit down, briefly, with Maj Donnie Monroe, RMCC’s outgoing Deputy Director of Cadets.

e-Veritas: Sir, what were your expectations upon coming to RMCC…?

Maj Donnie Monroe: In coming to RMCC I was very much looking forward to being the A Division Commander. I had just finished the challenging position of leading the ATC Unit at 8 Wing Trenton and was very pleased to have been given the opportunity to lead the CF’s young leaders from the position of Div Comd. Like Air Power, flexibility is the key to being successful. Instead of going to the Div Comd position I went to the DDCdts position and without any knowledge of that job I entered RMCC with little idea of what to expect but with the confidence and energy to know I would be able to make a difference.

e-Veritas: What, sir, are the highlights that stand out for you from your time at the College, both the good and the bad…?

Maj Donnie Monroe:  Highlights, for me, are always the people; interacting with the many individuals that I have had the opportunity to work with and rely upon as DDCdts was a blessing. Beyond that, in very general terms, I’ve gained an appreciation for the challenges that RMCC graduates must overcome which has led me to a great deal of respect for those RMCC graduates who come out the other end as better people, not just smarter and more capable, but better. The demands of my job, which cost me the opportunity to  impact and interact with the OCdts from a leadership perspective, as a Div Comd does, is one disappointment I have.

e-Veritas: What do you appreciate about working with the Cadets…?

Maj Donnie Monroe: I very much enjoy the youthful energy that comes from working with the Cadets. I come from a teaching background and I see my interactions as an opportunity to pass on my experiences. In return I get a jolt of energy and enthusiasm.

e-Veritas: What advice would you leave for the Cadets, if any, sir…?

Maj Donnie Monroe: My advice, cliché as it may sound is this: don’t let failures or successes get in the way of your progress. Analyze them, learn from them, and move forward.

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Spotlight on PSP Staff: Stephane Robert

Posted by rmcclub on 17th June 2012

“…You sure as hell don’t want to wake up at the age of 40 and realize that your life sucks simply because you did what others said you were supposed to do.”
25366 Mike Shewfelt recently had the opportunity to sit down with Stephane Robert, Physical Educator / Curriculum Development Coordinator in RMCC’s Athletic Department. 

e-Veritas: Why did you decide to come to the Royal Military College of Canada…?

Stephane Robert:  I came to RMC simply because it afforded me the opportunity to do what I’m passionate about (i.e. coaching/teaching in the field of strength and conditioning). Previously I was working in a management position and, although it was still in the fitness industry, it didn’t allow the hands-on type of work I was truly looking for. Since being here I can honestly say I look forward to going to work every day – may sound like BS but it’s very true!

e-Veritas: What memories stand out for you from your time at the College, both good and bad…?

Stephane Robert: My greatest highlight was being selected as the Honourary Graduate for the Class of 2012. This proved to me that without a doubt I have something that the Cadets appreciate – whether it’s my attitude, teaching style or maybe it’s that they see that I’m truly passionate for what I do. Another great highlight of my time here has been working with the Sandhurst Team. They are some of the hardest working and professional (most of the time) individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. As for other highlights, I don’t like to sound cliché but I can honestly say that teaching and working with OCdts on a day-to-day basis is one of the best things I could ask for. And for bad highlights, I can’t think of one!

e-Veritas: You mentioned Sandhurst team, which you’ve spent a lot of time working with. How did you get involved in that, and what exactly do you do…?

Stephane Robert:  I got involved with the Sandhurst team when I was approached by the team Captain, Lt. Nick Bouchard (then OCdt). Since then I’ve taken care of their physical training which involves 4 months of daily training sessions encompassing weight training, hill sprints, longer duration runs as well as other training means while sometimes mixed with military skills. The training itself is very difficult in nature and therefore requires candidates to show up for selection already at a fairly high level of fitness.

e-Veritas: What do you like about working with the Cadets…?

Stephane Robert:  They’re young, passionate and full of energy (most of the time). It makes working with them always fun!

e-Veritas: If you could give any advice to the Cadets, what would it be…?

Stephane Robert: The absolute most important advice I could possibly give is to simply be honest with yourself. People will always tell you what to do, or who to be but if actual genuine happiness is what you want in life, then strive to find out who you really are. You sure as hell don’t want to wake up at the age of 40 and realize that your life sucks simply because you did what others said you were supposed to do.

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