Ian Douglas Ferrier: The Way I See It

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The Way I See It

By OCdt (III) Ian Douglas Ferrier

  • Rugby Paladins to tangle McMaster, Wed in play-off match

  • Professional Military Training

  • Physical Performance Test

  • C and D Division Mess Dinner

  • Thinking about the fallen as Remembrance Day approaches

I’ve just returned from another road trip as the Men’s Varsity Rugby Team Manager which was an overnight stay in downtown Toronto before the final game of the regular season against the Toronto Varsity Blues.  RMCC Men’s Rugby woke up early in the morning to practice before heading to breakfast.  When the game started at 1300, the initial signs were not good as Toronto scored a try within the first ten minutes – this would be an uphill battle until the end of the game.  OCdt (III) Matthew Courtney scored two trys and a conversion kick and OCdt (III) Williams, the Team Captain, scored two trys.  With minutes to spare, Toronto in our end of the field, the Paladins pushed back against Toronto for a final score of RMCC 17, Toronto 15.  This close call brings RMCC Men’s Rugby to the playoffs, commencing on Wednesday, November 4th @ McMaster – 2 PM.

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This week at the college, another session of Professional Military Training was cancelled to allow for more time to study during the last week of midterms and the Change of Command Ceremony for the incoming Director of Cadets.  While I was unable to attend the ceremony, I’m sure we will learn more about the incoming Director of Cadets in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Cadets from all years performed the RMC Physical Performance Test.  The test includes five components which are the 20m shuttle run, push-ups, sit-ups, the standing long jump, and the agility run.  Cadets are also required to pass the standard for the rest of the Canadian Forces earlier in the year, otherwise known as the FORCE Test.  All Cadets must pass the RMC PPT in order to advance to the next year’s privileges and avoid being put on supplementary physical training, which occurs four times a week in the early hours of the morning.  Cadets physically unable to perform the test or who were close to passing will be given a chance to attempt the test during the next few weeks.

Male

  Pass 100%
Push-ups

28

77

Sit-ups

35

100

Agility Run

17.8 sec

15.2 sec

Standing Long Jump

195 cm

277 cm

20-Metre Shuttle Run

Level 9.5

Level 14.5

Female

  Pass 100%
Push-ups

14

38

Sit-ups

35

100

Agility Run

19.4 sec

16.2 sec

Standing Long Jump

146 cm

229 cm

20-Metre Shuttle Run

Level 7.5

Level 12

 

On Wednesday, October 28th, first year Cadets and their staff participated in the C and D Division Mess Dinner.  The A and B Division dinner had occurred sometime earlier and it is a tradition which allows Cadets to experience the Mess Dinner, a military tradition which allows Officers, and sometimes NCMs, to bond and chat in a relaxed setting.  The dinner usually consists of several courses and requires Cadets to use proper etiquette such as selecting the proper cutlery and comporting themselves as gentlemen and ladies, but often includes several pranks.  My Father, formally a Master Corporal in the South Alberta Light Horse, has told me of several of these planks, including hiding the chairs of those who leave the table or tying together the Commanding Officer’s shoelaces in the hopes that he embarrasses himself by tripping.

Dinner music was provided by the RMCC Band and included background piano music, the RMCC Choir, and the Brass Quintet which plays military marches during the toasts to various military units, Her Majesty The Queen of Canada, and the empty table that, unfortunately, is found by the entrance of all mess dinners.

“The Toast to Fallen Comrades” is given at all military dinners and shall be as such, often with the speaker making anecdotes to personal experience and the importance of remembrance:

“You may have noticed the small table set for one that is off on its own – it is reserved to honour our fallen comrades in arms. This symbolizes that they are with us, here in spirit. We should never forget the brave men and women who answered our nation’s call [to serve] and served the cause of freedom in a special way. We are ever mindful that the sweetness of enduring peace has always been tainted by the bitterness of personal sacrifice. We are compelled to never forget that while we enjoy our daily pleasures, there are others who have endured the agonies of pain, deprivation and death.

I would like to explain the meaning of the items on this special table.

  • The table is round – to show our everlasting concern for our fallen comrades.
  • The tablecloth is white – symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.
  • The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of our fallen comrades, and the loved ones and friends of these comrades who keep the faith.
  • The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to remember our fallen comrades.
  • A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those who will never return.
  • A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by the families of those who have sacrificed all.
  • The Holy Book represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country.
  • The glass is inverted, they cannot toast with us at this time.
  • The chair is empty because they are no longer with us.

Let us remember – and never forget their sacrifice.

May they and their families ever be watched over and protected.”

As I think about the fallen and the quickly approaching remembrance events that will fill early November, I am reminded of the beloved Arch that we shall only march through twice during our time at RMCC – upon entering the College and upon graduation.  Our Arch has undergone several renovations to replace the peeling copper and rusting plaques of the structure dedicated in 1924, and several names are now visible on the left flank of the Arch, hidden to the side.  The names of these fallen Cadets are fresh, for example Captain Nicola Goddard who was killed just a few years ago in Afghanistan, and who is a testament to the Lady Cadets of RMC who were for so long barred of entry into the Canadian Armed Forces.  In just two years, my friends and I will pass under the Arch to claim the responsibility of leadership and unlimited liability.  We will be equipped with only our wits, the skills RMCC has provided to us over four years, and the incredible Canadians who have chosen to dedicate any part of their lives to service beyond self who make up our team.

 “Blowout you bugles over the rich Dead,

There’s none of these so lowly or poor of old,

But dying has made us rarer gifts than gold.”

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