Leaders of tomorrow have their say…

Leaders of tomorrow have their say…

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OCDT (IV) LANDRY 26559 – ENGINEERS – CHEMICAL ENGINEERING

OCdt (IV) Nicholas Swanson 26585 – CELE – Honours Physics and Space Science

They share: most favourable & disappointing memories of their time at RMCC; what changes they would like to see at RMCC and much, more

MORE…

OCDT LANDRY 26559 – ENGINEERS – CHEMICAL ENGINEERING

What were your inspiration & motivation to attend RMCC?

My father, Maj (ret’d) 15532 Serge Landry is a graduate of the class of 1987. From a very young age he not only taught me the values of the military lifestyle, but also the importance of having solid foundations early on in life.

In my opinion, it was no accident that we spent time posted in Esquimalt (near Royal Roads) and in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu (where my father worked at CMRSJ). Finally, when we were posted to Kingston in early 2006, my family slowly began displaying RMCC to me as the majestic institution it is often seen as by so many outsiders.

By early 8th grade, I was hooked and knew I would stop at nothing to attend university here. As my passion for my goal grew over the course of high school, I learned the importance of the CAF on the international level and fell in love with the idea of serving my country. Furthermore, as a cancer survivor, it became evident to me that I should give back and “pay my dues” for what society had done for me.

Looking back, I know I’ve made the right decision and am incredibly thankful to my family for guiding me down this path. I can only hope my younger brother, OCdt 27332 Nicholas Landry, feels the same way!

What is your most favourable memory of your time at RMCC?

For me, Copper Sunday has always held an incredibly special place in my heart. When I was in high school, I skipped classes with a friend one year to come and watch the cadets claim Freedom of the City. I could only imagine what it would feel like to someday fill their shoes. Doing so once a year now brings great pride to me knowing how long a tradition Copper Sunday has been upheld for.

What is your most disappointing memory of your time at RMCC?

Unfortunately, not everyone at RMCC truly appreciates the opportunity we are given. I understand that there are many difficult aspects of living through the 4 years here, and that this institution is not for everyone. However, some people honestly take it upon themselves to metaphorically “rattle the cage” as often as they can. RMCC provides us with an opportunity to learn to serve and to grow as people, not just as military officers. Looking at the bigger picture, not many places like this exist in society and I truly believe it is a privilege to undertake the 4 years here, yet alone even graduate.

What changes would you like to see at RMCC which would make it a better overall experience for those who will be following you?

Moving forward, RMCC needs to continue empowering the Cadet Wing with responsibilities and leadership opportunities. For many individuals here, it will be sink or swim when they leave, especially in the Combat Arms. In my opinion, as an institution, RMCC has the duty not only to provide officers to the CAF, but to produce well-rounded leaders that others want to follow. It does an incredible job doing so today, but there is always room for improvement.

Which senior cadet(s) influenced you most as a I, II, III Year and how?

Although I’m inclined to follow suit of my peers and say that everyone that I have interacted with at RMCC has had an impact of some degree on my life, I would not be true to myself without naming three people in particular:

Capt 25802 Dylan Grimm was my FYOP CFL who introduced me to the reality of life here at RMCC. He made me understand that it is not enough to simply attend RMCC and have made the cut, but that we must ALWAYS strive for excellence in all facets of our lives in order to truly uphold the standards of TDV. He instilled within me the importance of integrity and he was honestly the only person to actually scare me at RMCC.

Lt. 26005 Pier-Olivier Lessard-Godbout was my FYOP CSC, biggest mentor and one of my closest friends here at RMCC. Even after graduating in 2014, L-G and I keep in touch and he continues to provide me with wise advice in that apply to many aspects of not only my career, but also my life. He taught me the value of long-lasting friendships within the brotherhood of arms, the line between friend and superior, and most importantly the importance of being happy in life, no matter the situation. Being a fellow Engineering Officer (CHIMO!), it would be an incredible honour and pleasure to someday work for him within the branch.

Finally, 2Lt. 26311 Lauren Van Veen was my CSL when I was CSAdO in 3rd year, and a close friend throughout my time here at RMC. She gave me my first true leadership opportunity within her barslate and nurtured my development as a junior leader. Her positive outlook on life and respect for her subordinates are two of the most important qualities I think a leader can have. Without her guidance, I would not be the senior leader I am today within the Cadet Wing, and definitely would not have the same attitude towards RMCC and the CAF in general that I do. She also remains a close friend and I’m sure our paths will cross again sometime down the line.

What– in your opinion– makes a good leader?

One thing I’ve learned here at RMCC is that there in no mathematical equation to being a good leader. Being able to stand up in front of your subordinates and lead them towards their objective requires many attributes working in sync together. At the end of the day, I think that anyone can be a leader; they just need to have the right intentions for the situation and the courage to lead those men & women from the front towards achieving the goal in mind.

What does Truth, Duty, Valour (TDV) mean to you?

To me, TDV is words to live by. In short, if you are capable of carrying out your duties while staying true to yourself as a person and understanding the value in what you are doing, then you will come out of every situation a better and happier person, which is what I try to do here at RMCC and in my life in general. 

What is your ultimate goal after leaving RMCC?

Immediately after graduation, I look forward to my Phase 4 training as an Engineering Officer and to eventually being a Troop Commander. I have a couple of other short and long term goals in the military and in my personal life, but I think I’ll play those a little closer to my chest for now.

As for an ultimate goal, someday, hopefully in the distant future, I’ll be moments away from my death. I hope to look back on my life and be able to say to myself I did my best and be happy with who I am.

One last point.

RMC is 4 years of your life (5 for some right dad?), and, whether you like it or not, it passes by quickly. Soon enough, the safety net is gone. I’m sure for everyone that there will come a moment where things are bleak. Regardless of your element, branch or trade, at that moment, your men will turn to you and look to you as the leader of the group. It will be up to you to lead them out of the fray. Take the time here at RMC to prepare for that moment and grasp the opportunities you have that you will most certainly not have a few years down the road.

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OCdt (IV) Nicholas Swanson 26585 – CELE – Honours Physics and Space Science

What were your inspiration / motivation to attend RMCC?

Coming to RMC I really did not know what to expect. For someone who grew up in British Columbia their entire life, hundreds of kilometers away from any military bases and the nation’s capital, I had no exposure to the military culture. However, as I approached high school graduation, I knew that I wanted to do something meaningful with my career, something that would hopefully one day contribute to Canada as a whole and make a lasting and positive impact on those I would work with. That is, when I found out about the opportunity that RMCC offered, and I decided that it was where I wanted to go.

What is your most favourable memory of your time at RMCC?

It truly is difficult to select a single most favourable memory from the past four years. There are many close contenders, such as the time I spent in the Netherlands with the three other officer cadets selected from the college as well as a contingent of World War 2 veterans, or the swimming competitions and being able to stand on the podium to receive a medal at provincials. However the one moment that I still consider the highlight of my time here would be completing the obstacle course with Fighter Flight in my first year. This moment has always epitomized what I believe RMC was meant to be. The pride of overcoming obstacles through perseverance and determination and most importantly as a team. Winning the race was just icing on the cake.

What is your most disappointing memory of your time at RMCC?

For myself, one of the most disappointing memories I have of RMC ties in very closely with the thing that I am the most proud of. I sincerely value dedication and hard work in every area of my life. Due to the high stress and demands of the college however, there were many times in which the desire to perform to my highest standard overwhelmed me both physically and mentally. As a result there were a lot of opportunities that the college offered that I did not get to experience. I am, however very proud of the things that I have accomplished through the work that I have invested in the opportunities I have had.

What changes would you like to see at RMCC which would make it a better overall experience for those who will be following you?

Something that I have found over the course of my four years at the college is that one of the main sources of pride that originates from current students and graduates alike is the traditions and the history of the college. For me, this is no different. As a result, one thing that I would change to make the experience better is to solidify all the changes the school is undergoing. As Canada’s need for their military evolves, the training future officers must undergo to meet that demand must evolve as well, however many of the traditions that were the foundation for the school’s pride are slowly disappearing as the changes continue.

Which senior cadet(s) influenced you most as a I, II, III Year and how?

My biggest role models and influences throughout my time at the college were by far my FYOP staff. My CFL, David Blais, was the foundation and one of the first exposures to what I perceived the role of an officer to be in the CAF. The respect that he showed our flight throughout our training while still maintaining the firm and professional attitude required by a FYOP CFL inspired me right at the start of my military career. Another senior cadet that had a significant influence on me was Justin Hanlon, one of my FYOP CSCs. His positive attitude and drive that he invested into everything at the college quickly established him as one of my role models. Although he certainly put me through my paces during FYOP, he later became a good friend and mentor over the following two years at the college.

What– in your opinion– makes a good leader?

I have frequently thought about this question over my time at RMC, and have effectively decided on four values that I find contribute to good leadership: integrity, dedication, drive, and respect. Each of these traits represent what I firmly believe will assist a leader to excellence. They contribute to the  leader’s ability to develop their team and those working for them. Many of these, I also find, are frequently taken for granted in good leaders. However, the honesty that a leader has with themselves and their subordinates, the dedication they show to difficult tasks, the effort they put in for their superiors and subordinates, and the respect they show them, is integral in maintaining morale and achieving mission success.

What does Truth, Duty, Valour (TDV) mean to you?

To me Truth, Duty, Valour is the corner stone for what we as future officers need to know and understand in order to effectively serve Canada. Although the demands that we may faces as we progress through our careers may change and evolve, I believe that truth, duty, and valour are steadfast and, should be an integral part of their development.

What is your ultimate goal after leaving RMCC?

My ultimate goal is to contribute to the best of my ability to Canada. I hope to one day be able to pursue a graduate education as well, as I am very passionate about my degree, but I sincerely look forward to having the opportunity to both lead and learn from other officers and NCMs I will work with throughout my career.

One last point:

The people I have met here have become my best friends. The late nights, long days of class, and duty weekends are not what define my experience at the college, but rather the people with whom I shared those times.