CENTENNIAL CLASS OF 1976/CLASSE DU CENTENAIRE 1976
À l’approche de l’entrée de notre promotion dans la Vieille Brigade, plusieurs souvenirs remontent à la surface. Je vais tenter d’en écrire quelques uns; certains en français, certains en anglais.
As the date of entry of our Class into the Old Brigade approaches, many memories resurface; I will try to write some of them – in French or in English.
GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON JR COMES TO VISIT
The movie “Patton” came out in 1970 and resulted in an Academy Award for George C. Scott. But little is known about the great General himself coming to visit RMC a few times leading up to West Point weekend in our 4th Year. Being a tanker myself, I loved the idea of him spending some time haranguing the Cadets and providing leadership to our group.
Cole Tokei was the main player in this thespian tour de force. Somehow, he found himself a pair of riding boots, a crop, riding pants, all kinds of awards and medals that he pinned on his battle blouse stuffed to make him look pumped.
The first visit of the good General took place in our Third Year during the visit of USAFA to RMC. During a lunch break, MPs in helmets and sunglasses (Loziuk, Amyotte, Camplin, and others) walked into Yeo Hall with Patton following. He proceeded to make a speech exhorting the RMC teams to “vanquish the enemy” and “believe in the superiority of the Canadian soldier”. The USAFA Cadets responded by leading their Cadets through their College cheer.
Somehow, again one snowy morning in January, through the help of one of our Buds who knew a Captain on the hill, we managed to commandeer an M577 armoured tracked command post and a jeep from CFB Kingston. So here we were Thursday morning during the DCdts parade: as the Wing was formed up, around the corner from the Old Hospital came a jeep followed by the M577, and they stopped in front of Currie building. The DCdts was surprised, but LCol John Gardam being an Armour Officer, was not afraid; he should have been! Out of the jeep came two MPs who kidnapped him and the jeep sped off behind Fort LaSalle. The ramp of the M577 then came down, and two soldiers carrying flags stepped out and crossed the flags. On top of the CP stepped General Patton: silver helmet gleaming, pearl-handled pistols on his hips and a bull horn to address the troops.
Then from behind Fort LaSalle came the sound of two shots. Patton announced that the DCdts had been sacrificed and that HE would now lead “you magnificent bastards”! His speech was laced with “We are going to go through them like crap through a goose!” and “When you put your hand in a pool of goo that used to be your friend’s face, you’ll KNOW what to do!” The Wing was cheering as Patton remounted his trusty steel steed and left the square.
Patton’s final appearance was in our 4th Year, when West Point was visiting. Another lunch was interrupted by two motorcycles ridden by MPs (same guys) leading the General right into the middle of Yeo Hall! Another rousing speech followed which left our visitors shaken at the duplicity of this famous graduate of the USMA who was supporting RMC.
I am told that there was one other appearance by Patton on the same weekend that is not as well known. As the Superintendent of West Point (LGen Berry) was standing outside on the snowy square, Patton came to say hello. Apparently when Tokei saluted Berry, the Superintendent replied “perhaps it should be me who salutes, sir!” All in good fun!
To be continued…
For previous articles in this series please see below. / Pour les articles précédents de cette série, voir ci-dessous.