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.
RECRUIT TERM AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1972
The first day of arrival at the College was very interesting; the bus left us on the parade square with our suitcases (in my case my mom had packed a large blue metal trunk with everything I was EVER going to need – how embarrassing!), along the side of the square where the flag mast is located. The Senior Cadets were dressed in scarlets and carried a clipboard, pants bloused perfectly and gaiters and boots shone to a high standard. The Flight Leaders (mine was a very cool dude with a big moustache called Hugh McEwen) called out your name and proceeded to get their flight together, and marched them to their dormitory. All of us had different lengths of hair – remember this was 1972 when long hair was the fashion. Karl Scharnitzky is the one I remember with the longest hair. I had gotten a brushcut just before arriving so some buds called me Herman Munster.
One thing I found most disturbing was to march in the corridors of the dorms with arms swinging shoulder-high. It just was not normal! Also, the constant rushing: you had to do everything quickly: two minutes to shower, then all of us coming back to form up in our bathrobes as the Seniors did a soap inspection (?). The first morning after sleeping through the night – barely – (DB Murray, my roommate and I were too excited to sleep) was a shock: at 6 o’clock, music blaring, aluminum gashcans thrown down the hallway, yelling and screaming to get your housecoats on and stand outside your door at attention. Then two minutes to get your PT gear on and out for a run. It was the beginning of many full, very full and exhausting days – until lights out at 10PM…nobody had any problem sleeping through the night from then on!
Now, whenever you wished to speak to a Senior, you had to go through the usual rigamarole and report to him, standing perfectly at attention, and bark out: “10966 Maisonneuve J.O.M. 3 Squadron, G Flight, reporting, Mr McEwen” to which the Senior, usually in a bored voice, would reply: “Yes, Mr Maisonneuve?” and you made your request. Even at a meal, where a Senior sat with you, you had to report so you could ask the Senior “Could you pass the salt, please?” I very quickly learned to drink my coffee without cream or sugar so I didn’t have to ask someone to pass them…
This was the time when you started to look at some models of Cadets you might want to emulate. Some were just incredible leaders who exuded confidence. Some were hard, but fair. Many were understanding of the complete cultural change you were experiencing. A few of course, would never be your favourites, and some were outright frightening!
To be continued