16888 BGen Al Meinzinger XLV RMCC Commandant

All photos from the CoC parade by Brad Lowe – Base Photo

New Commandant for RMCC

On Thursday, July 25, the Change of Command Ceremony between outgoing Royal Military College of Canada, commandant Major-General JGE Tremblay (photo right) and his replacement Brigadier-General AD Meinzinger (photo left) took place on the RMCC parade square under ideal summer weather conditions.

Presiding Officer was Major General PJ Forgues (photo c), Commander of the Canadian Defence Academy.

Dr Stéphanie Bélanger (photo left), Associate Professor in the Department of French Studies, was the master of ceremonies.

Padre Maj Heather Smith and Padre Maj Jean-Paul Rochefort performed the parade blessing.

Special thanks must be given to the music band of  Her Majesty Canadian Ship ONTARIO for their  excellent support.

9889 Robert J. (Bob) Benn – RMC Club President motored from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC to attend this special event.

Dr Bélanger started off her first class MC performance, by introducing the many guests and spectators in the crowd to some of the history of RMCC.

She went right back to 1874 when The Royal Military College of Canada was created by an Act of Parliament which called for the establishment of, “a military college in one of the garrison towns of Canada.” The site of the old Royal Navy Dockyard in Kingston was selected for the new College and, under the direction of the newly appointed first Commandant, LCol E.O. Hewett of the Royal Engineers, the dockyard buildings were renovated for College use.

Covering major time periods throughout the 1900s, the style of delivery by the MC was highly professional and very easy to understand; blending in an equal amount of both French and English. She concluded with how the college has now evolved into that of a modern, bilingual university offering degree programmes in Arts, Science and Engineering at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels.

There were a number of Honors and Awards presented:

Col Karl Michaud (Photo above) was presented the General Campaign Star – South West Asia 3rd Rotation Bar;

The Canadian Forces Decoration medal was presented to Lt(N) Mooney; and

Mr Sylvain Boucher was recognized with a his 35 years of service award.

Principal, Dr Joel Sokolsky (Photo left), presented a RMCC Flag to MGen Tremblay. Dr. Sokolsky has been the Principal of the Royal Military College of Canada since August 1, 2008.

The Commander of the Canadian Defence Academy, MGen Pierre Forgues was the first to speak.

“ During his two year tenure, MGen Tremblay, delivered an impressive performance, ensuring all aspects of his mission were addressed effectively and efficiently. He strengthened the military component of the RMCC experience while never compromising on the integrity of the academic programme. He optimized resources to ensure excellence in the athletic programme, and promoted bilingualism in both students and staff. In short, he delivered on his mandate to produce Officers, well educated, by ensuring an environment for success was developed and sustained.”

MGen Tremblay gave an impressive summary of the major events and happenings during his two year tenure. “RMCC remains the only organization within the Government of Canada granting University degrees. As a military unit, a key bastion of the profession of arms and a guardian of the Officer Corps, it is not surprising that that the core mission of RMCC is to produce “Officers Well Educated”. RMCC is also contributing significantly to education and professional military education, in residence or through distance learning, to enhance the professional development of our Non-Commissioned Officers.”

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Address from Incoming Commandant Al Meinzinger

“This College is a very important place for me personally and without question, has shaped who I am today as an officer within the military.”

Mr Milliken, MGen Forgues, Fellow General and Flag serving and retired Officers, previous Commandants, Distinguished Guests, RMCC Senior Staff Members, Members of the Ex-Cadet Club and the RMCC Foundation, Cadets of the Royal Military College, Friends and Family, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Je ne peux concevoir un meilleur moment, pour assumer les devoirs et les responsibilités du commandant du College Militaire Royal du Canada. Comme membre de la famille de la Force aérienne depuis ma naissance, c’est un vrai honneur d’avoir été choisi pour servir le College et les Forces Canadiennes. Je voudrais remercier le General Lawson pour la confiance qu’il m’accorde.

Wow – what an incredible day. Let me start by stating how particularly moved I am by to be holding this Change of Command ceremony in such splendid surroundings here on the parade square of the Royal Military College of Canada bounded by Navy Bay and Kingston Harbour, where so much history has unfolded over the last 137 years.

I cannot begin to describe to you the memories that have flooded back to me over the last several days, and during my recent handover week, as I wandered the grounds and laid eyes on so many magnificent symbols of the College’s rich history.

I remember vividly running my nightly dose of corrective circles within the infield track off in the distance, I remember ripping across the parade square at max speed during my entire first year – occasionally using my brief case as an IBD (improvised battering device) as I bowled for senior bar-men on the icy ground, I remember writing many an exam within the old gym (and as I recall typically freezing in the process) and of course I remember marching off the parade square as a College graduate in May 1989, meeting my family just South of good old ‘Brucie’ as a newly minted officer in the Canadian Armed Forces! It truly does feel like it was only a short while ago that I was a wide-eyed member of the Cadet Wing.

Mindful of those great memories, I would like to first acknowledge the cohort of the Class of 89, ‘my buds’, who are here today (in uniform, as academia and as proud community leaders and Canadian citizens) who shared in many of these experiences – and yes we can hold our 25 year reunion party at the Commandant’s Residence next Fall – I promise!

So in many ways, today is very much a home-coming and while my wife and two children have not had the good fortune of experiencing the splendour of both the College and the beautiful City of Kingston first hand, we are extremely excited about becoming Kingstonians. We are looking forward to immersing ourselves in all the richness that both the College and the city have to offer.

This College is a very important place for me personally and without question, has shaped who I am today as an officer within the military. I am deeply aware of the amazing history and recognize the fundamental role this institution plays in forming officer cadets for future service to Canada as members within the profession of arms, along with providing a host of other renowned academic programs. The four pillars of the RMCC ROTP program are as fundamental today as they were when I was an officer-cadet a couple of decades ago.

And when one considers how the level of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity has increased within the contemporary operating environment, it is clear that these pillars are perhaps even more relevant today as it is essential that we develop strong, ‘plug and play’ military leaders who are fit, intellectually agile, and able to lead in non-traditional and more demanding leadership milieus.

This is why I believe this College plays such a fundamental role as a force generator for the Canadian Armed Forces, as the institution has, since its forming in 1876 evolved, adapted and renewed itself to remain aligned and relevant to the needs of the day…to the needs of Canada. The key constituent elements of the College have worked together in professional fashion, producing top-notch graduates for service here at home and around the world. The College Colours proudly displayed here today and the magnificent College Arch off in the distance, in my view, are both representative of the significant level of dedication and personal sacrifice and service to our great country that our cadets have made since the College opened well over a hundred years ago. These noble values, in my view, have remained steadfast over the years. Without question, it will be these very qualities that will see us succeed as we meet the challenges of the future head-on as a cohesive College team.

I must say that am extremely optimistic as I look to the future. As our new Canadian Armed Forces Strategic Guidance places a clear emphasis on advancing the profession of arms, education and professional development, it is obvious that all of us within the College Team will be involved in contributing to our renewed Canadian Armed Forces. It is the College team that will remain the centre of gravity for our future success. As we move forward we must continue to renew and adapt as we tackle the challenges ahead. Without question the foundation on which we will build our path to the future, our people, the outstanding men and women of the Royal Military College, will continue, as in the past, as our greatest strength.

Ce sont les hommes et les femmes qui servent le Canada et continuent de faire des sacrifices personnels qui sont la clé du notre succès. Les hommes et les femmes du College ici sont des gens extraordinaires, professionnels, capables d’accomplir de grandes choses et d’établir des norm et de qualité respectées à travers le monde. Votre dévouement et votre determination sont remarquables et dignes d’une équipe unie et forte

As the new Commandant of RMCC, I am privileged to lead the members of this proud and distinguished national institution and relish this great responsibility. I am extremely grateful for this challenging opportunity and assume this responsibility with the knowledge that there remains much important work left to be done. While the road ahead is not without its challenges, I look forward to leading RMC during this journey.

I did want to close with a few personal comments. Throughout my career I’ve been truly fortunate to have had the strong support of my family. I am most pleased that many of them have been able to join us here today; my parents Dave and Kate from Orleans, my in-laws Bill and Barby from Edmonton, my siblings Dave and Helen (with Jay and Kaiden), my cousins Alan and Sheila from Scotland and the rest of the Meinzinger, Macalister, Lewis and Swanson clan. You have made this a more special day by being here. Thank you. I also want to acknowledge some true friends that also made the trek from faraway places like Edmonton and Calgary to be here today.

My greatest supporters however, are my wife and my two children. To Joy, Shayna and Nolan – much thanks for all your support. I know the last little while has been a tough stretch but there are brighter days ahead. I wouldn’t be where I am today, without all your support on the home-front. And I must declare, in Shayna and Nolan, the College has just accrued its biggest sports fans. Go Paladins!

I look forward to meeting with you at the reception which follows, but before I wrap up I too want to acknowledge the great work accomplished for the College by BGen Eric Tremblay. Eric, you are a proven leader who is highly respected as an experienced and dedicated officer within the Canadian Armed Forces. You have been instrumental to the effective and efficient functioning of the College over two very challenging years. As Commandant, you have achieved great success in moving the College forward in a manner that has ensured this amazing institution is on sound footing. To both you and Brigid, thanks for all you have done and best wishes on the next phase of your journey as Commander CDA and, of course, as my new boss. Thanks too, to the many friends of the College who are with us today. Your presence has added much to the ceremony.

I look forward to working together with all of you so that we may continue to build and strengthen the College.

Truth, Duty Valour!

Thank-you

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What the College Chief Warrant Officer – Chief Petty Officer First Class – Keith Davidson – Had to Say

“MGen Fourgues, MGen Tremblay, BGen Meinzinger, Senator Segal, Dr Hsu, the honourable Mr Milliken, Dr Sokolsky, members of the RMC Board of Governors, Previous Commandants of the RMCC, General officers, Maj (ret`d) Danny Mcleod, Officers and CWO`s Military and civilian faculty and staff, friends and family.

J’ai le grand privilège d’avoir la chance aujourd’hui de partager avec vous tous publiquement le respect et l’admiration ressentis envers le major général Tremblay par les hommes et les femmes qu’il a dirigés en tant que commandant du Collège militaire royal du Canada au cours des deux dernières années.

It is my belief that great leaders should hear from the men and women they have led, especially when they have conducted themselves meritoriously. Great leaders don’t typically like nor do they require public praise for the things they do and although some of you may consider that what I am about to say is some kind of report card or 360 degree evaluation made public, the actual intent is to provide a forum for closure for the 2000 plus men and women of RMCC that are feeling a sense of loss today.

Major général Tremblay, nous avons été inspirés par votre leadership en qualité de commandant du Collège militaire royal du Canada et par la façon dont vous nous avez guidés vers l’avenir.

All those who have served you in this capacity did so willingly as we all understood that despite the volume of work required to achieve your aims, all the while constrained by a significant lack of personnel in several key areas of the colleges organization, the ways and means as highlighted in your campaign plan collimated into what we all believe to be relevant and necessary ends. It is clearly understood and supported by all that the road map that you have laid out for us in the form of a campaign plan must continue in order to ensure that the ends will create an environment of much needed stability and consistency for the military and civilian faculty, staff and students of RMCC.

I would also like to recognize that despite the perceived desire for you to achieve the ends, at a rate of change that seemed almost unattainable by us mere mortals, it was your actions sir that highlighted that despite the need for change, you consistently demonstrated that your true priority was to ensure that all who entered the doors of RMCC were always treated with utmost dignity, respect and above all compassion when necessary. Vous avez pris le temps de vous impliquer, d’écouter, de confirmer l’orientation à prendre et, en bout de ligne, vous nous avez fait confiance. We all felt that your Heart was here at RMCC and your decisions never lost sight of the people who work so hard to make RMCC a better place to be and to ensure the long term health and sustainability of the College.

Sir, The selfless and countless hours of personal time that you have devoted to this institution are unfathomable. Your comprehensive understanding of the minuets of details were exhausting, you’re no nonsense, command centric leadership style was necessary. Your Go slow, fact based, benefit to the member mantra taught us all valuable lessons and last but not least your relentless pursuit and desire of excellence for us all was very much appreciated Sir

Sir, On behalf of the men and women of RMCC, Nous vous remercions de l’expérience de service remarquable que nous avons connue avec vous et nous sommes impatients de servir avec vous en votre nouvelle qualité de commandant de l’Académie canadienne de la Défense.

‘Fair winds and following seas’-Truth Duty Valor.”

New RMC Commandant”  – CKWS Video