OCdts. On Parade

Five Training Wing Main Events Completed to Kick-off 2011-12

By: Director of Cadets, LCol Susan Wigg

From our perspective, BGen Tremblay arrived with continued emphasis on excelling, without delay, at the finer points that make the Royal Military College of Canada the national treasure that it is.  Among others, one quick and notable evolution was the name change for the Military Wing.  We are now called the Training Wing, a name that is most fitting with our mandate and inclusive of both our civilian and military staffs.  Initially, one might question the necessity, the urgency or the significance of focusing on such matters; however, it is the simplest and most obvious things that, once “recognized” for what underlying factors they generate in the context of mission, become key to a successful foundation for the operation.  It is a great change!

The 2011/2012 training cycle has begun at the Royal Military College with five main events in the Training Wing.  The first week of August the Training Wing Sergeant Major kicked off with preparations for the Non Commissioned Members.  A key group, they agreed upon their methodologies for everything from discipline to drill, inspections and parades.  Most importantly, they confirmed understanding of the teaching, coaching and mentoring they must to do to contribute to building knowledge of the Officer Cadets regarding the officer-NCM command team.

The second event – a little earlier than scheduled – was the welcoming of the new Aboriginal Leadership Year (ALOY) cadets and the commencement of their three-week indoctrination and academic preparatory classes.  This year four women and fifteen men are set to take full advantage of the experience which is in its fourth year of operation.  A proud moment for both them and the College was their “badging parade” held on 1st September.  After accomplishing the basic military skills including individual and group movement, wearing and caring for uniforms, orientation and military deportment, they received the Tri-Service cap badge and are ready to confidently integrate within the College.

Thirdly, the Training Staff conducted a one-week workshop to ensure coherence and consistency with the task to coach and mentor the Cadet Wing.  An essential event, we were also blessed by the full attendance of the College’s new Padres, Maj Gaby Legault and Maj Heather Smith.  An intense but useful week we resolved all matters from philosophy of leading and managing the Cadet Wing to the nuts and bolts of how to effect our jobs with each other.

This rolled right into the fourth event that occurred the following week – the Barslate Workshop.  This year, a first perhaps in College history, the Barslate had taken over its duties on 5 May while the graduating fourth year class was still on the grounds to help coach the transition.  A positive step, this allowed the Cadet leaders to ponder their positions in the proper context throughout the summer.  Consequently, the Cadet team was ready and willing to absorb the insights of “how to” do the jobs they had been assigned.

Together we moved the yardsticks considerably on their role in supervising the success of their subordinates.  All part of empowering the Cadet Wing in its leadership development, we are expecting the current fourth year class to be the 2nd Lieutenants/ Acting Sub-Lieutenants they need to be at graduation “right now”.  It is for them to do the polish and the final development necessary over the next nine months to prove it to themselves and ultimately the units they will be posted to that they are “duty ready”.  The “polishing” of their skills will entail not only their personal command experiences within the Cadet Wing but also their efforts to successfully coach and prepare their Third Year class to take the reins.  It is our job as the Training Staff to set the conditions ensuring a good partnership with the Academic and Support Wings in order to coach and mentor them to that successful conclusion.

Embedded in the Barslate Workshop was the fifth key event – another first of its kind.  The First Year Orientation Program (FYOP) leaders were whisked away to the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruiting Centre where under the watchful eye of its Cmdt, LCol Ross Ermel, the First Year class was undergoing its second week of a two week CF indoctrination period.  At CFLRS the FYOP Cadet Leaders were given the insights, tools and techniques as to how to lead, command, control and correct the new First Year class during FYOP.   Already this opportunity is paying great dividends as the Cadet Wing leadership was provided more in-depth, professional insight into the “Know-How” of doing its job.

At this point, the in-clearance, the medical support, the dental check-ups and the resolution of academic registrations are winding up and the operational training cycle is beginning.  With the support of CFLRS, CFB Kingston and our own Academic and Support Wings we are in a great position for a productive cycle.  Stay tuned and watch for all the Cadet successes in 2011/2012.

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