“I’m not sure if that was a reward or a punishment!”
Article by 25366 Anna-Michelle Shewfelt
7812 Reg Shortt (RRMC/RMC 1968) is still as active as ever in the ex-Cadet community. “I have been Class Secretary for the past 46 years,” he said, “and, as a committee of one, have organized all our reunions, including our 50th, just past.” As he went on to explain, “I was not my classmates’ choice as we approached graduation, but volunteered when the original fellow was nowhere to be found come the time organize our first reunion in 1973. As a token of their appreciation, my classmates arranged for me to be presented with Canada’s Sesquicentennial Medal by Senator Joe Day, also a classmate, at our 50th Anniversary Meet & Greet at RMC last month. They also elected me as Secretary in Perpetuity. I can’t say if that was a reward or a punishment!”
So what drew him to military college in the first place? The Montreal native explained, “As I was approaching my last year in high school, it became clear that regular university was not going to be affordable. By that point I had spent some time in the Black Watch Cadets, and so the military had some appeal for me.” Reg applied, was accepted, and entered Royal Roads in 1964.
He has fond memories of the next four years, both at Roads and in Kingston. His fondest memories include “the sheer beauty of the Royal Roads campus and the views across the Straits of Juan de Fuca, organizing some uniquely-themed dances and balls, and travelling with the college bands and shooting teams.” His biggest challenge? “Succeeding at the academics and related exams. If I were to apply to the colleges today with the credentials I had back then, I probably would not even make the long list.”
His graduation came at a unique point in the history of the Forces. “I graduated just as the Forces were undergoing unification, so my MOC became CELE (Land),” Reg recalled. “My first posting was to CFB Valcartier, newly designated as a French language Brigade Group. (I was one of those rare bilingual Anglophones at the time.) Three years later, having taken a computer programming course on my own, I was posted to the computer directorate at NDHQ, where I ended up in a very unique position involving the day-to-day operation of the newly designed automated supply system.” For Reg, that last job was one of the most memorable he had, although “spending six weeks bivouacked on a beach in Jamaica with the Van Doos while they underwent jungle warfare training is also ‘up there’.” He left the military in 1974.
His civilian career has spanned the 44 years since then and is still on going. “I have worked as an engineer, in sales and marketing positions, as a recruiter, and I am about to become a security guard,” he explained. “Sadly, I have not climbed the corporate ladder as high as I would have liked. Most of my career paths have been marked by significant achievements, related to the job in question.”
At the “tender age of 72” Reg has been married to his second wife, Vivian, since 1979 and they have two grown sons, Kevin and Ryan.