A T-spoon dose of reality aimed for cadets
Lt Max Peetsma (25726), 10 Sqn, Class of 2012
I am nearing the end of my second year as 6 Platoon Commander, Bravo Company (Para), 3 PPCLI. As a Pl Comd, I’ve had the opportunities to go all over the world, from parachuting into the Arctic Circle, to being deployed from Poland to Latvia as part of Op REASSURANCE Roto 0. I am currently preparing to go on Advanced Reconnaissance Patrolman course, in Gagetown, to be qualified to eventually command our Recce Platoon.
The first thing someone told me when I got to RMC was that this was an opportunity for me to get what I wanted out of it. I took that to heart, and was “all-in” for all 4 years at the college (never once falling asleep in class!)
I grew from my experience at RMC, and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
The highlights for me were: Sandhurst: this team made me a stronger person, both physically and mentally. The ability to shoot, move, and communicate under duress relates100% to my duties as an Infantry Officer.
Networking: I made it a point to try to know every person at the College. Tho I likely failed, I got to know hundreds of amazing people with their own unique stories. The more educated amongst us would call this ‘successful networking’, but I looked at it more like ‘making friends’ haha. The rumours are true, I can really go anywhere in Canada, and even overseas, and I always have a friend to meet, and they always have somewhere to stay if/when they come to Edmonton
Squadron Commanders: Capt Schamuhn, Capt Gatehouse, Lt(N) Pothier; these are just a few names of people who mentored me through college, and were models for me to emulate. Now I get to work side by side with them! It’s a real pleasure
FYOP: The best opportunity at RMC to see who you are as a leader. I did it as a Section Commander and as a Flight Leader, and it was the most challenging, yet rewarding opportunity that RMC provided.
Finally, (and I’m likely missing some very valid experiences) the Peer Assistance Group: I never really knew to what level the Cadet Wing was stressed out, to the point of multiple attempted suicides that I witnessed, and was able to help as best as I could. It was very enlightening to see the pain that many cadets hid and suppressed, but rewarding to see what help an organization such as PAG could do. Many people still scoff at PAG as being ‘soft’, or even, ‘unnecessary’. Those people are wrong. Period. Social support is the best medication we can provide and we should continue to help each other out as best we can
Though RMC is a unit, the ‘curriculum’ that the Cadet Wing completes is a 4-year course. (Course code AFAN on your MPRR). Stick-It-Out. Learn everything you can, and even if you leave the military, you can still apply so many valuable experiences that you will learn
“Why do I have to learn French?” “Why do I have to sit through PMT every week.” “Why…?” Learn what ‘Service before Self’ really means. You are not going through RMC for your sake, you are going through to become the best Officer you can be to command the Subordinates placed in your care. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
TDV. Learn it, live it. Above all else, cultivate personal integrity beyond reproach. Be truthful and be yourself in everything you do. Guard against bad decisions. We are, each and every one of us, one bad decision from ruining a life full of potential (DUI, etc..)
Finally, and most importantly, HAVE FUN. Positivity is infectious. There is an incredible power in smiling. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to take it easy, I mean to smile when the going gets tough, and to smile more when the going is at its worst. My favourite inspection is my sporadic ‘smile checks’ that I conduct on my guys to make sure they’re still having fun, despite the fact that they, oh, are covered in sweat, rain, and a bit of blood and are utterly exhausted. As I told Savage flight: “be like the Royal Marine Commando’s and always show ‘[c]heerfulness in the face of adversity’!”
Note on the photo:
The picture is of me (left) and our Padre Lt(N) Roberge.
Prior to it being taken, we had just completed a 10 day exercise in the cold wet mud doing very challenging platoon attacks, we only got a few hours sleep and were awaken at 0200 to start getting ready for our jump, we had just learned that the Drop Zone was far rougher than originally predicted and that injuries had already been sustained on the first jump.