A True Visionary and Mentor Honoured by AMS

A lasting legacy

A/SLt 24498 Noelani Shore (RMC 2009)

The Applied Military Science (AMS) Department honoured Major General C. Gordon Kitchen, CD, a true visionary and mentor, in a naming ceremony of the AMS theatre in recognition of the support to the Land Forces Technical Staff Programme (LFTSP) by MGen Kitchen.

Colonel William Lewis, Director of AMS, felt privileged to host this event, and to share the honour with MGen Kitchen’s wife, Mrs. Joan Kitchen, as well as family members, who were the guests of honour. The family members who were able to come to the event were MGen Kitchen’s children, Lieutenant Colonel David Kitchen, Mr John Kitchen, Mrs Heather Fawcett, as well as his grandchildren.

“I would like to thank all of you for being a part of the celebration today,” Col Lewis said. “I am privileged to host this event, and am reminded of a quote by Franklin Roosevelt in 1941, when he said: ‘It seems to me that a dedication is in itself an act of faith. To bring together the records of the past and to house them in buildings where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future, a Nation must believe in three things. It must believe in the past. It must believe in the future. It must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgment in creating their own future.’ In standing up this department, MGen Kitchen believed in those three things, and while we cannot predict the successes, our future will certainly be filled with the accomplishments of students to come.”

Among those in attendance at this event was the Commandant of the Royal Military College, Commodore William Truelove, Brigadier General Paul Wynnyk, Commander Land Forces Western Area, the Base Commander, Colonel Rick Fawcett as well as Lieutenant General (Ret’d) Jim Gervais and, Major General (Ret’d) Clive Addy.

Major General (Ret’d) Frank Norman, a friend of MGen Kitchen’s, was able to say a few words at the ceremony to give everyone a better understanding of the importance of this dedication.

“Today is a big deal,” MGen (Ret’d) Norman began. It is a particularly noteworthy event because it is the 15th anniversary of the course. MGen (Ret’d) Norman also pointed out that, in a quote by George Bernard Shaw, “The military and diplomats do nothing, nothing at all; but at least the military does so immediately.” So to have this naming ceremony is a testament to the hard-work and tireless efforts by many.

MGen Kitchen earned this honour as he was a champion for a complete professional development system that must include a comprehensive understanding of military science and technology for those aspiring to senior rank. In his opinion, competence and technical savvy were not to be seen as a hindrance, but an advantage. As MGen Kitchen said on many occasions, “The ability to spell science should not be a bar to promotion.”

In 1962, MGen Kitchen spoke with the Director at the time, and told him that the technical training would be better suited in Canada, rather than the United Kingdom. While MGen Kitchen enjoyed his time overseas, he also understood the importance of bringing that pool of knowledge onto home soil. He would have to wait to make this dream a reality.

Upon his retirement, MGen Kitchen worked as the International Marketing Manager, and later as the International Relations Manager for Raytheon (Canada) Ltd. In 1990, he established Texstaff Inc as the vehicle to drive the repatriation of technical staff training to Canada, a dream he had held since his graduation from the Royal Military College of Science in Shrivenham, Tech Staff Course 15.

John Kitchen, MGen Kitchen’s son thanked Col Lewis on behalf of the family.

“My father would be appreciative of this honour, as he enjoyed his work, and had great pride in it. It is a special honour to be here today, and this is a truly lasting legacy,” John Kitchen said.

Biography – Major General Gordon Kitchen, CD

Major General Gordon Kitchen was born in India in 1930. The son of Canadian Missionaries, he was educated in both the United States and Canada, graduating from the University of Western Ontario with a Bachelor of Arts in Science in 1953. During his university years, he had been a member of the Canadian Officers’ Training Corps. Upon graduation, he took up his commission serving with the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), and the fort Garry Horse before commanding the Royal Canadian Dragoons (1967-69).

Post Regimental employment included tours of duty as a staff officer, military educator, weapons director for operational army requirements, Army Attaché to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and later to Washington, DC, Deputy Chief of the Canadian Army Operations Research Establishment, and finally as Senior Military Advisor to the Cabinet committee on Foreign Aid and Diplomacy for the Canadian Government.

Along the way, he attended the School of Tank Technology at the Royal Armoured Corps School (UK), the Royal Military College of Science in Shrivenham, the Canadian Army Staff College, and the National Defence College. He taught Armour to the British Army Staff Course, and was Commandant of the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.

Whist a Directing Staff at RMCS Shrivenham, he wrote a conceptual thesis on Leadership, Command and Management entitled “theory Z.” In the period prior to his retirement from the CF, he authored a study on Post Graduate Training for Canadian Officers and acted as the Director of the Defence Resources Management Course at the Royal Military College.

Upon retirement, MGen Kitchen worked as the International Marketing Manager, and later as the International Relations Manager for Raytheon (Canada) Ltd. In 1990, he established Texstaff Inc as the vehicle to drive the repatriation of technical staff training to Canada, a dream he had held since his graduation from RMCS Shrivenham, Tech Staff Course 15.

MGen Gordon Kitchen was a champion for a complete professional development system that must include a comprehensive understanding of military science and technology for those aspiring to senior rank. Competence and technical savvy were not to be seen as a hindrance, but an advantage! As he said on many occasions, “the ability to spell science should not be a bar to promotion.”

Photos by Armaan Khan