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2015 USMA-RMC Exchange: Camaraderie mixed with competition

  • Perspective From Up North

  • Perspective From West Point


2015 USMA-RMC Exchange: Camaraderie mixed with competition

Perspective From Up North

By Officer Cadet Erik McGowan – Royal Military College of Canada

As always, it was an absolutely delightful experience to be able to spend some quality time with our allies from the South. The excitement was almost palpable in all parties involved from the moment the exchange cadets hopped off the bus.

Over the course of the weekend, they would experience all RMCC and Kingston had to offer. There was plenty on offer for both the newcomers to the exchange and the seasoned veterans of the exchange.

Two mess functions were organized in order to allow guests to mix with hosts. The first was an unobstructed event, resulting in plenty of pleasant conversation as well as some very competitive pool. The second provided a plethora of divertissements for attendees, from the quick-to-toss mechanical bull to the wrecking ball arena.

The events clearly displayed the preparedness and organization of the leadership team, and were enjoyed immensely by all.

Despite this, there is definitely something to be said for the organic encounters over the weekend. Conversation topics were wide-reaching, spanning from the state of world affairs to politics, as well as the relative beauty of both the city of Kingston and its inhabitants.

Friday classes also exposed our guests to our academic reality, in my personal case allowing my guest (Class of 2016 Cadet) Zachary McNally to participate in a materials lab, assisting in the heat treatment of aluminum at temperatures in excess of 600 degrees C.

Some portion of the visiting population also got to experiment with chemistry, specifically the effects of human exposure to certain hydrocarbons, at the very adequate facilities in town.

Overall, the plans went off without a hitch, and both nationalities of cadets parted ways having not only made new friends, but having broadened their knowledge, experience and horizons. I would like to personally thank all the staff and cadet leaders who made this exchange possible, as well as Zach for being the perfect guest.


Caption: (Left) Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr. is the 59th superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy; he assumed the position July 17, 2013. (Right) BGen Al Meinzinger is the 45th commandant at RMC; he took command 25 July 2013.

Caslen, a USMA Class of 1975 graduate, arrived at West Point having served as the Chief of the Office of Security Cooperation, Iraq. He also commanded the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and was the commanding general of the Multi-National Division-North, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Meinzinger, a 1989 RMC graduate and a four year member of the Redmen hockey team. His recent appointments include: NORAD headquarters as the Chief of Staff for the Canadian NORAD OUTCAN staff. In 2011 he deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan to command Canada’s Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing during which he oversaw the final phase of Air Wing support to combat operations. In June 2012, he was appointed as Deputy Director of Strategy, Policy and Plans.

BGen Meinzinger led a RMC contingent and traveled to USMA during the recent West Point exchange. The commandant and his party enjoyed the hospitality of the USMA Superintendent on the Friday night during a wonderful reception held at his home, as well as the various Saturday events and challenges taking place.

Perspective From West Point –