“Since I was an officer, and the Director of PE, the Cadets usually called me `Sir`. Basketball days they’d call me “Coach” which was also fine, cadets would occasionally get flustered when speaking to me and call me “Sir-Coach”, “Coach-Sir” or “Sir-Coach-Sir”.”
Waldmar Eli (Hank) Tatarchuk has served basketball in Canada for over 50 years and in every capacity. He was a player in his Armed forces days before embarking on coaching positions with Canadian Forces and RCAF teams. He coached Royal Military College as well as at the Universities of Ottawa, Carleton, Alberta and Manitoba. He has been a referee in various parts of the world, but is widely recognized as the head of competition for the Montreal Olympics, LA Olympics, Seoul Olympics and World University Games in 1983 and 1993. He is married to Arlene (Hauberg) and they have one child Erik. Hank is a graduate of University of Alberta, BphE and University of Ottawa, MphE. He is President of Triple T Diversified Associates. He was inducted as a Member Canadian Forces Sports Hall of Fame ’99. He was inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in ‘2003. He is a member of Bob Ferguson’s “Who’s Who in Canadian Sport.”
Contact e-mail: [email protected]
e-veritas: How did you end up at RMC?
Hank Tatarchuk: I enlisted in the Air Force in 1951 as a Specialist PT with Drill responsibilities, I served as an instructor at the School of English at the RCAF Station in St. Jean, PQ from July to December, 1951. The early days of my career were spent as a Specialist PT at RCAF Station Saskatoon (1952); 2(F) Wing, Grostenquin, France (1952-53); then as the Branch evolved as Personnel/Specialist Services/PER at 4 (F) Wing, Baden Soellingen, Germany (1953-55), RCAF Station Comox 1955-56, 5 Air Division HQ, Vancouver, (1956- 60), and completing my service career at Training Command HQ 1968-71 and National Defence Headquarters in the Personnel Support/Physical Education and Recreation Branch.
I served at the Royal Military College in Kingston, ON from August 1963 to Aug 1967 as the Director of Physical Education and the Basketball Coach. Since I was an officer, and the Director of PE, the Cadets usually called me `Sir`. Basketball days they’d call me “Coach” which was also fine, cadets would occasionally get flustered when speaking to me and call me “Sir-Coach”, “Coach-Sir” or “Sir-Coach-Sir”.
At the time RMC was the Military degree granting University. College Militaire Royal was a three year feeder school and Royal Roads was a 2 year feeder school. All cadets, Navy/Army/Air Force followed degree courses in Arts, Science, Engineering. They were all required to take and pass the physical Education Course which was handled by a staff of Instructors – 3 Navy, 3 Army, 3 Air Force with a Senior Chief/Warrant Officer who rotated between the Services.
Until RMC was a highlight in my Service Career, the latter stages saw me involved in Forces Fitness programs, associated research, plus the sports championships program of the Canadian Forces.
e-veritas: What was the emphasis in the physical training program for the Air Force?
Hank Tatarchuk: In the Air Force, the emphasis was on a total fitness program. This included physical fitness, social fitness and psychological fitness. It was achieved through physical fitness activities – from calisthenics to sport, leisure and recreational activities that included personnel and their dependents. Serving with NATO in Europe, peacekeeping missions Cyprus, Egypt et al. Air Force Special Services personnel promoted all encompassing programs for service men and their dependents and for all ages and abilities.
During the Cold War, Air Force personnel needed to remain fit while serving at a variety of bases and stations. There were the strategically located military sites designed to function as the first and second lines of detection: the Distant Early Warning Line, the Mid-Canada Line, the Pinetree Line, and the McGill Fence. Since the Air Force personnel often had access to little or no facilities, a special program called 5BX for men, XBX for women was developed. The program featured progressive tables for five/ten exercises emphasising strength, power, flexibility and cardio facets of fitness. They could be done in 11-15 minutes and would assist personnel in maintaining a minimal level of personal fitness. On larger bases personnel would have access to base programs involving a wide array of activities, from sports -leisure programs as might be seen in any Canadian community.
5BX/XBX programs were circulated world wide, accepted by the US Air Force, and made available to the public at large.
e-veritas: Please describe Indian club swinging exercises.
Hank Tatarchuk: Although all three environments used Indian clubs in military physical readiness programs, they were probably most popular in the Navy. Club swinging originated in India by soldiers as a method of improving strength, agility, balance and physical ability. Indian Club Exercises were popular for warming up or cooling down before and after a workout or as the main activity, for example in juggling.
e-veritas: Were there special occupational physical training programs for Air Force trades?
Hank Tatarchuk: Yes. The Air Force and subsequently the Canadian Forces recognized the need for different (sometimes higher) levels of fitness programs for various occupational trades.
For example, The Canadian Airborne Regiment had its own fitness program to meet the rigours of their job. There was specialized screening and extremely high standards of mental and physical ability, fitness, professional experience and skill levels, maturity, and motivation.
Winter and summer wilderness living skills/aeronautical survival training covered the fundamentals of survival training with emphasis on skills development and practical application. The instruction included first aid; the construction of fires, shelters and signals, collection of food and water in the wilderness. The object was to construct a summer or winter shelter, practise their camouflage techniques, collect dry wood, build a fire using wind or water proof matches, and keep warm using emergency blankets. If personnel were in a situation without the ability to construct a fire, they were to find a den, cave or any natural structure to keep out of the wind and stay shielded from the environment. The personnel learned a great deal about survival in the summer or winter and potentially life saving techniques were taught. It is very important that the personnel remain hydrated, warm and dry. More importantly, they learned the importance of working as a team in a survival situation.
e-veritas: What was the high-light of your service at the Royal Military College of Canada?
Hank Tatarchuk: The times were interesting, challenges many and satisfaction great. The high-light of serving at the Royal Military College (1963-7) was the opportunity to work with the officer cadets–seeing them grow, mature, and in due time become leaders in many spheres of our society. Also, the satisfaction of being associated with the many highly qualified military and academic staff at a university level.
From the Basketball Coaching standpoint, having the Redmen basketball team post a winning record in the Ottawa -St. Lawrence Athletic Association 1964-65, 1965-66 and overall winning record of 63 wins 31 losses during 1963-67 period.
e-veritas: How were the standards for the Canadian Military College Physical Fitness Test established?
Hank Tatarchuk: Canadian Military College Physical Fitness Test standards were determined in concert with the Royal Canadian Air Force Institute of Aviation Medicine in Toronto. It was important to standardize the Military College fitness test based on selected physiological parameters on a statistical sample of the cadet population. Over a four year period, the results were computerized, tabulated, analyzed, standard deviation was determined and the standards established for the fitness test.
e-veritas: What are you doing these days?
Hank Tatarchuk: In basketball terms, old coaches don’t fade away but they keep dribbling into their final days. Although I am still most interested Canada’s Military, my association is limited to membership in the Royal Canadian Air Force Association, Canadian Legion, and the NATO Veterans Organization. Otherwise, I am in a semi-retirement mode as President of Triple T Diversified Associates, which focuses on International Games consultancy and overseeing holdings in Western Canada. To stay fit, I play a lot of golf, though not necessarily well, cross country ski, jog and hike.
e-veritas: Did you have a role in cadet health and safety?
Hank Tatarchuk: Yes. The Physical Education and Recreation Instructors (PERI) and Physical Education and Recreation Officers (PERO) felt a strong affinity for the cadets. That’s what your job was for-to instruct and protect the cadets. The physical education personnel often served as guinea pigs, occasionally suffering serious injuries as a result. Before the cadets underwent a series of confidence tests at RMC, for example, the staff would partake in the challenge. One of the senior staff, Eddy Senos landed poorly and fractured his ankle when attempting the challenge of sliding down climbing ropes 25-30 feet in the Old Gym into a pit. That year, Eddy Senos welcomed the first year cadets with his foot in a cast.
e-veritas: Did you have a role in cadet discipline?
Hank Tatarchuk: The Cadets were required to meet the standards in the four pillars, one of which was academic. As the Physical Education Director I worked with the Academic and Military Wing. Cadets who weren’t meeting the academic standard and physical education was an academic requirement – would be put on a remedial program – which meant that extra time and attention was devoted to helping them get up to standard, or in some cases to assist them to leave the College. During Faculty meetings these cases would be discussed since it was in the interest of the College to assist the Cadets in every way possible to have a rewarding and successful career. Cadets representing the College on Varsity teams in the Ottawa-St. Lawrence Athletic Association had to be in good standing in the four pillars of their education (this in much the same case as civilian Universities). There was an added motivation particularly for first year Cadets, at the time 1963-67 – since this was one of the few ways that they were allowed to leave the College grounds. Yes indeed a great motivator.
e-veritas: Did you have a role in research?
Hank Tatarchuk: A large number of physical fitness research programs were undertaken. They were related to everything from physical fitness standards at the Military Colleges to effects of training programs of Forces personnel within selected physiological parameters to fitness of specific groups Navy, Army and Air Force.
Two of the interesting projects related to the Naval Service:
1. Effects on Fitness of sailors deployed on six-month exercise at sea. HMCS Huron was the targeted population. A pre-sailing fitness evaluation was determined in Halifax with the oxygen uptake test while riding a stationary bike. We flew into Liverpool and retested the sailors on the return cruise, considering fitness relationship between exercise, general ship`s duties and nutrition. We found that the young sailors (17-24) were less fit after the cruise, sailors of 25-36 were equally fit and the oldest sailors (37+) were fitter. We proposed that the younger sailors were exercising less and eating more while they were at sea. The sailors who were more experienced appreciated the importance of eating less and exercising more during the long cruises.
2. A study of physical fitness of submariners. Safety reasons precluded sailors from having the run of the submarine. In some cases some of the crew might typically cover an 18 foot triangle from work station to the mess to the bunk.. About the only option for exercise equipment was to place a stationery bicycle between the torpedo tubes. As a result, fitness levels were not high after an exercise.
e-veritas: What did you consider the pressing problems in the development and performance of pilots? What role did the Military Colleges play?
Hank Tatarchuk: RCAF had launched an extensive recruitment campaign for new aircrew. In the main, graduated came from the Royal Military College and/or from civilian universities and through internal occupational transfers. All candidates had to be in good health with 20-20 vision. RMC cadets met these standards, but in the course of their intensive and long hours of study some strained their vision. Since excessive fatigue caused a diminishment in 20-20 requirement and resulted in their withdrawal from the flying list. Two candidates so affected saw them regain their 20-20 vision upon leaving the College. It was important that cadets appreciated the need for good vision habits while day reading and doing close work.
G-Force tolerance was another concern for aircrew candidates. Aircraft manoeuvres in aerial dogfights such as making tight, fast turns, pulling up out of dives could cause momentary black-outs. Future aircrews had to be able to handle “hypoxia” should this happen. Tests in this regard were given candidates at the institute of Aviation Medicine – centrifugal platform, decompression chambers were adopted to evaluate candidates` tolerance in this regard. Military Colleges` cadets performed well in the main in the tests.
e-veritas: How would you characterize your four years at the Royal Military College?
Hank Tatarchuk: The four year tour at RMC was a most satisfying phase in my military career. The experience of working with cadets – our future leaders – was exhilarating. Military staff at the College were second to none and the Academic staff were expert in their fields. Opportunities to work with civilian institutions broadened a perspective on the national scale.
In a word the experience was “Great.”
“My regrets: I would have loved to have been at RMC when the first 32 lady cadets arrived at the college in September 1980.”
Major Louise Maziarski
Major Louise Maziarski (nee Arsenault), was a member of the Athletic Department Staff at CMR St-Jean and RMC Kingston. She spent the first part of her CF career as a PERO and following a short time (too short) in retirement, Louise re-enrolled and is now an administrative officer with the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre in Trenton, Ontario. Although she did not spent a great deal of time at CMR or RMC she certainly made a major positive impression with both cadets and staff alike because of her 24/7 can do attitude.
e-veritas: I understand that you completed Physical Education Recreation Officer training with several people who also served at Military Colleges.
Louise Maziarski: Yes. The PERO training at Canadian Force Base Borden was designed to develop leadership and management skills. The course included fitness development, military training and academic study as well as practical outdoor leadership challenges. The course was designed to explain the role of Physical Education Recreation Officers and give an introduction to Physical Education in the Canadian Forces. The program assessed assessed our potential to develop officer qualities, including communication skills, self-motivation, maturity, physical fitness and leadership skills. As well as leadership and management training, selected personnel undertook Physical Education and Recreation specialist training courses and attended fitness workshops and regional conferences.
In my PERO course graduating picture in 1979, I am the one in the middle (if you have to ask!). In the back row for the far left: LCdr (Ret’d) Joane Thibault (was Athletic Director at both CMR and RMC), Capt (Ret’d) Jean Gagnon (I believed did some OJT at RMC as well in around 1978), Maj (Ret’d) Gaetan Melancon (was Athletic Director at CMR), Maj (still serving) Louise Maziarski (aka Arsenault), Maj (Ret’d) Michelle Lesieur.
e-veritas: I understand that you served on the Athletic Department Staff at both CMR St-Jean and RMC Kingston.
Louise Maziarski: I did on job training with the Physical Education Recretation Instructor staff at College Militaire Royal St-Jean in the summer of 1978. After completing the Physical Education and Recreation Officer (PERO) course in Borden, I was posted to the Royal Military College in May 1979 until Apr 1980. I was posted again to RMC in 1993 and left just one year later. I retired under the Forces Reduction Program.
e-veritas: What were your primary duties?
Louise Maziarski: During my On Job Training at CMR, my primary duty was simply to look after the physical fitness program for the cadets who were in Saint Jean on second language training for the summer. During my first tour at RMC, I was the Intra Mural Athletic Officer (IMAO). Although IMAO is a big fancy title, but the reality was that I was sort of “surplus” on staff and just marking time, waiting for my first real PERO job at a base somewhere. It finally came in Apr 1980 when I got posted to Moose Jaw. During my second time at RMC: I was the Athletic Administration Officer (AAO). The AAO was the best possible job ever. I was responsible for all the rep teams at the university and college levels. I worked closely with a team of Physical Training Instructors.
e-veritas: Did you also coach or be involved with a varsity team? Explain.
Louise Maziarski: No, I just made sure that the teams were well taken care of logistically in terms of budgets, equipment, transport etc. I certainly tried to attend as many local games as possible and truly enjoyed watching our young athletes performing and trying real hard. Unfortunately, it was pretty much always an uphill battle and although most of the athletes knew the outcome before any of the games, they always kept high hopes and never gave up. In my opinion, this is true “fighter military spirit”!
e-veritas: What do you consider the high-light of serving at the Military Colleges ?
Louise Maziarski: My time as a PERO was certainly the best. The high-light of serving at the Military Colleges was certainly being amongst young people who, when asked to jump, would eagerly say: how high? There is nothing these cadets would not do for you. My regrets: I would have loved to have been at RMC when the first 32 lady cadets arrived at the college in September 1980.
e-veritas: Are you still involved with the CF? Did the skills and experience you gain as a Physical Education Officer equip you for later of military posts?
Louise Maziarski: Yes, I am still in the military. After I retired in 1994, I moved to Trenton where my husband Andy was posted. I did the “dependant wife” for a while but found it a bit lonely at home by myself. I joined the Reserve Force in late 1995 until 2000. During that period, I did many different jobs from the Standard for Harassment and Racism Prevention (SHARP) coordinator to Flight Plan 97 coordinator and eventually ended up as the Wing Coordinator of Official Languages (WCOL) for a few years. I finally rejoined the Regular Force as a Logistics Human Resources Officer in Nov 2000. And as luck would have it, I remained in Trenton until 2006. I was then posted back to Kingston at the Canadian Forces Joint Support Group and one year later, I was promoted and got sent right back to Trenton where, once again, I rejoined my husband. We actually worked in the same building (but not on the same floor!!) at the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre up to this past July when he finally decided to retire after 35 + years in. I am still going strong and looking forward to going to work every day as an administrative officer with the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre in Trenton, Ontario!
e-veritas: Do you have any particular memory or short story you would like to share with our readers?
Louise Maziarski : Back in 1979, I was asked to be a boxing judge (when boxing was mandatory for all first year cadets). [Boxing is a combat sport where two participants, generally of similar weight, fight each other with their fists. Supervised by a referee, boxing is engaged in during a series of one to three-minute intervals called rounds. Victory is achieved by a knockout or KO if the opponent is knocked down and unable to get up before the referee counts to ten seconds or by a technical knowout or TKO if the opponent is deemed too injured to continue. A winner is determined either by the referee’s decision or by judges’ scorecards if the fight is not stopped before an agreed number of rounds]. I had no previous boxing experience (my mother made sure of that) but I had enough sense to predict when something was going to go wrong. And I felt it right away when I saw this skinny, petrified little cadet literally being pushed into the ring to face a very eager opponent. All eyes were on him and we all sort of felt sorry for him. But the show must go on. So without much warning, we all witnessed the big punch to the face. For a short while (which to me felt like eternity), this brave little soul was somewhere in lala land. Once all the blood got cleaned up, we were back to business as usual. I have always wondered if he made it in the military after that.
E-veritas: Please describe the Battle Fitness Test (BFT).
Louise Maziarski : The Battle Firness Test is now a requirement for members who have been tasked with a deployment; when Wing Commands wish to pursue BFT proactively as part of high readiness; and newly posted members who had performed the Land Force Command Physical Fitness Standard (LFCPFS) while serving in another environment. In order to prepare for the Battle Fitness Test (BFT), Canadian Forces members undergo some serious physical fitness circuit training. It is highly recommended that the member follows suggested workouts on their own time leading up to the test, such as crunches, bicep curls, push-ups, and squats, and then meet weekly to practice the weightload march and casualty evacuation portions of the test. The battle fitness test picture was taken in Jun 07 in Kingston after I had just completed the BFT, 100 meter casualty carry and ditch digging! Anyone who completes the BFT is granted a fitness rating of exempt. The BFT results are valid for a 12-month period.
E-veritas: What sports do you play today?
Louise Maziarski: My husband Andy and I play golf, for example at the PERI/PERO reunions. I was a member of 8 Wg Squash team last year and finished second at the Ontario Regional Squash Championship (not bad for an old lady!)
“To salute a graduating cadet and to see the expression of pride on their face, to shake their hand and yes even the occasional hug, made the whole experience highly gratifying.”
Ken Straight was in the Air Force for twenty-seven years. He served as a Physical Education Recreation Instructor at RMC and RRMC. Ken hails from Saint John, N.B. He played a number of sports while in the Canadian Forces. A warm and personable individual who could always be counted on to keep the morale high!
e-veritas: I understand that you served as a physical education instructor at two military colleges. What teams did you coach?
Ken Straight: I had the extreme pleasure of instructing at two military colleges. RMC was only a four month tour in 1979. Three of the instructors were going back to back on their senior leaders’ course and I was selected to replace them. I was a master corporal at the time, which made things a little difficult as the minimum rank level to teach was a sergeant. I instructed fitness, badminton and volleyball classes, and was involved with the high box gymnastic team thoroughly enjoyed it, great staff, great experience and I had the distinct honour, I think, of being the only master corporal to ever instruct at RMC.
From 1985-1988, I had the enlightening experience of being posted to RRMC and I loved every minute of it. My primary duties were instructing 1st year to 4th year cadets in the following: physical, aquatic and aerobic fitness, sport skills and last but not least the good old Mil Col fitness test. My varsity teams were badminton, volleyball and hockey.
e-veritas: What was the high-light of your service at the Military Colleges?
Ken Straight: The high-light of serving at a military college, for me, was graduation parade. To know that I played a small part in building their character made it all worth while.
To salute a graduating cadet and to see the expression of pride on their face, to shake their hand and yes even the occasional hug, made the whole experience highly gratifying.
e-veritas: Do you have any particular memory or short story you would like to share with our readers?
Ken Straight: While coaching, the RRMC hockey team, we hosted the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) hockey team. The game ended in a 6-6 tie. The team was ecstatic, to have played so well against such a larger institution and power house like USAFA. Our dressing room was located at the rear of the arena. We were to be at the officer’s mess within the hour. 7264 Colonel Ross K Betts CD CF (RMC 1967) RRMC Commandant 1987-89, the athletic director, and several professors were hosting their American counterparts.
We were responsible for hosting the USAFA coaches and players. I was dressed in a three piece suit. The team decided to throw me into the shower, which they did without resistance. I was drenched, as I headed out the door, listening to the laughter. I said “I will see you all at the mess in forty minutes.” The look on their faces was priceless as they made an attempt to get to the door. The last sound they heard was the click of the padlock. They finally showed up at the mess two and a half hours later.
e-veritas: What are you doing these days?
Ken Straight: I am a real estate agent with Re/Max Of Wasaga Beach Inc. Since retiring from the Air Force, I have been a Real Estate Agent for more than 13 years. My family and I have lived at the Wasaga Beach for over ten years and thoroughly love the life and atmosphere of the surrounding area. I feel a strong commitment towards the betterment of the community and making Wasaga Beach the greatest place to live in Canada.
e-veritas: What is the value of training to you?
Ken Straight: To have had the fortunate opportunity of watching a cadet mature physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually was highly fulfilling.
“The duration of an athletic contest is only a few minutes, while the training for it may take many weeks of arduous work and continuous exercise of self-effort. The real value of sport is not the actual game played in the limelight of applause but the hours of dogged determination and self-discipline carried out alone, imposed and supervised by an exacting conscience. The applause soon dies away, the prize is left behind, but the character you build is yours forever.” – Physical Education and Recreation Sign
Note: All three interviews were carried out by E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC ’03).