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Holiday Treat: II Year Meets-Up with 13337 Stu Beare – Former Commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command

An Interview With 13337 LGen (Ret’d) Stuart Beare CMM MSC MSM CD

Article by 28560 OCdt (II) Bennett Dickson

Grandfather. Husband. Father. Friend. These are the favorite titles that LGen (Ret’d) Stuart Beare considers himself blessed to call himself. Life and his career has taken him from his hometown of Shilo, Manitoba to all over the world… each step of the way teaching him something new.
When he spoke about his times at RMC, he explained how he was challenged by the Four Pillars.
In terms of education, he found out very quickly that it wasn’t high school and he had to perform like never before. His grades weren’t the best – he experienced a finals’ failure in his prep year and he found it difficult to keep up with the academic aspect of things.  But that failure was good for him – he learned to study like never before.

The military pillar was also challenging for him.  Even equipped with years of Army cadet experience, the polishing, bed making, and extremely high standard of deportment demanded by the College came with more and more stressors over time.

But, regardless of all of this, he found community – recreationally and especially in sports; a sort of family. And this ties to his first key point: you need to form friendships if you want to make it.

No one can take on the RMC program by themselves.  The friends that you make are your helpline when things get tough. The stressors never disappear.  But being among a group of friends – and being able to share the pain, overcome adversity together – that’s what mattered to him.

Today – 40 years after entering CMR, he remains connected and goes on trips with the friends he made those decades ago. Summer 2018 even saw ten of those friends gather with their wives in Italy for a week of celebrating and sharing together.

His second key point is one that stuck with me personally: trust the process. When things get busy, or when the stress gets too high, we often question what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. This is when begin to slack and our faith starts to teeter.

What he emphasized was that things aren’t clear at the beginning but they’ll come with time. As an Officer Cadet, it’s important to become proficient at that and be the best you can be. As a Junior Officer in your respective trade, it’s important to become proficient at that, work on developing your competency, and become a valuable part of your team.

Over time, the skills and experiences will come and, before you know it, you’ll be in places where you never would’ve seen yourself before.

As a Junior Officer serving in his first Artillery Regiment in Germany, LGen Beare never saw himself becoming a general.  He just wanted to survive and enjoy the job and responsibilities of the day.  Developing and becoming tactically proficient, learning to serve alongside professional soldiers and leaders in a professional team, and staying (mostly) out of trouble were his major pre-occupations in those early years. But, before his career’s end, he was a Lieutenant General – commander of Canadian Joint Operation Command – charged with the anticipation of, preparation for, and conduct of all CAF operations at home and abroad.  He is both surprised and proud to have arrived there – working alongside his classmate, best friend, best man, and Vice Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General 13551 Guy Thibault.

His third key point was the importance of being a leader, not a commander. It’s not what we own that matters – it’s what we do that matters – and how we do it.  When looking at a mission, don’t look at it as a “me mission”, but rather a “we mission”. From here, you’ll see everyone and everything it takes to get the job done, the value in everyone and everything involved, and lead and value them. LGen Beare described the joy he found in leading this way – and the genuine engagement, commitment, and sacrifices his teams made and were prepared to make as a result.

Today, now LGen (ret’d) Stu Beare serves in other ways.  He is a volunteer leader with Soldiers Helping Soldiers – an all-volunteer organization that seeks to find and assist homeless veterans.  He is Honorary LCol for 2nd Fd Regiment RCA in Montreal – reconnected with his Regimental family.  He is on Advisory Boards for the Canadian Red Cross and an Artificial Intelligence startup.  He is Strategic Advisor for Defence and Public Safety for Accenture. Most importantly, he remains a grandfather, husband, and father – and a committed friend to those he met 40 years ago at CMR – and to many who continue to serve Canada and Canadians today. He continues to find new missions, new teams, and new friends – and notes that indeed there are many ways to serve.

TO THE GRADUATING CLASS OF 2019: Trust the process and keep developing yourself. Your professions and careers in the Canadian Armed Forces will succeed if you choose to apply yourselves, to be part of a team, and learn to endure and prevail through hardship and adversity with family and friends. The opportunities that are waiting for you are endless, but you’ll never get to them if you don’t put in the effort, allow the future to unfold, and trust where you are going.

Overall, the interview was beyond beneficial for me. LGen Beare is not only a role model soldier, but a role model leader. He’s seen the world, developed himself for over 50 years, and shows no signs of stopping. And when you find yourself at the end of one stage in life, looking into the horizon of the future stages, ask yourself:

What’s the Mission Now?


Born in Camp Shilo, Manitoba, Stu Beare was immediately introduced into the military way of life. His father was an Artillery Officer and an Ex-Cadet in the class of ‘56. His brother Murray is a graduate of the class of 1980. His cousin Laura Beare was amongst the first female graduates at RMC (1984).  After being an Army Cadet for a number of years, he joined CMR in 1978 and graduated from RMC in 1983 with a BEng degree.
After graduating, he found himself working as an Artillery gunline officer in Germany.

In the 90’s, he commanded E Battery (Para) and then 2nd Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in Petawawa.

In 2001 he assumed command of 1st Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, in 2003 command of Multi-National Brigade North West in Bosnia, in 2004 Land Forces Western Area, in 2005 Land Force Doctrine and Training System.

In 2011 he assumed command of Canadian Expeditionary Forces Command.  Finally – in 2012 he formed and became the first commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command – retiring from that post in 2014 after 36 years of service.

LGen(ret’d) Beare served overseas in Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia and Afghanistan – totally over 3 years deployed abroad.

All 3 of his children serve or have served.  Son Richard served 11 years in the Signals Reserve, daughter Sarah (RMC 2011) served as a Gunner officer and is now in Med School under the MMTP program, son Cameron was a musician with the Ceremonial Guard Band, and daughter-in-law Angela serves with the Governor Foot Guards and their band as well. He and his wife France (daughter to Bombadier (ret’d) Richard Cameron) have made Ottawa their home – and remain deeply connected to the friends they have both made while dating at RMC – and in the many years since.


  • Lionel Boxer

    January 7, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    I remember meeting Stu one ex-cadet weekend and said to him, “I took your dad to my Lodge when he came to Melbourne. He told me your brother is a general.” He replied, “I am the general.” I replied, “You’re too young to be a general!” He laughed and said, “thanks.”