“Logo courtesy of Sleeman/Unibroue”
E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003) interviewed 8926 LCol (Ret`d) Ray Hook (RRMC RMC 1971), one of fifteen Ex-Cadets who will raise money for the S109 Maj. Danny McLeod Athletic Endowment Fund by paddling a voyageur canoe from Ottawa to Kingston this September, 2011. You can make a pledge or donation at www.rmcclubfoundation.ca. [email protected]
Victoria Edwards: This is your second ex-cadet fund-raising canoe trip down the Rideau? What gave you the idea?
Ray Hook: I participated in the 2006 fund-raising canoe trip, which celebrated the 35th anniversary of the graduation of my class. 8788 Geoff Bennett (RMC 1971) asked me to join the crew. As class secretary I believe in “leading from the front” or by example, so as Class Sec, I felt it was the right thing to do. By paddling, it is easier to ask others for support as well! Although our class (1971) is sponsoring the fund and the trip, it was (and still is) open to other years to either paddle with us or to support the fund with a pledge.
Victoria Edwards: How does your role as bartender on the canoe trip in 2006 and 2011 impact on crew morale?
Ray Hook: Have you heard the expression that there will be no more annual leave until morale improves? As bartender, I have a measure of power and control over morale. So, should the crew be rude to the bartender, no rum. On my first canoe trip, the weather on five of the seven days was miserable. I used my judgement as to whether or when the crew got their daily tot of Lamb’s Genuine Navy Rum. The cook, who knew we could stop the canoe at any time, occasionally suggested a special “coffee break” stop. We had a lot of fun. Although the crew tended to drink their rum in coffee or neat, there are some good recipes for mixed drinks. (www.lambsnavyrum.com/recipes.html)
Victoria Edwards: Why is it important to you to support RMC`s Athletic Endowment Fund, which was named in honour of S109 Major Danny McLeod?
Ray Hook: I was attracted to Royal Roads and RMC for athletics first and academics second. I support RMC`s Athletic Endowment Fund so the College can pick up the slack and give cadets the same experience or better that I enjoyed at Military College. I played varsity rugby and hockey at Roads; varsity football and then rugby, and Intra Mural hockey at RMC. I’m sure we won plenty of games but two of my most vivid memories are two defeats – one in football and the other in rugby. We travelled to Calgary to play the University of Calgary Dinosaurs at MacMahon Stadium during my third year. Although a tremendous and exciting experience as part of a Western Canada Ex Cadet Reunion, we got “shellacked”. The other loss (only 23-16 if I recall correctly) was in my fourth year at RMC where we played rugby against the Royal Military College Sandhurst. Since the Sandhurst Commandant was surprised that we Canadians weren’t bad rugby players, we played their second string in the first half, and their first string players came in as reinforcements in the second half, after seeing us push their scrum all over the field.
On a personal note about fitness, and noticing a regression in my shape last year, I was advised by my daughter (and wife) to lose some weight and to hire a physical trainer. As a result, I am now in better shape than I was five years ago and more active than I was 10 years ago. I work out at a local gym, play golf, stay active and even enjoy “harvesting” firewood on our rural acreage. I find that when I watch what I eat and remain active, I can get more done.
Victoria Edwards: You performed with the Royal Roads Military College band.
Ray Hook: Since I had played the euphonium in high school, it was natural for me to join the drum and bugle band at Royal Roads in 1967-69. By joining and playing the baritone bugle at Royal Roads, I foolishly thought it would be a great way to get an easier “go” on Sunday parades (ha!). I dug through my archives and found an excellent shot of yours truly in the old “fuzzy-wuzzies” recruit dress of the day back in September 1967 just outside the changing room before a Sunday church parade! Since the RMC band was pipes and drums in 1970-71, my talents weren’t appropriate. I continued performing as a musician in the Petawawa Legion Band and various other community bands over the years. I recall that 3572 MGen (Ret’d) Frank Norman (RRMC RMC 1956), then Commandant invited the Petawawa legion band to perform at his home town for a Canada Day event in the circa 1982 – 1985.
Victoria Edwards: I understand that you and your wife, Elaine squeezed in your marriage between your respective convocations. When was the honeymoon?
Ray Hook: Soon… I met my wife, Elaine Hook (Queen’s 71) in the summer of 1968. I had returned to my home town of Barrie on leave after Phase I training. Elaine was a Queen’s nursing student working in Barrie as nurse. At the time, a cadet who wanted to marry while at RMC had to appear (with his fiancée) before the College marriage committee, composed of then Commandant 2530 BGen William Lye (RMC 1936) and peers. Elaine and I got engaged in August 1968 but we decided to wait for Grad to be married because we didn’t want to go through this Marriage Committee thing. This didn’t leave a lot of time to plan a leisurely marriage and honeymoon because I was posted to Gagetown NB right after Grad. So our family and friends travelled to Kingston on May 22nd for my RMC convocation. We got married on May 29th in Elaine’s home town of Tottenham, Ontario (north of Toronto). Next week we returned to Kingston for her convocation from Queen’s on June 5th. By June 15th I had reported to the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps School at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Gagetown for Phase IV. Honeymoon – one of these years. For the next 28 years I served in the Armoured Corps and Elaine worked as a Registered Nurse, as we moved all over the world.
Victoria Edwards: You are the class secretary of 1971. Any highlights?
Ray Hook: I took over the job of class secretary in the late 1980 and my biggest highlight is the able assistance of 8788 Geoff Bennett (RMC 1971), who organizes the fund-raising canoe trips, but is also our class webmaster and assistant class secretary. I credit Geoff a lot, as he does a fantastic job of keeping our web site current plus organizing the canoe trip. This is a huge undertaking. Geoff plans, prepares and organizes the entire trip, from arranging for the voyageur canoe, accommodation with property owners up and down the Rideau, food and drink, briefing and training the crew and on and on. His wife Wendy drives the administrative vehicle that restocks and resupplies the crew with food and drinks on a daily basis. Since his work as a geophysicist looking for oil takes him away from home for 2 months at a time in the Far East, he handles logistics from afar. He and his wife share their free time freely and willingly. The funds we raise in the canoe trips support the endowment fund, and since we wish to help with the greatest needs of the athletic pillar at RMC, we have directed that the annual bequest remains undesignated; so as to give the Athletic Director the ability to react to whatever the greatest need is in any given year. The RMC Club and Foundation encourages the growth of its undesignated assets to meet the known needs of today and the unknown needs of the future. In 2006, we raised $118,000 and we hope to raise another $125,000 in 2011. The fund now sits at $142,000.
I am looking forward to the 2011 fund-raising canoe trip, which will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the graduation of my class this fall. This will be the last parade before my class joins the Old Brigade. The members of the Old Brigade in their distinctive beret, tie, blazer badge and buttons seem to be getting younger.
Victoria Edwards: Do you have any relatives who are ex-cadets/cadets? Your daughter serves in the Reserves.
Ray Hook: Yes. My younger brother 10569 LCol (Ret`d) Gary Hook (RMC 75) blames/credits me for changing his life. Gary was so impressed with my graduation parade from RMC that he joined up a few months later. After serving his career in the Air Force piloting 104s and F18s, he retired to Winnipeg.
Our daughter Capt Elisa Holland is an instructor of Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) Staff Officer and CIMIC Operator courses at the Peace Support Training Centre (PSTC) Kingston and son-in law WO Anthony Holland is a Pl 2I/C, with A Company, Calgary Highlanders. When both were posted to Afghanistan last year, they rarely had the chance to see each other since Elisa was part of the PRT as a CIMIC operator and outside the wire constantly, and Anthony was Ops WO with 408 Sqn at the Kandahar airfield. The photo of a recent Robbie Burns Night Dinner in Calgary shows my son-in-law WO Holland, daughter Capt Elisa Holland, my wife Elaine and I!
Victoria Edwards: Outline your career progression since you earned a Bachelor of Arts at RMC.
Ray Hook: Certainly. After studying Economics and Commerce at RMC, I stayed in the forces for 32 years. I regularly served with ex-cadets during my career in the Armoured Corps with a good mix of regimental duty and staff postings. Although I retired as Lt Colonel, I had more fun as a Captain (Captain Hook matey!). I found being posted as a staff officer in Zagreb, Croatia in 1995 to be interesting and challenging. The United Nations stationed the UN protective forces in Croatia (UNCRO) as a force designed to create conditions for the peace and security between the Republic of Croatia and the Yugoslav Army, Serbia and Montenegro and local Serbian rebels on the territory of Croatia.
Victoria Edwards: You served as an exchange officer with the British Army Armoured Trials and Development unit.
Ray Hook: I was posted in Allenby Barracks, Bovington, Dorset, England (1988-1991) as second in command at the British Army Armoured Trials and Development Unit (ATDU). We enjoyed serving with other Exchange Officers from Germany, France, Australia and the USA. At ATDU, I was responsible for the coordination and conduct of user and equipment trials for new and prototype equipment meant for the Royal Armoured Corps. Not a bad job for an Artsman from RMC! The unit was manned by about 100 soldiers and NCOs from all regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps, some just back from operations. Regiments sent their best, as they considered the work of the Trials unit a prestige posting. They rigorously test all new developments in armoured vehicles, and equipment, clothing, footwear, life-saving equipment, and everyday equipment like multitool and a head torch. The ATDU deploys to theatre every four-to-six months to talk to troops at forward operating bases about what kit works, what does not and what they would like to see added. During my posting there and the Gulf War of 1989, for example, soldiers in Challenger tanks with the ambient 50˚ Celsius in the turrets suffered life threatening heat exhaustion. The ATDU worked with the Royal Army Research and Development Establishment (RARDE) to develop spot crew cooling units which were tested and installed in theatre. I enjoyed working with British Defence Industry giants such as Marconi, Royal Ordnance, British Aerospace and Vickers.
Victoria Edwards: You served at the Army Lessons Learned Centre (ALLC) in Kingston.
Ray Hook: It was a great way to finish my career. Collecting observations and actionable lessons from operations at the tactical level and considering their operational and strategic implications is satisfying. The Incident Lessons Report (ILR) described key Observations from the unit about an incident that occurred in theatre and the Topic Lessons Report (TLR) reported on specific topics drawn from the Army Critical Topics List (CTL) and both provided recommendations for future action categorized under Doctrine, Organisation, Training, Materiel, and Policy (DOTMP). The Post Operation Report (POR) was submitted during and following operations to report on activities pertinent to each of the five operational phases: Warning, Mounting, Deployment, Employment, and Redeployment. The consolidated reports represent an accurate record of incidents and issues that are significant and require the attention of the Land Staff, Subject Matter Experts, field forces and force generators. I encourage personnel to submit their experiences on any subject concerning current Army activities to the Army Lessons Learned Centre Bulletin so that others might benefit from them. (armyapp.dnd.ca/ALLC-CLRA)
Victoria Edwards: I understand that you retired from the Canadian Forces to have a stable lifestyle. How has that worked out?
Ray Hook: I retired with the view to have a more stable lifestyle. Since I left, though, I have had several different jobs. I worked at the RMC Club as the first Member Services Director (1999 – 2000), then as a fundraiser with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (2000-2), as the Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Augustana University (2002 – 5), a private university in Camrose Alberta which is now the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta, then as Executive Director of the Camrose Women’s Shelter (2005 – 2008).
Victoria Edwards: You look back on your job at the Camrose Women’s Shelter (2005-8) as a tremendous honour and heck of a responsibility for a “man”…..
Ray Hook: As the executive director of the Camrose Women`s Shelter (brigantiaplace.org), I administered a non-profit organization which provides a safe, secure and supportive residential environment for women and children affected by domestic violence or in a crisis situation. The shelter has a 22 -bed capacity and is wheelchair accessible. Delivered by a staff of 20 and volunteers, the programs include information groups on family violence, supportive counselling and referral, family support and childcare, a full time school program for children K-9 and an outreach program. I invited H7860 Senator Roméo Dallaire (CMR 1969), who had served with me in Germany in 1975, as keynote speaker at an Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) event in April 2008 (www.acws.ca). Roméo Dallaire presented on understanding and addressing Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) and Vicarious Trauma (VT). Sexual assault and domestic violence counsellors working with traumatized persons as therapists can suffer effects such as compassion fatigue, cognitive schemas, posttraumatic symptoms and burnout. For a transcript of an interview I did for the ACWS on my retirement from the Women’s Shelter in Camrose see (www.acws.ca/documents/springnewsletter.pdf)
Victoria Edwards: When you worked as a civilian employee of the RMC Club (1998-2000), what were your key responsibilities? What do you see as the main advances?
Ray Hook: I returned to the College full time as a civilian employed by the RMC Club from Aug 1998 until the fall of 2000. The RMC Club provides services to all alumni who join the Club by paying membership dues. I sold and kept track of the RMC Club memberships using a database. Today members can join, renew and update membership information securely in person or online (www.rmcclub.ca/MemberServices.html). Members of the Club may take advantage of a number of services that are not available to others. I expanded the selection of membership services from listings of ex-cadets, lost life members and honourary members’ lists to include new venture – a basic Kit Shop of limited Club-crested clothing, frames for grad diplomas and commission scrolls and a few other trinkets. What a difference there is now – a full service kit shop books, CDs and DVDs, jewellery, prints and cards, swords, Old Brigade and clearance items. Well done Panet House! 1-888-386-3762 or on-line (www.rmcclub.ca/Giftshop.html).
I was also given the opportunity by then Club Director 5851 LCol (Ret’d) Barry Winfield (RMC 1963) to start up a basic Club magazine which we called Veritas. Having served as its first editor, I can only say how pleased I am with where the current S150 Peter Dawe has taken this initiative. In recent years, Club services have expanded again to include free access to the Club Employment Service, travel discounts, reduced rates for insurance, even quality wines. Our Electronic Newsletter, eVeritas was initiated in January 2005 and it has become one of the Club’s most visited sections. Free email service is also now available with an unlimited transfer limit.
Victoria Edwards: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Ray Hook: Two things – first of all, as the Class of 1971 ages gracefully, we will be paddling into the sunset soon, and we would dearly love another much younger Class to consider taking over the reins of power in order to continue the legacy of Geoff’s canoe trip and the great opportunity to keep alive the support for Danny Macleod’s Endowment fund. Speak to Geoff or myself any time!
Lastly, what a pleasure it has been to speak with you today, and let me add a personal thank-you for all of the great work that you do for RMC, the Club and Foundation. Volunteers like you are absolutely critical and vital to the success of our organization!
Our aim at e-Veritas is to conduct one-on-one interviews with all 15 participants (in no particular order) over the next few months of e-Veritas editions.
Class of 1960 4815 Mike Jackson
Class of 1960 H4860 John de Chastelain
Class of 1963 5893 Tom Gee
Class of 1971 8816 Marius Grinius
Class of 1971 8926 Ray Hook
Class of 1972 9143 Bruce McAlpine
Class of 1983 M0288 Roxanne Rees
Class of 1986 15414 Catherine Paquet-Rivard
Class of 1997 20800 Cindy McAlpine