M0932 Lt Marv Fletcher (RMC 2009) and E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003) have put together some sample questions to interview current or former members of the Otter squadron for e-Veritas. The Otter Squadron History Project is looking for photographs, trophies and other physical artifacts that show us Otter history and traditions.
Lt Marv Fletcher: I was motivated to apply the UTPNCM program after completing a number of undergraduate classes through various universities across Canada. I wanted to complete my degree and thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to go to school full time. I also wanted to move into the Officer corps and challenge myself with new job requirements and responsibilities. Although the primary emphasis in the UTPNCM is directed towards enrolment into Royal Military College (RMC), successful candidates may be selected to attend a civilian university, for example if the degree programme appropriate to their officer MOC is not offered through RMC. I currently serve as a Compt & Admin Officer in the Information Management Group at NDHQ.
Victoria: Describe your overall experience of Otter squadron.
Lt Marv Fletcher: My overall experience at Otter Sqn was very positive. Staff and fellow students helped support the program and its participants. A move into the new Brandt building made the experience all the more rewarding. We did not have to wear our CF’s to class. We wore the dress of the day and it was not compulsory for us to participate in intramural sports. While we did participate in school parades at RMC, we were able to bypass much of the basic military skill classes due to the Sqn’s military experience already in house. By not being a living in member of the college, it enabled us to avoid activities such as regular kit and quarter inspections that normal ROTP students receive on a weekly basis.
Victoria: How would you describe Otter squadron to other NCMs.
Lt Marv Fletcher: Otter Sqn is a unique opportunity within the RMC learning environment. While offering NCM’s the ability to attend full time, it also sets the wheels in motion for the early steps towards becoming a commissioned officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. Otter Sqn is unique in that it can experience all the benefits of a full time education, while having the ability to participate in fewer secondary activities that the normal Officer Cadets do at RMC. This reduction in mandatory activities allows Otter Sqn personnel to spend more quality time with their families and to help balance home and school life and responsibilities.
Victoria: What are the highlights of your Otter squadron experience?
Lt Marv Fletcher: The highlight of my Otter Sqn experience was the friendships I made with my fellow students and the completion of an undergraduate degree that I worked hard to complete.
Victoria: Where did you hang out?
Lt Marv Fletcher: When not in classes, I usually was studying in the library or the Otter Sqn lounge located in the basement of Currie Hall in my first two years and on the main floor of the Brant building in my last year.
Victoria: Where did you live?
Lt Marv Fletcher: UTPNCM cadets do not live in the college barracks with the other cadets and can live in town, in PMQ or in SQs just like any regular posting. I lived in an apartment downtown in Kingston. My wife and our daughter lived in our home in Ottawa.
Victoria: Describe the changes to the Otter program during the 1-4 years you were at RMC. Would you recommend any changes?
Lt Marv Fletcher: The main change to the Otter Sqn during my years there, was the gradual process of educating RMC and the College on the merits of having Otter Sqn in the college and the resources and experience that was present in the Sqn. The college gradually learned that Otter Sqn was a valuable part of the college and utilized Otter Sqn more in a leadership role especially during my last year in the Sqn. Improvement in facilities such as the new lounge and computer rooms in Brant also made the learning experience much more pleasant and functionable. I would recommend that RMC implements an Otter Sqn representative on any student/administration board that meets on a regular basis at RMC to help guide the academic and military program.