Captain Anthony Robb Joins the Stone Frigate

By 26173 OCdt (II) Emily Morgan

The Stone Frigate has recently welcomed its new Squadron Commander at the start of this academic year, Captain Anthony Robb, who graduated from RMC in 2004. Captain Robb arrived this September, bringing with him a wealth of experience and knowledge from his two tours as a Combat Engineer Officer in Afghanistan.

Returning from his second tour in in July 2011, he requested the posting of Squadron Commander for a few reasons. After being overseas for over a year he wished to be closer to home and his wife, and also wanted to gain more exposure to the CF as a whole: “I hold RMC in high regard, and I think it is a strategically important institution. I believe I have something to offer to the development of officers.”

The former Commander of 1 Troop, 23 Field Squadron, spent his first two years in 2 Squadron and his last two in 8 Squadron. In his third year he was a Section Commander (CSC) and the Deputy Cadet Squadron Training Officer (DCSTO). In his fourth year he was his squadron’s Recruit Term Cadet Flight Leader (CFL). He had no idea at the time that he would be back as a Squadron Commander in just a few years. “It was far from my mind; I had zero expectation of it, things just fell into place.”

Furthermore, Captain Robb says he found the transition from being an Officer Cadet at RMC to being an Officer in the CF relatively easy. “Combat Engineers don’t go straight to a unit after graduation; they have a year of phase training first, so that eases the transition. My first posting was outstanding, and I was able to apply the lessons I had learned in leadership at RMC easily.”

When asked what he wished he had known about the CF while he was still an Officer Cadet at RMC, he replied: “You never fully appreciate the value of senior NCOs and NCMs until you have the honour of working with them. They really are the backbone of the army and a young officer can learn much from them. This was something I didn’t learn well at the college but I learned quickly at the unit.”

Captain Robb was deployed to Afghanistan for the first time in 2006 as 1 Troop Commander of 23 Field Squadron. They were part of the 1 RCR Battle Group, TF 3-06 from August 2006 to February 2007 and participated in Operation MEDUSA, the construction of Rte SUMMIT, and the construction of several other key pieces of tactical infrastructure including FOB MA’SUM GHAR.

Left to right: flattening a ridgeline at FOB Ma’sum Ghar, FOB Spervan Ghar, and a badger constructing flood remediation

The former RMC cadet was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division) by the Governor General of Canada in 2007 for his actions and courageous leadership during Operation ATHENA.

Because of the strategic work they were doing, his Squadron Commander Major Mark Gasparotto encouraged Captain Robb and other members of 23 Field Squadron to keep detailed records of their work for use in future operations. When they returned home from their tour Major Gasparotto and several members of the squadron began to write a war diary, but they had so much material it turned into a book. As such, Captain Robb is a co-author of Clearing the Way: Combat Engineers in Kandahar, along with another RMC graduate, Major Busbridge (the Squadron 2IC) and other members of their unit.

Clearing the Way: Combat Engineers in Kanadahar was co-authored by Captain Anthony Robb

After being an RMC Squadron Commander, Captain Robb hopes to command an engineer field squadron. For the time being, no doubt the Stone Frigate is fortunate to have this Ex-Cadet leading them through the next couple years.

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