Editor’s Note: Last week e-Veritas gave you a cadet-level perspective on the issues of the current transition into summer training that is now wrapping up at RMCC. We now present the other side of the story.
As They See It: RMCC Chief Instructor’s Office Tackles Complex Problems to Get Cadets on Training
Article by 25494 A/SLt Kristopher Hicks and 24554 NCdt Francis Montagnese
At the end of each academic year, hundreds of officer and naval Cadets from RMCC are posted out for the summer months to conduct various phases of training. This year upwards of 1000 Cadets are dispersed across the country. Of these, roughly 270 newly commissioned 2Lt’s and A/Slt’s were posted out of RMCC to begin their careers in the CF. To the untrained eye this may all seem to just happen, but I assure you, it takes hours upon hours of coordination through multiple bases and managing authorities to get OCdt Bloggins posted to Winnipeg. It is an extremely complex process that can be very formidable for the small team at the Chief Instructor’s Office. Each member’s summer posting, whether for phase training, On the Job Education/Training (OJE/OJT), or even Second Language Training, requires a great deal of coordination, diligence, and communication.
Since early in the winter semester, the members of the Chief Instructor’s (CI) office, Maj Parent, 19426 Capt Wendland, Capt Carpenter, WO Harper, 24971 2Lt Lee, 25104 2Lt White (recently posted to CFB Trenton), 24554 NCdt Montagnese and the recent addition of 25720 OCdt (IV) LaVine, have been working tirelessly to ensure all of the members of RMCC are efficiently posted to their training units to be gainfully employed or to participate in training during the summer months. In this effort, this team has been in constant communication with ten different Managing Authorities (MA’s) in varying time zones across the country. The Training and Staff Officer of Careers offices work closely with the MA’s who coordinate with the Chain of Command and the various CF bases or organizations Cadets are sent to. They are essentially split into two offices: the Training office deals with the organization of summer training for returning Cadets, and the Staff Officer of Careers office coordinating postings for all of the graduating cadets. The management of house hunting trips, claims, and posting messages are all important aspects of the process that must pass through the CI’s office before it can be fully resolved.
Despite the office’s best efforts, the process is not perfect. Each year, the office encounters numerous challenges that require thoughtful and timely solutions. A myriad of reasons can change training or posting messages, including the needs of the service, personal and medical situations, addition of spouses, VOT-Us (Voluntary Occupational Transfer – Untrained), and academic program changes and deficiencies, among others. All of these issues take time to resolve. Luckily, the flexibility and care of the CI’s team allows effective discovery of solutions and the selection of the best course of action.
To enlighten you on the numbers that we deal with, there are over 100 cadets in Gagetown completing training right now, as well as over 250 cadets in St-Jean on their Basic Military Officer Qualification and SOLET (Second Official Language Education and Training) courses, and 12 cadets participating in the Nijmegen marches. Many others are in Newfoundland, Esquimalt, Halifax, Portage, various cadet camps, or academic training on Engineering Decompression. One deserving cadet is even at the Florida Space School for OJE. Without the hard work of the Chief Instructor’s office, complimented by the efforts of the Cadet Orderly Room and all others involved, coordinating the summer training and postings of our vast and diverse Wing would surely be impossible.
25366 NCdt Mike Shewfelt also had the opportunity to sit down with Maj Parent and members of his team to get more details on the situation as they see it.
Maj Parent took the opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of the members of team, specifically 25720 OCdt (IV) Cindy Lavine and 24554 NCdt Francis Montagnese. OCdt Lavine, who recently took over from 2Lt White, was responsible for the assignment of Cadets in summer training jobs.
“I have probably dealt with 500 to 600 individuals,” OCdt Lavine explained, “and personally found jobs for 100 or so of those. As an example of the amount of work involved, we recently sent nine Cadets to CFLAWC (the Canadian Forces Land Advanced Warfare Centre) when their original posting fell through. That alone took about twenty hours or so to resolve.”
The most important part of the job, she said, are the compassionate taskings, such as those involving family reasons, that the team is able to arrange for Cadets. As she put it, “We are very flexible.”
OCdt Lavine took over for 2Lt White, who was recently posted to CFB Trenton. The transition was not an easy one: “When I came into the job, I had no contacts whatsoever, and no idea of really what to do, so it has been grueling and very stressful.”
Nonetheless, Maj Parent praised her work. “She’s working in what is really a Captain’s position,” he said. “She is representing RMCC to Captains, Majors, and Lieutenant Colonels, and she has done that exceptionally well.”
Fortunately for OCdt Lavine, the worst is now over. The focus will now shift to the return of individuals from summer training, for medical reasons and the like, and ensuring that these individuals are gainfully employed throughout the rest of the summer months. (OCdt Lavine may not be around for that, however. She currently works on Maj Parent’s staff due to an injury sustained on this year’s Sandhurst competition. If she receives a clean bill of health, she could be on her Common Army Phase Training (CAP) within a week.)
NCdt Montagnese, on the other hand, dealt with posting messages for the graduating Cadets. This is a lengthy process, since the Class of 2012 had over 260 graduates, and as such work on this began back in the Fall Semester.
“It’s a very complex process,” said NCdt Montagnese. “We work with the Managing Authorities and CF units to generate the final posting messages, but there are many things that can change these messages before they are generated, or even afterwards. People getting married is a big one, as they want to be posted together, but the biggest reason things change is the needs of the service. As the process takes so long, positions can be filled before the graduate arrives at the unit, and then we have to find them another posting. We had one graduate whose posting message was changed four times, for example.”
House Hunting Trips are another headache, he said. “We may have the posting message, and the member may have the message, but the trips are coordinated through the Brookfield Moving Company. They have to have the posting messages, too, and they don’t receive them from us.”
Both Maj Parent and Capt Wendland praised the work of the two Cadets in dealing with such a difficult situation. “RMCC Cadets are virtually everywhere,” Capt Wendland remarked. “There is hardly a base in the CF that we have not coordinated with.”
Maj Parent expressed similar sentiments. “There is no other CF unit that deals with this situation like we do. No one else has the responsibility for posting and training such a large number of people at the same time, and so much of the solution to the problem is out of our control. The finances for this, for example, come from the units themselves, not from us. We have to wait on them to get that in order. Unfortunately, there are people that are still waiting for a resolution to their situation. These individuals are very few right now, but they are there. That’s unfortunate, but given the complexity of this situation, it’s not surprising.”