Training for the “M”

The relevance of and commitment to drill

26497 NCdt Matthew Noonan

This year a new event, the RMCC drill competition created a buzz of interest throughout the college. Questions flew from the cadet wing in particular about the nature of the new competition. Why were all years participating? Why was, what many cadets considered the traditional colour party competition, being changed? And above all, where did the idea for the new drill competition came from?

In fact, a large scale drill competition at the RMCC was no new idea. A competition involving all first and second year cadets was held annually from 1965 until 1998. In 1998 the competition ceased and was most likely replaced by the more recent format of a drill competition involving only the mixed colour party of first, second and third years. Much like the expectations placed on the college colour party, the routine for the older drill competition was complex and demanding. According to 10478 Maj. (Ret) Wayne Ramsden, a former CWTO,

“The routine took about ten minutes to run, give or take. It consisted of every [rifle] drill move in the manual; stationary and on the march in slow and quick time. It was started on the order ‘Attention’, followed by a series of stationary arms drill that ended with a right turn, then quick march manoeuvres, slow march manoeuvres, and ended with a halt, left turn, open order march, rest on arms reverse, recovery, advance in review order, present arms, rippling feu de joie, and order arms. After ‘Attention’ at the beginning, no other word of command was given – it was a memorized routine.”

This advanced routine was a source of pride for all involved and a trophy, donated by the class of 1964, was given to the annual winner. The trophy, called the “Graduating Class of 1964-1965 Inter-Squadron Drill Competition“, will again be given out to the top Squadron at the end of the RMCC drill competition.

RMCC’s new drill competition was inspired by its predecessor. The new competition needed to achieve many goals in order to be worthwhile. First, it aimed to foster increased squadron pride and cohesion through the participation of as many cadets as possible; it was achieved by creating 48 separate drill teams (4 per squadron).

Each squadron paraded one team for each cadet year; the first, second, third and fourth years training in foot, rifle, colour party, and sword drill respectively. As teams were given practice time, and the Cadet Wing leadership had to use their initiative to organize additional drill periods in preparing for the drill competition, the Cadet Wing was able to augment the amount of drill training periods for all cadets participating, but also achieve another goal by using their leadership in training subordinates.

Finally the revitalised drill completion format was designed to increase the overall relevance of and commitment to drill within the cadet wing. With these thoughts in mind, cadets from all 12 squadrons put their best foot forward and made the 2013 RMCC drill completion, which was held this past Saturday, November 9, a resounding success.

The results of the competition along with the name of the winning squadron is schedule to be announced to the entire Wing on Wednesday morning. We will follow-up next week.


Inspections: An RMCC Tradition

26497 NCdt Matthew Noonan (III)

The most routine and loathed aspect of attending a military college is the standard room inspection. While usually regarded by most cadets as the bi-annual exodus of all our worldly possessions from our quarters, the cadets of the college realize, though they hate to admit it, that inspections serve a purpose.

From a purely experiential perspective the inspections throughout the year give all first years an edge that their civilian university ROTP counterparts do not have as they head towards basic training. For the remainder of the cadets inspections more than any other activity reaffirm the military aspect of RMCC. They remind us that this is a military institution and not a uniformed boarding school.

Besides the general cleanliness and discipline inspections provide their most important contribution to the lifestyle of RMCC is the sense of elitism and comradely they instill as cadets engage in the oldest of military traditions: taking perverse pleasure shared hardships that others do not have to endure.

Below are four snippets, each from an Officer or Naval cadet from a different year, detailing their perspectives during pre-inspection the weeks. Hopefully these pieces, combined with several photographs will show that the military tradition of inspections and complaining about said inspections is alive and well at RMCC.

After all, a soldier isn’t happy if he isn’t complaining.


A First Year Perspective

27108 NCdt Zachary Tremblay (I)

Inspections are seemingly redundant, yet at the same time, they are a necessary part of life at a military college. They are necessary because they help to prepare us for military tasks (other inspections included) that we will have to complete throughout the remainder of our careers. Inspections at RMCC are also the most prevalent activity incorporated into the military pillar. They touch all members of the college equally. Their redundancy, however, is not the underestimated. This is most aptly demonstrated by each and every cadet stressing to scrub every last speck of dust from their room, then immediately preceding after the inspection to summarily destroy the room in celebration. From my perspective, I understand the importance of keeping our rooms to a certain level of cleanliness, however, as the common complaint goes; we came to school to learn to be officers not to learn how to clean garbage and a sink. It is just extremely unfortunate that in order to tell someone to clean their space in the future, we must clean ours right now.

In Preparation, a Second Year View

26678 OCdt Courtney Williams (II)

Prep for the Commandant’s Inspection can be very stressful as for some reason the moment when an inspection is scheduled seems to invariably occur during peak homework season. However, it can be a really good thing because it gets people to really focus on being detail-oriented and everything is the cleanest it is all year everywhere on campus. Yet there are definitely drawbacks. With the increased demand on your time it becomes much harder to go through day-to-day activities and studies when you’re trying not to live in your room.

Condensing Experience

26246 OCdt Taylor Sannes (III)

By now Third Years understand what awaits them during the RMCC Commandants’ inspection. The grind of emptying rooms to contain the bare minimum required to survive a whole week fills storage rooms across the Cadet Wing. However, this year’s inspection weekend also contains many other duty weekend activities condensing what used to be a much more spread out military training schedule. This is excellent as instead of multiple duty weekends everything is now completed in three days allowing other weekends to remain free for sport competitions and the all-important academic success of the cadet wing.

Inspections – Old Hat

25982 OCdt Colin Strong (IV)

As fourth year RMCC cadets, we’ve been through this a time or two before; whether it be at the FYOP, Basic Training, Commandant, Division, Squadron, Cadet, Parental, Local Celebrity, Local Non-Celebrity, Intrigued Bystander level … It seems like everyone wants to take a look inside our rooms! Inspections are a fact of life at our beloved military institution. Even though it does grow tiresome sleeping on one’s floor in order to avoid wrinkling that perfect bed, the semiannual tradition of gutting our living quarters down to a near hospital level of cleanliness serves at least one end – you may finally find that missing 4’s belt.

Truth Duty Valour – Vérité Devoir Vaillance.