A running start
A/SLt 24498 Noelani Shore (RMC 2009)
As the incoming Director of Cadets, Lieutenant Colonel Sue Wigg is no stranger to the Royal Military College. She graduated in 1984 as one of the first 32 female officer cadets to attend the institution.
“Opportunity knocked,” said LCol Wigg, as she explained what drew her to RMC. “I dropped into a recruiting centre which recognized my potential, and suggested that I try RMC.”
RMC prepared LCol Wigg for the challenged she has faced in her career so far, but it did not come easy. She learned commitment and diligence from her time at the college through the excellence of the academic and military staff and the direct application of their lessons in experiences living in the Cadet Wing.
While it is a different perspective, being a cadet, as opposed to being at the top of the food chain, LCol Wigg recognizes that the challenges are the same then as now.
“The focus is the cadets. Focus is on what the cadets of today need today, in order to achieve the preparations necessary to take their first command, to take their first leadership job in the CF. That is the only goal. What do they need, and how can I help lead the very excellent cadre of military staff who provides the military preparation. How can I help the interface between the military and the academic professionals so that balance is achieved. I think that challenge is the primary one here, and will always be that way.”
The preparation cadets receive is instrumental to the Canadian Forces.
“When you specialize right from the beginning in your own profession, you’re able to achieve a running start at what you’re going to do. That doesn’t always guarantee that you’re going to be the most excellent person, but it certainly builds the required characteristics for the profession,” she explained. “And that’s necessary, especially in such a specialized activity as the military. The proper foundation from the beginning is essential. Of course there are other ways to achieve a foundation, and we accept diversity in all aspects, but without being able to at least establish a standard for the military, in a military setting, the Canadian Armed Forces would lack depth. We would lack foundation. We would lack a rudder on where to take this profession for the Canadian public.”
RMC builds the foundation cadets will come to rely upon. They learn what their responsibilities are, as well as how to act, and leaves no doubt as to how the public and the Armed Forces team are expecting officers to behave.
There have been many changes since LCol Wigg first joined RMC, and one thing she notices is that there are a lot more women in the military. As a pioneer for women in 1984, LCol Wigg has paved the way for women cadets.
“I’m confident that things have changed since we were here as the first 32. Everything was challenging back then. It was difficult from the point of view that we were first, and there was attention placed on that. There was uncertainty just purely from the point of view of the college itself, and what was expected in a mixed environment. These hurdles were equally shared by the men at the time. However, the nature of RMC is to present challenges and difficulties. It is part of the development process and keeping the Military relevant to Canadian Society. It was difficult, and I’m sure that it still is difficult for new and different reasons. RMC will continue to be a challenging process for the Cadets both men and women.”
But would she do it again?
New College Chief Warrant Officer –
CWO Tony Slack, MMM, CD
CWO Slack was born in Nottingham, England and immigrated to Canada in 1971 with his parents settling in Oshawa, Ontario. A member of the Army Cadets in his youth and later joining the reserves, he began his regular Force career in Petawawa in 1980 as an Armour Crewman.
After a short period with the 8th Canadian Hussars he was posted to CFB Gagetown to C Squadron Royal Canadian Dragoons. In 1983, CWO Slack was posted to Lahr Germany and served 4 years with his parent Regiment the Royal Canadian Dragoons serving in Leopard tanks and as a reconnaissance soldier.
Upon repatriation in 1987, CWO Slack was promoted to Sergeant and posted to the Armour School in CFB Gagetown as an instructor teaching basic officer training to new officer cadets. In 1989, CWO Slack obtained the trade specialty of Tactical Helicopter Observer and was posted to 427 Squadron in CFB Petawawa. During the next three year he was a crewmember on the Kiowa light helicopter with a deployment to Central America in support of United Nations operations.
In 1992, CWO Slack returned to the Royal Canadian Dragoons in Petawawa. As the Squadron Operations Sergeant he deployed to Somalia with A Squadron as part of the Airborne Regiment Battle Group and in 1994 he deployed with the RCD to Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of the UN Mission.
Promoted to Warrant Officer in January 1996, CWO Slack returned to tanks as a troop Warrant and later a troop leader. In 1998, he was placed on the yearlong continuous French course. After achieving his profile he returned to the Dragoons as the Squadron Quarter Master for A Squadron.
In 2000, CWO Slack was promoted to Master Warrant Officer and assumed the position as Centre Sergeant Major for the CF Training and Development Centre in CFB Borden. There along with his other duties he taught Instructional Techniques to CF Members of all ranks across Canada.
In 2002, CWO Slack returned to Petawawa as the Squadron Sergeant Major for the tank squadron. After participating in the Brigade Training Event of 2003 CWO Slack assumed the position as SSM for Headquarters Squadron deploying once again to Bosnia this time in the role of Camp Sergeant Major for Camp Maple Leaf in Zgon
Upon return to Canada, CWO Slack was posted to CFB Kingston as the G3 Training responsible for Individual training and the training facilities of the base. He was promoted to his current rank in 2006 and posted once again to Gagetown as the Armour NCO training developer in CTC Headquarters. In 2007, CWO Slack was appointed as the Regimental Sergeant Major of the Armour School.
After his two years as the RSM, CWO Slack was chosen for the Knowledge Acquisition Program at the Royal Military College. At the end of a successful year of professional development CWO Slack was appointed as the College RSM for RMC.
CWO Slack is the junior partner in a wonderful marriage to his wife Debra. They are blessed to have two children and two grandchildren. A truly CF family, Debra serves as an RMS Clerk with the Army and his daughter and son-in -law are with the Air Force in Yellowknife, NT.
Ed note: e-Veritas hopes to conduct an in-depth interview with CWO Slack a few weeks down the road once he is well settled in his new position of College Chief Warrant Officer.