Has Much Has Really Changed in 29 Years?
IV Year Jon Groten, CFL 3 Squadron leading the way for his “rooks”.
By: 24013 Jon Groten – IV Year – Mech Eng
29 years ago, Will Groten walked off the farm and into the gardens of RRMC. After a summer of basic training in Chilliwack, he arrived at Royal Roads ready for some fun with the memories of parades, inspections, PT and yelling from the summer fresh in his mind. Unfortunately, the upper years at RRMC had something different in mind for them. All kinds of fun ensued at the college for the next month. Mattress races, inspections, PT and music. Apparently the Led Zeppelin in the mornings didn’t bode well with him because he still doesn’t like the band. By the end of the month the first years were praying for the end, and eventually it came in the form of the obstacle course.
25 years later, his kid marched through the arch to start the same ordeal. Though I felt ready for the coming month when I arrived, the FYOP period gave a constant challenge. Heavy metal in the mornings, opera at night, and everything else under the sun crammed in between. Sunday mornings and study hours provided the only rest from our staff. In the end though, all the pain and suffering sharpened us for the challenges ahead of us.
FYOP never made any of us better athletes, but it gave us a mental toughness that is hard to come by through any other kind of training. Some are able to push themselves when they are getting lots of sleep, food and rest but it’s only when you are deprived of all of these that you learn what you are really made of. There were obviously some changes that occurred in the last couple of decades. Not running the obstacle won’t get you kicked out, and neither will the other various injuries that worried cadets of the past (square meals are a thing of the past as well thankfully). With the college being nearly 1000 cadets now, it was also bit easier for us first years to be anonymous. I once took 5 minutes navigating various routes to get back to Ft. Sauvé from Yeo Hall during a Wing form-up. Dodging and diving behind squadrons, avoiding eye contact with anyone wearing a sash or bars, I avoided everyone only to see a whole squadron coming at me. I bolted into the upper year stairwell, hoping nobody would notice. It turns out that it was my own squadron (the only ones whose names I would have known), and they got a kick out of the sprint for safety.
After FYOP ended, the years seemed to pass quickly and this fall, I found myself as a first year CFL for 3 Sqn. To my surprise, things had changed even over the last 3 years. The FYOP staff learned to dread the schedule that ruled the peninsula: no more inspections or PT after dinner while cell phone privileges, and free time privileges were mandatory for all first years. As much as I disagreed with it, this is the reality of the college we live in: change happens and we have to be ready to adapt and overcome. Things might seem a little different around here nowadays with jeans in the mess and parking on the parade square, but at the core, it’s still the same college.
The methods and common practices of the Rook/FYOP term have changed over the years, but the constant has been and will be the cadets at the college and the staff. The rules may change, but in the end it’s about the people that live here at the college and how they lead.
Proud father, 13736 Will Groten (RRMC RMC ’82) attended the ’07 Reunion Weekend to celebrate his 25th. Son, Jonathan (RMC ’08) was a member of the 3 Squadron, First Year Orientation Program (FYOP). Will was a pilot in the CF and now works and resides with his wife Alison (’82 Queen’s University) and their children in Houston, Texas.
1239 Geoffrey Byrnes Beatty
Ed: Jonathan ‘ s Great Grandfather (his mother ‘ s paternal grandfather) 1239 Geoffrey Byrnes Beatty from Toronto, attended RMC during the years 1916-1918. He was called into active duty as an Instructor Pilot near the end of the war and therefore never completed his time there. Coincidence or not Jonathan is also a pilot. Regular e-Veritas readers may recall the outstanding article he authored last Fall about his time at the USAFA.
Exchange Cadets and RMC Varsity: A new perspective
By: 24329 John Keess III Year – Military and Strategic Studies
With another year of hard practices and demanding games in front of them, the RMC Men’s soccer team can count on two new members of the team: The United States Naval Academy’s Midshipman Andrew Lewis, Jr. and the United States Air Force Academy’s Cadet First Class Brady Davis. As part of the regular exchange program between RMC and the American military academies, Brady and Davis have also made their way into the Varsity soccer program at their adopted institution, something which has benefited both the team, which has inherited two strong additions to the season’s roster, as well as the cadets of both nations, who have gained new insights and new perspectives.
While Canada and the the United States are similar in many ways, the exchange cadets quickly noticed differences in the ways which RMC and the American academies operate. First off, there is a simple matter of scale. With each American academy boasting a population of approximately four times that of RMC, there are a lot more resources on hand. Davis notes that “[USAFA] football games get 54 000 people, and we sell a lot of merchandise too…but that doesn’t make better players, necessarily….a lot of it is internal. You have to have good coaches, and RMC has fantastic coaches – Vick Mendes is an incredible coach.” A smaller scale brings with it many advantages, especially when concerned with involving the student body with the sports programme. For both Davis and Lewis, this is their first time playing on a university-level varsity team”If you want to make a varsity team at [USNA], you pretty much have to be recruited.” says Lewis, “here people come and want to play a sport, but even the recruited athletes are here for a reason other than just to play a sport.”
Participation in the varsity programme has also made the exchanges more profound for everyone involved. Having both taken Second Language Training upon their arrival to Canada, the cadets from rival academies knew each other going into the season. “It’s good to have another American,” says Davis, “who understand how cold it is here!” The rest of the team, however, quickly welcomed their American counterparts. “Going into school, I had a bunch of friends already, some people that I could rely on,” notes Davis, “I’d never been to Canada before, and I thought joining the soccer team would be a good way to see a little bit of Ontario. I’ve gotten to see Ottawa, Toronto, Peterborough, as far up as Sudbury and North Bay.” The tri-service nature of RMC and the fact that cadets from both USNA and USAFA are playing on the same soccer team has allowed for a greater understanding of the different services for the cadets from one-service academies. “We hardly get exposure to people from the other branches of the armed forces,” says Lewis, “…normally, for us, you don’t meet or know people in the other branches of the service until you’re a senior officer.”
Ultimately, both Midshipman Lewis and Cadet First Class Davis are welcome as strong additions to RMC’s men’s soccer team.