Ladies & Gentlemen – Start your engines! This wasn’t the message given by the freshly minted DCdt, LCol Tony O’Keeffe to the II, III & IV Year classes last Friday just before the 2008/09 school year was to commence at RMC.
However, it just may as well have been! The energetic and passionate air force Aerospace Control Officer went almost non stop for three different 55 minute briefings outlining his expectations for each Class..
To the II Years: “Get this right, everything else will be easy, “said the straight talking LCol. “Agree with this and we’re good to go,” was the advice given to the III years. Members of the graduating class were reminded -“Life is hard…but it’s harder when you’re dumb.”
Tony O’Keeffe is a 27 year Canadian Forces veteran, he enrolled in the CF as a Private Radar Technician. Twenty years ago, he was selected for commissioning under the Officer Candidate Training Program as an Aerospace Control Officer. He has Bachelor’s Degree in Military Arts & Science from RMC, and a Masters of Arts Degree from the University of Oklahoma.
The Montreal native combined straight-talk with the right mixture of levity to gain the full attention of all the cadets and the full component of Military Wing members in attendance. From the very back row, not a head was noticed nodding off during the smooth flowing presentations!
His message was delivered at three different “temperatures” – the higher the Class – the higher the heat. Regardless of the temperature and delivery style of the message, Cadets (all three years) understood that the role of the RMC staff was:
“To educate, develop and train officer cadets for a career of effective leadership service in the Canadian Forces.”
The briefings were inspirational and highly charged. Race car drivers preparing for the Indianapolis 500 mile race could not have been more “pumped” than these II, III, & IV Year cadets preparing for the launching of the school year.
Like the Indy 500 there undoubtedly will be some crashes along the way. A few Cadets may run into proverbial brick wall or completely run off the track. However, like the race car driver, if they fasten their seat belts; use the safety support systems available; and most of all – don’t quit – they should all reach the finish line safely in May
The Way I Remember It
By: IV Year 24359 Steve Paish
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
The first big event of the RMC 2008/09 calendar year happened on Labour Day Monday. The class of 2012 marched through the Arch which formally signifies the commencement of the First Year Orientation Program (FYOP). It was a significant day in their lives.
As this will be the last Arch parade that I will be part of as a cadet, the occasion has given me pause for thought. Just how significant was the Arch parade to me when I got here in 2005?
The answer of course is that the Arch parade was and still is an extremely significant part of my RMC experience. I arrived at the college on the morning of my Arch parade on a bus straight from St Jean Sur Richelieu. I had just come off of my basic officers course (Initial Assessment Period – IAP as it was then called) and I felt like a true member of the CF. The college however was a different matter. I had no idea what awaited me at the place which had been my motivation to join the military, and I certainly did not feel at all like a member of the college. This feeling was immediately increased as soon as I stepped off of the bus and was met by a group of sharply dressed 4th years who quickly separated us into our respective flights. This process was followed by several addresses from the FYOP staff to each flight about how each squadron had some sort of reputation and that wed better well uphold it! At this point in time I was starting to believe that I had actually made it to the college that I was actually there, no longer just staring at the brochures back at the recruiting center in Edmonton.
Cadets preparing for the march through the Arch
Then the big event happened. The bagpipes struck up and my flight was right turned and marched towards the arch. Staring at that huge structure approaching me it began to dawn on me that this was it. A surge of confidence hit me as I realized the time I had been waiting for had arrived. I was here at the Royal Military College of Canada and it was time to start my journey.
ROTP/RETP/UTPNCM marching through…
Today, this feeling of the Arch parade marking the start of a huge journey is more relevant than ever. With the class of 2012 having no summer officers training beforehand, the parade marks the first significant milestone for them. They will embark upon their journey at the college. I wish them luck as they take their first steps into what will be a formative 4 years in their life. It is a day that I am sure like me, they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Cadet Wing Commander Jackie Power forming up cadets for Commandant’s address
Photos courtesy of: Ocdt Sébastien Delage
(click on images for better view)