What’s Happening At RMC?

What’s happening at RMC

By: WJO

The 2018 ‘Reading Week’ is in the history books. Cadets and staff have been back on the peninsula for 7 days.

By now most readers of e-Veritas are aware of the main event which has unfolded at the college since Thursday.  We are referring, of course, to the loss of privileges order handed down to the Cadet Wing by the Director of Cadets.

For the record, the sensational headlines from the mainstream media are just that – sensational headlines.

We may be considered ‘old school’ by many but we want to voice our support for holding people accountable.  The issue is not about jeans, but about following lawful orders.

Most of the officer / naval cadets with whom I have had contact with during the weekend are disappointed which is the natural and expected reaction.

At the same time, all of them have admitted that they have fallen short in regards to meeting their responsibilities.

Most have settled into the punishment and realize that its not worth flipping out, they just have to grin and bear it.  Similarly, people have been ordering lots of pizza (one of the local Domino’s is hosting an RMC special), having “movie nights” with their friends or finding other ways to spend the time.

One cadet confided to me. “I haven’t really seen people come together like this in a while. I think that while this isn’t a happy time so to say, its shown that the friendships that form between the cadets here really is something meaningful.”

Another added: “The sanctions are not fun, but they are meant to be that way. It’s only a week and then things will return to normal, so I can’t be too mad about it. The best thing to do is make the best of the situation too, it’ll allow me to get some more work done.”

Don’t you just admire those type of attitudes?

For those who don’t get it, they likely never will; hopefully, before  their graduation year, they will realize a career in the military – where one must follow lawful orders – is not for them.

TDV

Following is an article on the subject by the Whig Standard:

Royal Military College brass rip students over jeans

Article

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Meanwhile things have not come to a standstill on the peninsula, as the next few articles will attest.

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Major-General Terry Liston (ret.) is the former chief of operations, plans and development of the Canadian Armed Forces. He is currently a Fellow of the Raoul-Dandurand Chair of Strategic and Diplomatic Studies at the University of Quebec in Montreal.

Terry visited RMC this past Friday on the invitation of the History Department.

Following is a short write-up from OCdt Pablo Cardona, one of the history students who attended the lecture:

Caption: (L-R) OCdts Nic Parent, Elise Thivierge, MGen Liston (ret’d), OCdts Chris Roy and Pat Allard.

Grateful history students hear it straight-up

By 27832 OCdt (III) Cardona

Last Friday, the students of the French and English sections of the third-year history of peacekeeping course had the privilege of attending a lecture from Major General Terry Liston (ret’d), who served as a junior officer with United Nations mission in the Congo during the early 1960s.

MGen Liston (ret’d) began his lecture with in-depth background to the conflict in the Congo. By proving the classes with a detailed history of the country’s socio-political situation, we were able to get a better appreciation for what motivated the mission and what’s end state was.

The MGen then proceeded to speak on his own experiences as a liaison officer and young lieutenant on the mission. He spoke to the diversity of the UN mission, which consisted of thousands of soldiers from all around the world, and how his commanders went about building relationships with key figures in the country. Furthermore, he spoke to the shortcomings of the mission.

One of the major takeaways of the presentation was the quality of Canadian soldiers in international operations. He mentioned that his unit, the Royal 22nd Regiment, was admired by the locals because they were among the only peacekeepers who spoke French. We, as future peacekeepers, must maintain the CAF’s reputation.

As history students, this presentation was beneficial to our education as it gave us a unique perspective into an important event that helped to define the future of military operations. We are grateful that Major General Liston (Ret’d) was able to dedicate time to come and speak to us.

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File photo: Commandant, BGen S Bouchard

Commandant conducts Annual Inspection

Article by 28057 OCdt (II) Colin Bond

Note: It should be noted that this Commandant Inspection had been on the college calendar since the beginning of the school year.

After the conclusion of reading week comes a hectic time of year for the RMC cadets. The Commandant’s inspection is one of the factors for the busyness of the week. The Commandant’s inspection is one of the larger inspection for the cadet where the room standard and their dress standard are put to the test.

The idea behind the inspection is to make sure that the room standards for the cadets are being followed and to maintain a high standard of dress and deportment for the entire cadet wing. Thus, if one squadron were to have cleaner rooms, and better dress, they will receive more points towards the Commandant’s cup.

There is a lot of prep that goes into the inspection for the cadet wing: plenty of squadron cleanings, lots of polishing, and squadron checks to ensure that the cadets are prepared. All of the areas in the squadron must be cleaned such as bathroom, laundry rooms, linen rooms, and garbage rooms. Final checks of individual quarters and uniforms are conducted before the real deal.

The inspection itself was quite interesting. Brigadier General (BGen) Sébastien Bouchard inspected all of the squadrons individually, where he took time to talk to the cadets, to make sure that the previously mentioned standards were being followed. Chief Warrant Officer (CWO)  G.E. Hoegi accompanied the General and some members of the top five. Most of the higher parts of the training wing were present to help in the inspection of all of the squadrons.

For myself, the inspection when well with the Brigadier General stopping to chat with a few of the cadets. Overall, the inspection for my squadron was a success.

OCdt Lauren Froats, 27872, speaks about her preparation and inspection as such,

“8 Squadron prepared for the commandant’s inspection very well. We held a mock inspection earlier this week and worked as a team this morning in order to complete all our common tasks efficiently and to the best of our abilities. Our inspection went well, proving how hard work pays off.”

Overall, the inspection allows cadets and the Training Wing to come together in a formal setting which allows cadets to interact with the Commandant and show off their hard work.

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File photo: Drill-2013

Professional Development – 28 Feb – A menu of Drill Movements for – I – II & III Years. IV Years learn about ‘antifragility’.

First year:

Today for PD we did drill practice for the two periods.

The drill that we practiced was more so for the drill comp this upcoming weekend.

Drill is great for many things such as; discipline and working as a team. It also teaches us as first years how to follow orders which we will do as officers, as well as teaching third and fourth years in command on parade how to give commands like we will do as officers.

OCdt Williams, 28393

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Second Year:

PD today was drill practice for all those part of the squadron drill competition team.

Drill competition will be happening this Saturday, so there is much preparation to do. The team practiced the whole sequence, focusing on change to slow march and back, falling in for parade, and advancing on parade.

Drill is important as a cadet at RMC because it not only instills discipline, but shows the cadets tradition. It also gives a clear example of what we will expect leading parades as future leader of the CAF

For those not on the squadron drill competition team, the morning was spent preparing for the upcoming commandant’s inspection or studying for the midterm week.

OCdt Trudell, 28262

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Third Year:

PD for the third years today consisted of rehearsing squadron drill in preparation for the upcoming drill competition this weekend.

The third years as well as the rest of the years, assembled on the parade square this morning at 08h00 to practice riffle drill, foot drill, and movement as a squadron.

Firstly, we started off by practicing basic foot drill such as transitions from quick march to slow march on the move. Secondly, we practiced the overall sequence for the drill competition. Lastly, anyone who felt they needed extra guidance stayed back to practice either foot drill or riffle drill with the CSTO.

Drill is important as it is the basic form to move troops in unison from one point to another. Drill is mainly used for military ceremonies, such as parades and is used to instil discipline. Drill is a foundation of discipline as there is an actual manual with all the specific details that entail different types of drill.

Practicing drill this morning for PD shows cadets how important it is in the Canadian Armed Forces as it is the main method in conducting ceremonies, parades etc.

OCdt Kovacs-Salazar,  27796

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Fourth year:

Alistair Luft

For PD, we received a lecture from 21812 LCol Alistair Luft, an Infantry officer and former CANSOFCOM Director of Operations, on the nature of resilience in the ever-changing profession of arms.

He told us about his life philosophy in terms of facing and overcoming adversity, specifically using a model of “antifragility”.

Weaving in stories and anecdotes from his career, the LCol explained how a fundamental part of working in the military involves accepting that the future is deeply uncertain.

Success, then, can be achieved by focusing on failing quickly and recovering even faster.

Looking into “antifragility” also gave the feeling that the whole concept wasn’t exactly strongly defensible. He also spoke about how purpose is what lets you get through rough situations, which was a useful perspective.

8 Comments

  • ROBERT KOMPF

    March 5, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Group Punishment

    One
    Third Year Mess Dinner with alcohol (believed to be first such occasion post WWII). Panty Raid on Queen’s ladies’ dorms. Dirty Thirty. Unfortunately # 31 fell into a trench and hurt his back, but that preserved the poetry of the “Title”. Some personal damage from severed tendons as fist contacted reinforced glass. 60 days punishment each and extending over Christmas Break. Partying in dorms, including dates. Basically miscreants snubbed the concept of adhering to the spirit of the discipline exacted for their misconduct. Large vector of contempt for military installed in both punished group and observers.

    Two
    Removal of one of CWTO’s mustaches, allegedly by ‘some members of Second Year’. 30 days punishment each. Group drill after class. Messing around with duty 4th and 3rd year cadets who changed daily. Mobile marker. Position changes in squad. Your writer in unique situation. Fourth year in residence so duty cadets were former classmates. Continued tomfoolery after several warnings by calling out name. “KOMPF!!!” When asked at nose to nose distance why he had not properly responded to warnings, replied, “I thought you were clearing your throat.” Rewarded with doubling around the Square with rifle at arms length overhead. Second year formed strong bond. CWTO became distinguished author.

    Three
    100 % of jeans wearers punished. 100 % of Cadets and many beyond the Inner Enclosure impressed by POWER oF COMMAND. Whether favourably or otherwise . . . who can say?

    Walking Out Dress
    Would you believe Scarlets??
    Sitting up after Saturday night event to press wrinkles, shine buttons, brush off popcorn hulls and apply fresh whiting to all the piping to get ready for obligatory Church Parade complete with dreaded Inspection and standard four days punishment for any defect in perfection. Gave a warm sensation to participating in religious observance.

  • Bill Yee

    March 5, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Reference: Loss of Privileges (Blue Jeans)

    Col Ayotte, you have my heart-felt respect and appreciation. I totally support the chain of command in this learning situation for all concerned.

    Some individuals are reported as believing that the loss of these privileges (wearing blue jeans) potentially damages health and well-being. These individuals are perhaps too fragile for a career in a military profession of arms.

    Furthermore, it was reported in the Ottawa Citizen 2 March 2018, that “Some cadets who approached Postmedia, etc……”.

    If you need to be a whistle-blower, please do so for gross negligence or severe misconduct that cannot be addressed through by the chain of command. The cadets in questions are simply ‘tattle-tales’, and give honest whistle-blowers a bad name.

    Regards,
    Bill Yee
    11441
    Class 1977

  • 5573 L.R. Larsen

    March 5, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    I am glad I am retired and would not encounter one of those “tattle-tales” who consulted a lawyer and took their complaints to the press over such a minor affair. I would always be wondering if, after I gave an order, I would have to wait for him/her to consult legal counsel before deciding whether they chose to obey the order or not.

  • D.T.Allan

    March 6, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Perhaps group punishment would be better served in situations where the infractions could/would result in compramising security or safety.
    As for the thumb sucker who called the media and associated the taking of one life to regulations
    that are out of touch with today’s youth.you need to remove yourself from the college asap.

  • Mike Kennedy #12570

    March 6, 2018 at 9:15 am

    RMC is a military institution, and a certain level of discipline has to be maintained. However, one of the lessons I think I took away from the College is that discipline is useless if it is not intelligently and constructively applied. I was never a fan of the notion of mindless and unquestioning obedience to orders. I think there needs to be a balance between, on one hand, maintaining an appropriate level of discipline and ensuring that sensible and reasonable orders are obeyed, and on the other, encouraging cadets to learn to think for themselves, and make intelligent decisions.

    This situation reminds me of a meeting we had in the 5 Sqn lounge 40 years ago, where I remember Captain Cossar saying that “I think the dress regulations are insane.”

    When people knowingly break the rules, there needs to be some accountability, and consequences. The question is, what is appropriate under the circumstances.

  • Rem Westland

    March 6, 2018 at 10:04 am

    For me the problem is a discordance between senior officers who mix in with juniors on the one hand, by discarding uniforms or pretending to be equals, and then standing firm behind principles of discipline that made sense in my day (late 1960s). Personally, I still support the principles of yesteryear.

    To build a base of values upon which a fighting force can depend requires learning and adherence on a group level. Those who step away from the group may well be the heroes of the moment or of the future, but they must expect and accept the consequences. A consequence might be that all of their colleagues suffer. The rogue, or innovative (depends on what happens I guess), warriors who by their actions expose their whole platoon or brigade to danger in warfare may have to watch their fellows get blown up along with themselves.

  • 16142 JJ Smith

    March 6, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    The order given on March 1 to RMCC cadets is illegal.  It’s a direction contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  The order needs to be rescinded, or overruled. It should be properly disregarded by anyone subject to it.  (I say so after careful analysis from my experience as a federal Crown prosecutor and law professor.)

    A collective or mass punishment – and the withdrawal of leave privileges for all officer cadets is manifestly such a punishment (as are parades at 0600 this week) without distinction among purported or actual leave dress offenders in that group – is inimical to Canada’s civil and military justice systems.  Distinction – precision, nuance, proportionality – in dealing with alleged offences is a cornerstone of the administration of justice, including administrative measures in the context of Canadian Forces discipline.  A restriction on the freedom of movement of a person can only be done on an individual basis unless an evident pressing security or policing requirement, reasonably understood, exists.     

    The underlying cause of the problem is the matter of leave, or walking out, dress for cadets.  It beggars belief that, in a Canada of the 21st century, any unit or formation (and there not many) of the Canadian Forces would be concerned with a wearing in public of denim attire by its members under training.  In my time as a Cadet Wing Commander at one of Canada’s military colleges, I learned that too much time on the matter of leave dress can be spent by senior college officers, to the detriment of meaningful professional development of officer cadets.  The March 10, 2017 Report on the Climate, Training Environment, Culture and ROTP Programme at the Royal Military College of Canada is instructive in this regard. The perception of propriety of leave dress is at least misleading, giving a false visual comfort that future officers’ deportment has been assured.  At worst, it exposes leaders with a fixation on it to ridicule.

  • 11766 James Philip Doherty

    March 7, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Now that the Whig Standard has published an earlier version of the following text, I am reposting this for the e-Veritas readership with some minor changes. While the media portrayed this as a “tempest in a teapot”, which is the basis for my reaction below, I now understand that some cadets acted unprofessionally to openly defy the rule rather than approaching their leadership with a reasonable proposal for change. Their actions, in a military context, were unacceptable and, of course, must be dealt with as a separate issue.
    “Jeansgate” has captured the attention of many fellow RMC ex-cadets mostly in a light hearted way because we were bucking the jeans rule years ago and finding creative ways to get around it. Some things never change.
    I understand that the College views this is as a question of a cadet’s willingness to follow lawful orders. However, I mentioned to my daughter that 1000 cadets were confined to the College for a week, and naturally she asked why. I replied “Because many of them were wearing jeans in downtown Kingston on their free time, which is against the rules.” She was in disbelief, because the circumstances are so petty. It’s too bad that the critically important issue of willingness to follow lawful orders should be centred around such a debatable issue as wearing jeans, which nowadays, are not only stylish but ubiquitous.
    Understanding all too well the environment of the cadet wing having studied and worked at RMC for 7 years of my career, my reaction to the issue is this: “It’s 2018” as our Prime Minister famously said in 2015 when asked about the gender balance in his inaugural Cabinet. Jeans are stylish, and I wear them to work occasionally at the Canadian Space Agency most often with a button shirt, sports jacket and leather shoes – that is the modern smart casual. When cadets are prominently in the public eye on the streets of Kingston, even on their own free time, it really boils down to behaving (first and foremost) and dressing tastefully and appropriately to reflect the most positive image of the College and their military profession. Beyond Kingston, there are no restrictions.
    Probing more deeply, regulations and rules of engagement (ROE) must make complete sense. Understanding the mindset of a cadet, their rebellious spirit reflects their challenging the value of the jeans rule and the right of the College to enforce it off campus. Without question, everyone understands, expects and demands that uniformed personnel must follow the established rules and legal orders, but we must be receptive when subordinates question those rules and orders. Clearly, there is a downside to instilling strict, unwavering obedience. You do not have to look far back in history to be reminded that strict obedience to questionable commands can have devastating consequences on humanity. We want our military officers to think intelligently, so that they will find creative solutions to the problems they will face and the challenges of the modern world.
    When I was on combat operations during the Gulf War, the personnel who suffered the most stress under my command were those who were so rigid that they could not bend the rules to adapt to the realities of the tactical environment. For example, there were so many jet fighters on our airfield in Qatar that it looked like the deck of an aircraft carrier; therefore, safety distances had to be relaxed and some people could not handle it.
    Finally, in my leadership experience, punishing everyone for the fault of a few is detrimental to morale. If someone breaks a legitimate rule or a lawful command, you must punish the offender and not the group.
    I feel certain that the Director of Cadets will work with the Cadet Wing to find a comfortable middle ground and the residents of Kingston will continue to see RMC cadets in their streets dressed respectably in a stylish way that reflects our modern times and their honourable profession.
    Colonel (retired) James Philip Doherty, OMM, CD, P.Eng.