Van Arty Association and RUSI Van Members News Oct 13, 2015
Newsletter on line. This newsletter, and previous editions, are available on the RUSI Vancouver website at: http://www.rusivancouver.ca/newsletter.html
The 15 Field Officers Mess holds weekly lunches, serving a 5 course, ‘homemade’ meal for only $15- you won’t find a better meal - or a better deal, anywhere. If you are in the area on a Wednesday, drop in and join us for lunch.
NOABC Speaker Program - Wednesday October 28th
Mr John Swann will give a talk on the `San Jose` and the hunt for its Treasures.
World War 2 - 1940
John Thompson Strategic analyst quotes from his book “Spirit Over Steel”
Oct 7th: Hitler moves troops into Romania to shore up Antonescu and secure his oil supplies. All Jewish people in occupied France are ordered to register immediately.
Oct 9th: Churchill – even disliked as he is by many Tories – becomes head of the Conservative Party. Convoys SC-7 and HX-79 put to sea; by the 20th of Oct these two convoys will lose 49 of 79 ships to 11 U-Boats as the wolf pack tactics catch on.
Oct 10th: Don’t ask questions if you do not want to hear the real answer … the Germans run a plebiscite in Luxembourg to find out if the locals approve of their presence. 97% do not.
Oct 11th: A German bombing raid causes much damage in Liverpool and sinks several merchant vessels. Petain asks the French people to reconsider who their friends and enemies are (essentially asking them to accept the German occupation). HMS Ajax is attacked by four Italian destroyers; the light cruiser sinks two and damages the others.
Oct 12th: Operation Sea Lion is postponed until the spring of 1941.
Program Shows Potential Recruits What Soldiering is All About
New program takes just 10 short weeks
Halifax, Nova Scotia — A new Canadian Army (CA) program that offers interested Canadians a hands-on, no-strings-attached introduction to Army life is being expanded following a successful trial run on the East coast. The Army Civilian Engagement (ACE) program launched in April 2015. It was implemented by 5th Canadian Division (5 Cdn Div) in Gagetown, New Brunswick and 36 Canadian Brigade Group (36 CGB) in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It offers a 10-week introduction to soldiering with an opportunity to join the Primary Reserve Force.
Colonel George Thomson, 36 CBG’s commander, noted that ACE incorporates elements from three similar Aboriginal training programs but is, to the best of his knowledge, the first of its kind for the CAF, and is not limited to Aboriginal participants. A major goal of the program is to increase the general public’s knowledge of the CA and its varied employment and educational opportunities. A common misconception is that everyone who joins the Army becomes an infantry soldier or another member of the combat arms, when in fact there are dozens of full and part-time career choices ranging from health care and culinary arts to engineering and telecommunications, to name just a few available options. Both the Gagetown and Halifax trials ended in the summer of 2015. All but five of the 33 individuals who participated completed the program. Five graduates went on to complete the Primary Reserve enrollment process and began summer training. The remaining 23 are at various stages of enrollment. That’s a significant result, considering that on average, only one in three applicants to the Reserve actually join, according to Captain Karen McCluskey, a Recruiting Officer with 36 CBG. “The pilot was very positive,” said Col Thomson. The results, he added, will be studied to determine if ACE is a good fit for other regions of the country.
That said, Capt McCluskey has already heard from recruiters in both the Winnipeg and Vancouver areas who have expressed interest. In the meantime, the program will continue in Halifax and be expanded to Sydney, Nova Scotia in the fall of 2015. Capt McCluskey said the first ACE group was a diverse one, with a mix of men and women ranging in age from 16 to 40-something. “In fact, we had two parent-son combinations in the group,” she noted. One of those combinations was Glenn Burnett and his 16-year-old son Nathan. Mr Burnett served as a Reservist with 723 (Halifax) Communication Squadron (now 36 Signal Regiment) in the late 1980s. He said he began exploring the Reserves on his son’s behalf and learned of the ACE program after dropping in to the 1st (Halifax-Dartmouth) Field Artillery Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA) in Halifax. “They gave a good presentation and I thought it was a great idea,” he said, “especially for younger people who really don’t know what they want. It’s is definitely a great introduction to what’s available.” As a result of their experiences in the program, Nathan opted to join 1st (Halifax-Dartmouth) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA. His father is also in the process of enrolling in the same Regiment.
ACE sessions take place over two hours on weeknights and consist of information sessions on a wide variety of subjects, from maintaining physical fitness to army etiquette. Participants also undergo testing at recruitment centres and experience Forces training on weekends. Participants get the benefit of one-on-one interaction with and coaching from reserve personnel as well as exposure to displays of vehicles and equipment that animate the experience. Capt McCluskey said that one-on-one time with individuals was key to the pilot’s success. “Some of those coming are 16- or 17-year olds and sometimes their parents want to come along. They’re interested to hear the answers and they have our attention during that time period.” And parents aren’t the only community members who became involved, she adds. “We’ve had quite a few teachers and other community leaders that have been engaged with us that are happy to see we’re doing this to allow the students, and older people too, to come in and have a look at what we have to offer without signing up for a commitment right away. They can get a bit of a hands-on, eyes-on preview and get a feel for things.” ACE participants are under no obligation to undertake military service, but do sign a statement of understanding and personal declaration to affirm their commitment to the program, willingness to learn, behave ethically and adhere to the rules and regulations of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Participants are also asked to share information on the program with others, which has been fruitful. Positive word of mouth began to build in the trial’s earliest days, said Capt McCluskey. While many initial participants were relatives of civilian and military personnel (who were first to learn of the program), word spread and others began to express an interest once it was up and running. “It proved to us that people were talking about it and in a positive light.” Chief Warrant Officer Michael Egan, 36 CBG’s Sergeant-Major, said the benefit of ACE for recruiters is that it gives participants the chance to see if the reserve is truly for them before formally enrolling. And when those who choose not to continue to enrollment move on, recruiters can focus more on the rest. “That line of communication happens a lot earlier and if there are any problems, it doesn’t take weeks to resolve. The timelines are shortened exponentially. It lets members of the community come in and experience first-hand what the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces do. I really think this program has an awful lot to offer,” he said. “It’s not just about Army, Navy or Air Force,” added CWO Egan. “There are life skills that are presented. When these young folks decide to take this path, there are certain by-products that they can take when they undergo this training they can use in their civilian lives that would really, I think, put them in front of some of their peers who don’t have this exposure.”
Canada’s Navy, Adrift and Sinking
National Post View | September 24, 2015
On Wednesday, France announced that Egypt had agreed to purchase two Mistral-class helicopter carriers for its navy. The vessels, capable of transporting a ground battle group to any coast in the world, had originally been built for the Russian navy. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however, scuttled the deal, leaving the two modern ships in need of a good home. Yet, had events turned out differently, the Mistrals might have been ours. The Conservatives had some time ago indicated an interest in building or procuring similar vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy. While those plans were abandoned due to their projected high cost, the Mistrals were available for “cheap” — just under €1 billion ($1.5 billion) — and built to a standard that would be acceptable for Canadian use. Discussions between French and Canadian officials, including meetings attended by Defence Minister Jason Kenney, were apparently well under way — only to be torpedoed by the early election call. So to Egypt they will go.
This is a shame, though less of one than it seems. The carriers, it is true, would have been ideal for a mid-sized country like Canada, with our long shores and tradition of deploying troops abroad for battle, peacekeeping or humanitarian relief. The Mistrals are suited to all three roles and were available at a once-in-a-lifetime price. And yet there is little chance Canada could have made effective use of the ships, even if we did buy them. The Royal Canadian Navy is in a disastrous state, struggling to deal with what it has. It’s hard to imagine how it could have successfully integrated entirely new capabilities in this dark period of retraction. There is the odd bright spot. Canada’s dozen Halifax-class frigates are in the midst of a mid-life refit and modernization. These are first-rate warships and will serve Canada well for decades. But that’s about it. Our destroyers once numbered four; only one remains, to be retired shortly, with no replacements on the horizon. Our supply ships have similarly rusted out, leaving the government scrambling to rent ships from other navies, just to enable us to conduct basic operations off our own shores. Infamously, the Sea King helicopters, slated for replacement 22 years ago, are still in service.
All of this is embarrassing, especially since none of it was unforeseen. The rapidly aging nature of our fleet has been a known issue for years, and yet successive governments, Liberal and Conservative, did nothing. Even when our destroyers were putting out to sea with advanced sensors and weapons powered down for lack of funds, or when our supply ships were struggling to operate at sea without breaking down, nothing was done. Now the ships are retired and the replacements are still years away. And that’s the optimistic view. CTV News reported this week there are increasing concerns the much-lauded National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy is now in jeopardy. According to documents obtained by CTV, the program “may be unable to deliver the optimal number of ships with the capabilities necessary to meet operational requirements.” Translated: it may be beyond the capability of Canada, once a major world naval power, to build a mere 15 ships on time, on budget and with the desired capabilities. This, too, is unsurprising. Military procurements are never easy, but Canada seems particularly awful at them. We very much wish that Canada took national defence seriously enough to make the addition of some bargain heli-carriers a sensible purchase. As it is, we’ll be pleasantly surprised if we’re able to effectively replace just those capabilities we already have.
Veteran Priority Hiring not a Priority
Veteran Priority Hiring not a Priority for Minister O’Toole
By Sean Bruyea
For the first time in eight decades, issues affecting Canada’s military veterans’ issues are featured prominently in an election. With so much at stake, why would government yet again mess up another issue with veterans: priority hiring into the federal public service? Minister and veteran Erin O’Toole in another installment of government hype on the treatment of veterans provided this statement during the July 2015 changes to priority hire veterans: “The Government of Canada is keeping its commitment to help military Veterans thrive while making the transition to civilian life.” Prior to these changes, only medically released members could have one chance to be priority hired. Serving members weren’t allowed to access internal competitions, representing 88% of public service job openings. Changes now allow Forces members to access internal competitions but with no priority placement. Non-medically released veterans can have priority accessing only external jobs, representing the remaining 12% of competitions. After World War II, all overseas veterans received preference in all competitions, the injured having the highest preference, no time limits, multiple attempts.
Time will tell if priority hiring amendments are working but are the minister, his department and the rest of the civil service helping veterans “thrive”? In the first six months of 2015 which corresponded to Minister O’Toole’s inaugural tenure, the Public Service Commission reports he oversaw the priority hiring of zero medically released veterans. Since 2010, Veterans Affairs (VAC) has priority hired only six veterans, 2 of whom were hired by the Veterans’ Ombudsman. O’Toole isn’t the only veteran in the upper ranks of Veterans Affairs. Former top general, Walter Natynczyk was appointed deputy minister in November 2014. These two individuals are the two most powerful individuals in VAC and arguably the most influential veterans inside government. They aren’t the only ones piling on endless platitudes but why the gaping chasm between media talking points and dawdling? The current government has manifestly professed its commitment to veterans while demonstrating an iron grip on the public service. Yet, in the first six months of 2015, the entire 250,000 strong federal civil service could only priority hire 21 veterans. In the past five years, 6162 CF members have received medical releases out of a total of 24,000 releases. Troublingly, the public service has engaged only 446 veterans, or less than 7.2 % of medical releases for those years, (veterans released other years would have also qualified further lowering the per cent).
Of the approximately 3,500 employees at VAC, only 97, or 2.7%, are veterans, eleven of whom work in the Ombudsman’s office. Most of these were not priority hires. A cornerstone commitment accompanying the controversial veterans’ benefits known as the new veterans charter was priority hiring. In the nine years since its enacting under the Conservative government, VAC has made just 25 veteran priority hires. Correctional services, Public Works, Employment and Social development as well as Fisheries and Oceans all priority hired more veterans than the department legally mandated to “care” for and “re-establish” veterans.
National Defence has better fulfilled an obligation to veterans with 838 veteran priority hires, 71% of the total. But the booby prize goes to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. With over 100 employees and a perennial insensitivity to veterans, this agency priority hired just one veteran in eleven years. This must be what the public service wants because the chief bureaucrat during this time, Dale Sharkey, was last month awarded the Public Service Award of Excellence. Her nominator: VRAB’s director of communication. Back patting and rhetoric over substance.
Does all this mean the public service discriminates against veterans? Some veterans employed in the public service have made this allegation. Perhaps the greatest barrier is public service culture. As the Auditor General and DND have noted, hiring an individual can take 10 months while their application meanders through bureaucratic obstacles. When Forces members are ordered overseas at 48 hours’ notice to potentially lose their lives, government’s dull-witted response when the uniform comes off is a distant cry from the caring and dignity this government keeps telling veterans they deserve. One astute committee member noted during hearings on the changes to the priority hiring bill: “why aren't we thinking outside of the box in which we tend to think right now?” Enlightenment, compassion and innovation appear anathema to the senior public service. There are time limits for the priority hiring window. Yet, for disabled veterans, the only expiry date on their disability is death. For spouses, if a veteran is too ill to work, she is barred from priority hiring.
More than 70% of the priority placements are in clerical positions. For some, worthy jobs but Minister O’Toole tells us our veterans have a wide ranging skill set. In fact there is no unique veteran specific follow-up to ensure that veterans are not frustrated, bored, undervalued, under-performing or suffering discrimination in a public service culture which is widely divergent from that of the military. When Canadians join the military, they are constantly trained, taught and transition into responsibility with some of the best mentoring management culture in the public or private sector. There is no gradual transition into a new public service job for the few accepted. All applicants must satisfy narrow criteria that either discourage or disqualify anyone outside the public service. Bureaucratic culture has a difficult time translating private sector skills to a public service context. No wonder almost all departments, except DND, have been unable to translate military skills sufficiently to substantively employ large numbers of veterans. Neither are disabled veterans supported to take on partial work-weeks to adapt their limitations to new employment. Anecdotally, veterans are too frequently unable to make the transition from disability to 100% work schedule in an unfamiliar work environment. But we really don’t know because we don’t care enough about our veterans to do any meaningful follow-up let alone provide urgently required coaching. And our veterans need a helping hand. Fully sixty-percent of recent releases have 20 years or less military service with 38% having five years or less. They want a job and their skills are a must-have for a stagnant public service.
For veterans who are sloughed off onto civilian not-for-profits, we have no idea how they are doing because there is no accountable follow-up. Washing hands of veterans by government to outside agencies has taken on a mean, hot potato streak in the last decade. Let’s put this all in perspective. In the six years after World War II, Canada’s civil service hired over 130,000 veterans. By 1951, Veterans Affairs had 14,000 employees; almost 9500, including more than 95% of senior managers, were veterans. For all veterans in any employment, particularly the disabled, personalized follow-up was part of the package. Case managers met with veterans and employers on a regular basis to help ‘translate’ the military skill set and working limitations of veterans into civilian context. “Walt” Natynczyk provided the following in a scripted news release: “Those who wear the uniform of the Canadian Armed Forces serve Canada with loyalty, pride, and a commitment to excellence.” Each military member does this for each and every Canadian at the orders of the government of Canada. Canadians have increasingly appreciated this reality of late. Discouragingly, government is far too mired in political self-interest, advised by the parochial and initiative-paralyzed bureaucracy to tangibly return the commitment in kind to our veterans and their families. Are veterans ‘thriving’ Minister O’Toole? The best many veterans have been able to achieve, if they aren’t committing suicide, is to merely survive
Honest John Missile Launcher Reconstruction
With great excitement and some trepidation I would like to announce that, with the tireless assistance of retired IG, Rob Clarke and an old RCEME friend of mine, Rob Love; I have acquired the launcher mechanism from Honest John "AA" from a Manitoba scrapyard and will, over the next two or so years, restore it and a suitable M386 truck chassis as a mobile memorial to all Honest John Gunners. The RCA Museum has also been kind enough to make a permanent loan of an M405A1 Handling Unit trailer! The launcher and trailer will be delivered to the museum Wed, 16 Sep at 0900 hrs. Folks are welcome to come out and watch... the address is on our website listed below.
I am looking at contacting as many steely eyed missile men as I can, to gather their stories and memories of the HJ and am hoping that many of them will be able to assist in the restoration with photos, documents and even bits and pieces they may have accumulated during their time in 1 or 2 SSM. Special thanks go out to Mr Gnr Dave Robinson who found just about all the manuals for me.
I have attached a photo of "AA" in her heyday and am hoping to identify the members of the detachment and the date the photo was taken.
Could you put this out on your jungle drum network asking it to be spread as far and wide as possible? Folks are welcome to contact me at email@example.com or at the phone number below.
Major MTA Calnan, President. The Swords and Ploughshares Museum
Who is it?
Last Week: The sliver of a face on the left is believed to be Barrie Clemons (2i/c of the day). Then Col Dean-Freeman, Van District Commander, Lt Col Doug Anderson (behind, CO SHC), then Capt Peter Clegg, Capt Phil Jones, Capt the Hon Mr Justice Victor Dryer, Maj Jim Griffiths, u/k, Maj Dave Ames and Capt ‘Oakie’ Toombs.
This Week: We continue our theme of “who’s that chap?” with this shot from Vic Stevenson’s collection, dated to 1972. Here we have what is possibly the last-ever use of the famous “tin hat” of two world wars (although the one in the Great War was slightly different to this Mk II version). The gentleman sporting this combat fedora (and matching cravat) is an RSM named “Wood”, but beyond that is not known to one so young as your author. I’m sure there are those of you out there in readerland who can enlighten me as to the RSM’s identity, and to that of his well-fed Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps officer (captain?) friend, also cravat-clad, and that of the NCO behind him. Of interest to military collectors and amateur historians, who tend to be a sometimes dogmatic bunch, is the fact that the officer is wearing a forage cap with his combats (not too unusual), and that such is being done at a time when khaki officer’s caps had been replaced in the regular force by the much-loved unification green one. Of further interest to collectors is the fact that the latter can, depending on the manufacturer, begin to turn to dust, due to the synthetic materials used in its manufacture, whilst the older version suffers only from sticky interiors, if the lining has a plastic sweat protector. Fascinating, no?
Your help can be sent to the author, John Redmond (firstname.lastname@example.org), or to the long-suffering editor. Thank you.
From the ‘Punitentary’
If a farmer raises wheat in dry weather, what does he raise in wet weather? An umbrella.
Murphy’s other Laws
Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.
Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. - Dale Carnegie
September 5, 2015
The Chinese Canadian Military Museum is the only museum of its kind in Canada. Our goal is to collect, preserve, document, and celebrate the role of Chinese Canadian veterans in the service of Canada’s military.
Our emphasis over the past 15 years had been on educating Canadians on the role Chinese Canadians played during the Second World War, and the double victory that was won as a result of their sacrifice. Not only did Chinese Canadians play a role in the victory of the Allies over fascism in 1945; they also improved the lives of all Chinese Canadians when, in 1947, the federal government finally granted the community full citizenship and the right to vote.
Today, we have only a small number of Canadian veterans from this war still with us. Many are active in our museum. All are in their 90s.
This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. It is a milestone year that we need to commemorate. Sadly, we recognize this is one of our last opportunities to honour as many of the few remaining World War II veterans still alive.
To this end, our museum is hosting a 70th Anniversary Commemorative Gala dinner on Saturday, October 24, 2015 in Vancouver. This is the year, and the occasion, to really honour the veterans that are left by hosting the most amazing gala commemorative dinner for them with an outstanding, distinguished Canadian in attendance.
To make this year truly special, we have invited Lieutenant General (Ret’d), the Honourable Romeo Dallaire and he has accepted to be our keynote speaker for the evening. He is a former soldier and Canadian senator. And he is a man who, due to his time in Rwanda as a peacekeeper, speaks passionately about conflict, resolution, compassion … and forgiveness.
Although he is a high profile speaker, he does not take any money for himself. However, he does use his speaking fees to raise money for his humanitarian work – specifically his mission to end the use of child soldiers. All money goes to his foundation, and he is selective as to what speaking engagements he accepts. Your support by attending this dinner will help us to raise money not only for our museum but also for LGen Dallaire’s foundation.
The museum is promoting this event to all the military regimental associations, Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans (ANAVETs) units, Royal Canadian Legions (RCL) branches and local militia units and reserves. We hope that you will join us at this momentous occasion to pay tribute to these war heroes. If you also wish to donate to the museum, we are able to issue tax receipts for your contribution to help us carry on with the stories and legacies of these veterans. Please use the attached form to order your tickets and do share this invitation to your family, friends and colleagues at work and clubs. I look forward to seeing you at the dinner.
Thank you for your support of our veterans.
15th Field Artillery Regt Seeking Recruits
Primary Reserve Artillery Information Session
Monday October 19th, 2015 @ 6:00 P.M
Monday October 26th, 2015 @ 6:00 P.M
Those interested in applying to the Canadian Armed Forces Primary Reserves are welcome to attend a one-hour information session as a first step in the recruitment process.
These sessions will include information on career availability, benefits, training, and more.
Registration is mandatory for all information sessions
2025 West 11th Ave, Vancouver BC
To register, call 604-666-4371 or email 15FdRegtRecruiting@forces.gc.ca
Be sure to include the following information:
· Your name and address
· Phone number (home, work, cell)
· Email address
· Date and time of presentation