Change of Colonel of the Regiment Parade 2015
By Captain Matthew Hoffart
It has been five years since Major General (retired) Cam Ross took over as Colonel of the Regiment, and on 20 June 2015 he gave his final speech and salute. This concluded a military career that spanned over 35 years, not including his time in this honourary position. Joining the Army in 1968 he enjoyed a long career with his final day in uniform being in 2015. Balancing out the farewells to the retiring of Colonel of the Regiment was the interest and anticipation to see what the incoming Colonel of the Regiment, Colonel Greg Hug, would bring to the Regiment in his new capacity.
Two days prior to the parade the Officers of Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) welcomed Col Hug with an informal lunch in the Mariner Room. This provided a great venue for Col Hug to be reacquainted with more senior officers while meeting the younger officers, including the incredibly talented and attractive Subalterns. MGen Ross also took the opportunity to socialize and officially introduce his successor and both had a few words to say to all in attendance. Capt Ali Raju once again outdid himself by sourcing some fantastic food that was enjoyed by all.
After a week of drill practices, vehicle cleaning, polishing, and uniform inspections, all accompanied by loud verbal “encouragement” from the Regimental Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer Tony Batty, the entire Regiment was incredibly well turned out on parade. Constituting the backdrop to the parade was the impressive fleet of vehicles The Regiment currently employs, the Historical Vehicle Troop, and the Strathcona Mounted Troop. With sharp dress and drill the soldiers of the Regiment received all of the VIPs that arrived for the parade and provided an impressive display for all of the family members and associates of the Regiment that were spectating.
The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Josh Major, took charge of the parade that proved to be a fantastic spectacle for all. After the VIPs were all driven onto parade in a number of historical military trucks (provided courtesy of the Edmonton Chapter of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association) members of the Old Guard and affiliated Cadet Corps fell onto parade for inspection. The Old Guard, as always, proved to be in high spirits and showing no sign of slowing down as they provided their unique and colourful commentary on all of the proceedings. The soldiers on parade were all inspected, including the Royal Canadian Artillery Band and the Regimental Pipes and Drums. Those with shorter attention spans were quickly reminded of the parade when three Leopard C2 tanks conducted a feu-de-joie, firing several blank rounds each in sequence.
MGen Ross and his wife Patti Ross, were presented with gifts from the Regiment in honour of all of the time and effort they dedicated to the Regiment. MGen Ross addressed all Strathconas a final time and was followed by Col Hug addressing the Regiment complete for the first time in his new role, after receiving the Regimental Guidon from LCol Josh Major and the outgoing Colonel of the Regiment. During this time two soldiers from 3 Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry parachuted from a helicopter (courtesy of 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron) over the parade square with the Regimental Flag. The parade came to a conclusion with the departure of all Dignitaries, with MGen Ross leading the way in a horse drawn carriage. The Strathconas only know how to do things in style.
That night our new Colonel of the Regiment, Col Hug, hosted his first mess dinner in his new capacity, which took place at Government House in Edmonton. The night proved to be a great one with a mix of Regimental Officers, Non Commissioned Officers, significant others, and invited guests breaking bread together and sharing comraderie. After a few short speeches, an excellent steak dinner, and great conversation the night gradually came to an end at the Government House. When the catering company found themselves to be out of beverages (a first according to them) some guests started their way home while others found themselves downtown at the Hotel Fairmont MacDonald, a favourite of many Strathconas. The night was a success as Officers, NCOs, and guests mingled and enjoyed all the evening had to offer.
The Colonel of the Regiment is the custodian of Regimental traditions and our unique way of life. MGen Cam “the Godfather” Ross worked tirelessly to ensure that Strathconas maintained the excellent social life that we do and that the entire Regimental Family Support network remains as active and recognized as ever. In addition, the excellent social standing of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) can be attributed to his hard work. Now the Regiment anticipates how Col Greg Hug puts his particular mark on the Strathcona’s in the years to come.