Change of Command (23 – 25 June 2008)
By: Corporal Darryl E. Hordyk
27 June 2008
The week of the Change of Command Parade was a busy week for C Squadron, also referred to as Prince of Wales Squadron (PoW Sqn), following the successful completion of a Gun Camp and Exercise REFLEX NUMERIQUE. After the Exercise, all three troops currently in C Squadron carried out heavy tank maintenance while conducting numerous parade rehearsals for the events of the week. The Squadron worked tirelessly and on June 24th while conducting final rehearsals for the Change of Command parade. Also on this day of rehearsals the Regiment took some time to acknowledge and pay tribute to some of its members with several well deserved promotions and presentations. From PoW Sqn, Squadron Sergeant-Major, Warrant Officer Richard Stacey, was promoted to the rank of Master Warrant Officer. Sgt Dan Charette received the first clasp for the Canadian Forces Decoration, Corporal Justin Bustard received his Canadian Decoration medal, and Corporal Ryan Sebo was awarded the Commander’s Commendation for his actions in Task Force 3-07 as a gunner in the Panjwaii District, Afghanistan.
On Wednesday June 25th a spectacular parade by Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) saw the Regiment bidding farewell to Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Pascal Demers, and Regimental Sergeant-Major, Chief Warrant Officer Doug Ross. Although it was a sad occasion for some, it was also a celebratory one as the Regiment welcomed the incoming Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Derek Macaulay, and Regimental Sergeant-Major, Chief Warrant Officer Joseph Ramsay. A light breeze cooled the soldiers of the Regiment as all the Sergeants-Major formed up their respective squadrons to march onto the parade square. PoW Squadron was handed over to Officer Commanding C Squadron, Major John Cochrane, as officers fell in on parade. Dignitaries at the parade included Director of Armour, Colonel Lowell Thomas; Colonel-of-the-Regiment, Colonel John Roderick; Commander 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, Colonel Jonathan Vance; and Senior Serving Strathcona and Deputy-Commander Canadian Expeditionary Force Command, Major-General Tim Grant. PoW Sqn and the rest of the Regiment looked on proudly as presentations were made and the official signing and handing over was completed. Adding to the special occasion, outgoing Regimental Sergeant-Major, Chief Warrant Officer Ross, was commissioned by Colonel Vance to the rank of Captain.
When the new Commanding Officer took over the parade, the command “CREWS MOUNT” was issued and all soldiers on parade scrambled in double time to their respective vehicles to begin the Roll Past. This exciting event was led by Regimental Headquarters vehicles followed closely by PoW Sqn. The Roll Past and the Advance were performed to great effect and brought the parade to a successful conclusion. In the end, the Regiment bid a fond farewell to Lieutenant-Colonel Demers and to newly-commissioned Captain Ross who have led the Strathconas through one of the most challenging times that the Regiment has had to face in recent decades. Furthermore, a warm welcome was laid out to Lieutenant-Colonel Macaulay and Chief Warrant Officer Ramsay as they took over the reigns to lead the Strathconas in the continuous task of force generating a tank squadron for every rotation into Afghanistan.