Change of the Colonel of the Regiment Parade
By: Captain Graham Kallos
11 August 2010
With steady hand and heavy heart, Colonel John Roderick returned his final salute as Colonel of the Regiment while being honoured with a Regimental Roll Past. Serving from 2006 – 2010, Col Roderick was charged with fostering the Esprit de Corps throughout the Regiment, acting as an advisor to NDHQ on matters significant to the Regiment, enabling relations between reserve and regular force elements and liaising with affiliated formations and units. In addition to his primary roles, Colonel Roderick took it upon himself to donate many hours of his personal time to teaching the Subalterns of the Regiment his time-honoured techniques for sampling all forms of fermented fruit and grain.
With the Old Guard in attendance for Reunion Weekend 2010, the Change of the Colonel of the Regiment Parade was destined from the outset to be an event full of emotion. Such emotion was displayed early on in the parade when the Master of Ceremonies, Captain Graham Kallos, experienced first-hand that the ‘Warrior Spirit’ was still raging in the hearts of the Old Guard when a Lynch-Mob led by Colonel Greg Hug threatened to string him up following a rigorous round of sitting and standing as the VIPs were escorted onto the parade.
Following an inspection of the Old Guard and the Regiment by the Reviewing Officer and Colonel Commandant Major-General Clive Addy, Colonel Roderick presented Colonel Greg Hug the Colonel of the Regiment’s Commendation for his stalwart work on the Association’s behalf while living in Ontario. Colonel Roderick also presented two deserving members of the Regimental Family with the Colonel in Chief’s Commendation. This award is presented to Strathcona’s who are to be recognized within the Regimental Family as having provided exceptional service and selfless dedication in the interests of the Regiment and whose longstanding conspicuous commitment and perseverance have provided great benefit to the Regiment and a lasting contribution to its objectives. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales awards and signs the Commendation on the recommendation of the Colonel of the Regiment. Colonel Roderick presented Lieutenant-Colonel Geoff (Doc) Jamieson the Colonel in Chief Commendation on behalf of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales for his artistic contributions to the Regiment over the years. Warrant Officer Dave Cathcart was presented the Colonel in Chief Commendation in recognition of his countless and selfless hours dedicated to visiting Association members who have been hospitalized or placed in extended-care facilities.
As a parting gift to the Regiment, Colonel Roderick presented “The Olympic Torch Trophy”, which will be awarded annually on the Moreuil Wood parade to a member of the Regiment who best displays personal achievement or leadership in sports in keeping with the traditional Olympic spirit of “mutual understanding and the spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play”. The trophy is a replica of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games Torches, which were used to carry the Olympic Flame from Athens to Vancouver on a 106 day journey across Canada from sea to sea to sea and it is symbolic of the Regiment’s contribution to the security of the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
Following the presentation of commendations, Major-General Addy presented Colonel Roderick and Major-General Cam Ross with scrolls signed by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, signifying the official change of the Colonels of the Regiment. Upon receiving the customary Ceremonial Officer Statuette in recognition of his service as the Colonel of the Regiment, Colonel Roderick informed the parade that his cunning plan to stock up on the statuettes during his tenure as the Commanding Officer from 1981-1983 had finally paid off.
With the official ceremony over, Major-General Ross’ inaugural speech touched the hearts of all those present on the parade. Rather than using words alone, he pulled members of the crowd onto the parade square in order to demonstrate how the Regimental Family Support network both exists and functions as a tangible entity to serve both the soldiers and their families. Every soldier at the parade, both currently and formerly serving, was able to immediately understand that neither they, nor their families, stand alone in the Strathcona Family.
Following a presentation of restored and formerly serving vehicles from the Regimental Historical Vehicle Troop, the Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Trevor Cadieu lead a Regimental Roll Past and Feu de Joie. Following the explosive finale to the parade, everyone in attendance retired to the Regimental lines for refreshments, food and a chance to climb on any number of static displays on presentation in front of the Harvey Building and watch the Strathcona Mounted Troop perform the Musical Ride.
With the Change of the Colonel of the Regiment ceremonies complete, all Strathcona’s look forward to Major General Cam Ross’ tenure as the new Colonel of the Regiment, with the Subalterns being especially eager to show the new Colonel of the Regiment all that they have learned form Colonel Roderick’s ‘Professional Development’ sessions.
Other events featured during Reunion Weekend were a golf tournament, a Meet & Greet, featuring a silent auction, a mixed Dinner & Dance at the River Cree Hotel and Casino, and a memorial service complete with a vigil party led by Warrant Officer Duane Wallis to commemorate the lives of fallen Strathconas. All events were extremely well attended during the Reunion Weekend, helping to strengthen existing relationships and forge new ones within the Strathcona Family.