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Jerry Amernic: The downfall of Canada’s military

GK .Dundas

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I recall a joyless discussion with a CO who had invested thousands in gear for a regimental kit store, based in the armoury, and who was angry that we hadn't sold anything.

I asked him if he rememebered the civvy he threw out of the armoury, in a very rude fashion, the week before.

'How did you know about that?" he asked me.

I replied "He's a client of mine and told me about it. He's a retired Deputy Minister, who used to be a regimental UOTP Officer, and was in here looking for a regimental tie when you kicked him out."

The local CANEX now sells our regimental t-shirts etc.
I


OUCH !!!!!
Chairman Pogo strikes again as in "We have met the enemy and he is us."
We should also consider in the insanely and unlikely event we ever grow up and actually consider expanding our reserve forces. That it might be an idea to build rural armouries as a well as urban ones.
The answer to a lot of the of our problems is simple ,community .
We have to stop hiding from our fellow citizens. It is time we reached out.
 

Furniture

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An 18 year old may not own a car. Most don't. Like said earlier I remember seeing members in uniform on the bus going to the downtown armoury. Thought wow that looks cool.
It's not so much fun having a bus full of people stare at you because you're in uniform... People go back and forth to work in civies to avoid being a spectacle.
 

Spencer100

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An 18 year old may not own a car. Most don't. Like said earlier I remember seeing members in uniform on the bus going to the downtown armoury. Thought wow that looks cool.
And to add insult to it. The newer armoury is not a bus route now. Wonder why it's hard to get people to join?
 

Blackadder1916

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Who was the local MP when it was built? Call me cynical…


He probably didn't have to work too hard convincing the government of the day to build that bog standard RCAF hanger at the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan station in 1942. 🙄

Okay, that was sarcasm. But sometime after RCAF Station Lethbridge closed in 1945/6, the local Militia units took it over as an armoury (it was known as Kenyon Armoury in the 1960s and 1970s - the Lethbridge airport was called Kenyon Field). When 18th AD Regt was stood up in Lethbridge as a total force unit, the armoury was expanded and updated in 1993/4 to accommodate the new role and the number of incoming Reg Force pers (including a CO). When that experiment ended, the facilities remained.
 
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Kirkhill

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He probably didn't have to work too hard convincing the government of the day to build that bog standard RCAF hanger at the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan station in 1942. 🙄

Okay, that was sarcasm. But sometime after RCAF Station Lethbridge closed in 1945/6, the local Militia units took it over as an armoury (it was known as Kenyon Armoury in the 1960s and 1970s - the Lethbridge airport was called Kenyon Field). When 18th AD Regt was stood up in Lethbridge as a total force unit, the armoury was expanded and updated in 1993/4 to accommodate the new role and the number of incoming Reg Force pers (including a CO). When that experiment ended, the facilities remained.

1658700479228.png

When I moved to Lethbridge the first time, in 1982, the airfield looked closer to this than it does in Blackadder's picture. A building like this was the armoury.
 

Kilted

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An 18 year old may not own a car. Most don't. Like said earlier I remember seeing members in uniform on the bus going to the downtown armoury. Thought wow that looks cool.
I'm not sure how many people still wear uniforms on public transit, I know I don't. I enjoy not being stared at and the constant stupid questions from various people. I think that some units may still have a policy against it, perhaps left over from the Ottawa shooting. I know one Toronto unit that required (they may still do this) that their soldiers take a cab to and from the armoury any time they have to bring in their rucksack, and from my understanding, they weren't reimbursed for it.
 

daftandbarmy

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I


OUCH !!!!!
Chairman Pogo strikes again as in "We have met the enemy and he is us."
We should also consider in the insanely and unlikely event we ever grow up and actually consider expanding our reserve forces. That it might be an idea to build rural armouries as a well as urban ones.
The answer to a lot of the of our problems is simple ,community .
We have to stop hiding from our fellow citizens. It is time we reached out.

To be fair to Reserve Units, they have no formal mandate and little capacity, training or skills to 'reach out' apart from limited recruiting efforts, marching in Remembrance Day parades and a few other small scale efforts. I was always impressed at the levels of interest the public had in us, which I usually discovered by accident when bumping into various civilians while wearing DEU at Rememebrance Day for example. We just can't effectively 'leverage the brand' as it were.

Also, increasingly, it seems that the senior ranks of many Reserve units are staffed with people who have few community connections, unlike past years when militia leaders were also leaders in the community in a variety of professions. 'Twice the citizen' is a myth, more often than not, and is now more like 'One and half times the part time soldier'.

Even when we had the mandate to 'Connect with Canadians' a few years ago we fumbled along in a half hearted, inept way with under attended, poorly funded and resourced open houses, and ill planned and executed social events. It's clear that the main medium for communicating with the public these days is via social media platforms, which we continually fail to do consistently or effectively.

As always, if we expect a certain 'effect' we need to invest in the capability.
 

dapaterson

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Issuing an order in early August to conduct an Open House in mid September is gross incompetence on the part of multiple HHQs. Giving units an Army level order and telling them to work it out - ditto.
 

Brad Sallows

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it seems that the senior ranks of many Reserve units are staffed with people who have few community connections, unlike past years when militia leaders were also leaders in the community in a variety of professions.

Mostly seem to be a lot of people with public service jobs, thus contracts which provide ample vacation (training) time and/or leave provisions. It'd be worth finding out what the breakdown of full-time occupations is.
 

Fishbone Jones

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We started with this. The Maj F Tilston VC Armoury. In the middle of downtown. Our vehicles were stored outside the city at the airport. The annex floor was pressed, oiled sand. Uninsulated. Hot in the summer, cold in the winter. Extraordinarily expensive. No locker areas, no troop rooms. Inadequate ablution areas. No ranges. I started in this armoury in 1968. When we left in 2004 there had been very little change. A new combined OR. That was it. 21_big.png

This building ended up with the UofW School of Creative Arts.



To this. Major F Tilston, VC, Armoury and Police Training Centre. We have use of the Indoor Police range. They have a 100 yard state of the art outdoor range that DND won't let the military use. They fire up to .50 sniper rifles on that range and DND won't let us fire 5.56. There is a kill house and a rappel tower we can use. We have a proper vehicle compound. Each unit has its own lines including our band room. Locker room and full kitchen facilities. It is city owned. All repairs, upgrades, utilities are taken care of by the city. Our lease is way below what it used to cost for the old place. It was nothing but a win
th (4).png

Here you can see the old HMCS Hunter and skip ahead to the new one at 10:50. The old building used to cost over $1.000.000/ year. They are now out of downtown and on the water,where they belong

None of this is rocket science. None of it was a hard sell. Everyone came away satisfied with everyone feeling a winner. The City is happy with the 3,000 new students downtown. The units made out like bandits. The University is happy to have new digs. And Veterans have a nice modern building with access for them. There are no stairs in the building. We have better facilities, training aids and a better location with immediate access to the highway system and just around the corner from the new bridge to the States where the unit goes to train. Their camps are closer and cheaper than any Canadian training centres. A full barracks for a weekend cost $100 bucks. It worked because the negotiators were able to bring everyone to the table and left each other satisfied. It cost DND way less than if they'd tried going it alone. You just need Ottawa to make a decision, agree to it, and honour their position. Almost everything done to accomplish these moves, was done by local entities working together and presenting a united front to Ottawa. It would not have happened if it was all left to NDHQ.
 
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Good2Golf

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Tim Hortons tears down and rebuilds most outlets every 8-10 years, because it is literally cheaper to demolish and build to new standards in that cycle than to keep older infrastructure limping along. I watched on in particular torn down and replaced with what looked like a spitting image of the original…but clearly more efficient enough to justify the CAPEX of the new building.

I predict that DND/IE/RP Ops will never be able to get their head around the business case logic of modern infrastructure management.
 

lenaitch

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Definitely outdoor ranges. I've also played around with the notion of "public" ranges - as a training and recruiting tool.

As to transportation - if troops have to take transit into the downtown to get to the armouries does that mean that they live in suburbia - closer to potential ranges and areas where there is a more supportive population?
Every municipality would be different. I have no first hand knowledge of any armoury, just knowing where they are situated in Toronto; two are right downtown. Without knowing the actual catchment of each of the resident units, I can only suspect that the members would travel a fair distance. Even if not 'suburbia', the City itself is a big place.

Given the sprawl of the GTA, where they could locate an outdoor range would be quite far afield. I'm not sure there is a direct line from 'supportive of an armoury '(or supportive of the military) and 'supportive of having a range within earshot'.

I get the concern or discomfort of travelling on public transit in uniform. It seems like a spiral; the more the military is divorced from large urban areas, the more of a 'novelty' it becomes. From what little I have seen, members in uniform out and about on the street in Ottawa is not that uncommon.
 

FJAG

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Every municipality would be different. I have no first hand knowledge of any armoury, just knowing where they are situated in Toronto; two are right downtown. Without knowing the actual catchment of each of the resident units, I can only suspect that the members would travel a fair distance. Even if not 'suburbia', the City itself is a big place.

Given the sprawl of the GTA, where they could locate an outdoor range would be quite far afield. I'm not sure there is a direct line from 'supportive of an armoury '(or supportive of the military) and 'supportive of having a range within earshot'.

I get the concern or discomfort of travelling on public transit in uniform. It seems like a spiral; the more the military is divorced from large urban areas, the more of a 'novelty' it becomes. From what little I have seen, members in uniform out and about on the street in Ottawa is not that uncommon.
Started my career going to and from one of those downtown armouries in Toronto from Scarborough using a bus, a streetcar, a subway and another street car each way in my uniform sitting upright and making sure my battledress blanco'd belt and white lanyard didn't touch the seat and thereby turn black. Ended my career 44 years later taking the No 95 bus to and from work in Ottawa wearing mostly S3Bs. Never felt uncomfortable for a moment. Felt proud from beginning to end.

The problem isn't the civvies attitude; its the soldier's. You need to have pride in what you are and what you do and the uniform you wear.

We do have to look closely at the locations of armouries. I'm not sure where we get our biggest per capita return on personnel; big cities or smaller ones with a more rural community close by. At a guess I'd say the latter probably as big cities seem to be underperformers. We need to aggressively address that. Most big city armouries seem to be hamstrung by lack of real estate and the interior facilities to cater to new training simulation capabilities, vehicle storage and maintenance facilities not to mention proper office and lecture rooms. Having four units cheek to jowl (even undersized ones) is very limiting.

Back in the 1950s when we expanded the RegF we created numerous "model" battalion/regimental facilities; barrack blocks, messes, headquarters, stores, etc. We could use a "model" armoury with a "model" real estate footprint to cater for current needs as well as reasonable space for future expansions (hence a real estate footprint). IMHO most of these should be for separate company level facilities with one in four or five being a company plus a battalion/regimental headquarters cell and widely dispersed around the cities. These could also be used as the pattern for a single armoury in a smaller community.

🍻
 

markppcli

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The solution for travelling in uniform, I personally always avoided it myself, is to have adequate locker facilities in the reserve armouries, similar to a regular force unit lines. I have very little of my equipment at home and see no reason why that should be different for a reserve force soldier. Plus it makes it much easier if they ever got NES…
 

daftandbarmy

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The solution for travelling in uniform, I personally always avoided it myself, is to have adequate locker facilities in the reserve armouries, similar to a regular force unit lines. I have very little of my equipment at home and see no reason why that should be different for a reserve force soldier. Plus it makes it much easier if they ever got NES…

And if there's an earthquake and your building collapases, or the 1915 era facility (heaven forbid) burns down, your troops can deploy in blue jeans ;)
 

lenaitch

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Started my career going to and from one of those downtown armouries in Toronto from Scarborough using a bus, a streetcar, a subway and another street car each way in my uniform sitting upright and making sure my battledress blanco'd belt and white lanyard didn't touch the seat and thereby turn black. Ended my career 44 years later taking the No 95 bus to and from work in Ottawa wearing mostly S3Bs. Never felt uncomfortable for a moment. Felt proud from beginning to end.

The problem isn't the civvies attitude; its the soldier's. You need to have pride in what you are and what you do and the uniform you wear.

We do have to look closely at the locations of armouries. I'm not sure where we get our biggest per capita return on personnel; big cities or smaller ones with a more rural community close by. At a guess I'd say the latter probably as big cities seem to be underperformers. We need to aggressively address that. Most big city armouries seem to be hamstrung by lack of real estate and the interior facilities to cater to new training simulation capabilities, vehicle storage and maintenance facilities not to mention proper office and lecture rooms. Having four units cheek to jowl (even undersized ones) is very limiting.

Back in the 1950s when we expanded the RegF we created numerous "model" battalion/regimental facilities; barrack blocks, messes, headquarters, stores, etc. We could use a "model" armoury with a "model" real estate footprint to cater for current needs as well as reasonable space for future expansions (hence a real estate footprint). IMHO most of these should be for separate company level facilities with one in four or five being a company plus a battalion/regimental headquarters cell and widely dispersed around the cities. These could also be used as the pattern for a single armoury in a smaller community.

🍻
I agree. People may stare at you. So what. It's probably a little different than law enforcement where people tut-tut if you don't sproing into action to take down that heinous miscreant that dropped a gum wrapper.

It's a city thing. Half of my non-headquarters postings I walked to work; the others I drove, but always in uniform. Lockers? We were lucky to get a desk drawer and, if really lucky, one with a lock and they found a key.
 
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