CENTENNIAL CLASS OF 1976/CLASSE DU CENTENAIRE 1976
À l’approche de l’entrée de notre promotion dans la Vieille Brigade, plusieurs souvenirs remontent à la surface. Je vais tenter d’en écrire quelques uns; certains en français, certains en anglais.
As the date of entry of our Class into the Old Brigade approaches, many memories resurface; I will try to write some of them – in French or in English.
DOGGY DAYS BEFORE JOINING THE WING
As recruit term continued, the end was finally in sight. Ex-Cadet weekend would be the end of Rook Camp and we would finally become “real” Officer-Cadets and not just Recruits. Of course, we would have to continue to run the square and march everywhere we went, but at least we could wear the regular College uniform: CSC pants with the red stripe, white shirts, battle blouse, and three-colour belt with the snake belt-buckle. During Rook Camp, we had to wear the old workdress uniforms that had been introduced into the CF a few years before; the ones that made you look like a gas-station attendant: dark green trousers and a green-ish shirt with long sleeves that we had to roll up above the elbow. Some of us were so skinny that our arms looked like spaghetti coming out of these shirts; yeah, real sharp!
The last day before Ex-Cadet Weekend, our seniors told us was to be Doggy-Day; what the heck might that be? Well, we found out it was a day when “good-natured hazing” would be allowed. I certainly felt it was good-natured, and no one that I know of was mistreated. The first thing we were told was that we were to march in the hallways with our arms swinging from straight above our heads, down to shoulder high. So you had these recruits marching through the halls with their arms up in the air swinging down as opposed to up. Then we had very minor infractions reported as “doggy-chits”; for example, CFL Hugh McEwen was glad to report on a doggy-chit that one recruit had “extraneous lines on his pit” and awarded him a number of “doggy-circles”.
The seniors came up with many simple competitions for us recruits and seemed to actually be enjoying themselves a lot – and we recruits also did. We were told that the method of reporting to seniors (the old “10966 Maisonneuve 3 Sqn G Flight reporting, Mr Wilcock!”) would remain, but instead of requesting permission to carry on at the end, we would ask for permission to…shall I say “do something else.” To which the senior would reply giving his permission and then both would dissolve in peals of laughter.
The day ended up being a welcome relaxation of the regulations and a fitting end to a period of mentorship and training by our seniors. At the start and throughout Rook Camp, it seemed as if joining the Wing officially would never happen, but here it finally was. No more gas-station attendant uniform, no more marching in hallways, and now to focus on academics…riiiight!
To be continued…
For previous articles in this series please see below. / Pour les articles précédents de cette série, voir ci-dessous.