The Tradition of the Ex-Cadet Reunion Weekend From the Eyes of a II Year
By: 25892 II NCdt Thomspon
Photo by 15378 Henry Litjens (CMR RMC 1986)
This year’s Ex-Cadet Reunion weekend once again provided an opportunity for the alumni and cadets to benefit from each others’ unique perspectives. In a weekend of post-FYOP confusion, initiation, sports, and parades, the ex-cadets, including new additions to the Old Brigade and the Commandant’s graduating year, returned to the College to reaffirm a long-standing tradition: the bond between past and future graduates.
The past and future graduates of the Royal Military College(s) share a sort of bond that, by the very structure of the college, is sustained and developed each year. Through strong association with the RMC Club, alumni continue to play a role in the development and growth of RMC even decades after graduation. One of the most visible manifestations of this involvement is the Ex-Cadet Reunion weekend. From the March Past of the Old Brigade to the Sports Competition, the Ex-Cadet Reunion Weekend essentially embodies the depth of the connection between past and present cadets.
In a way, the two groups, the past and future graduates, have become inseparable. The cadets look to the alumni for financial support, and perhaps for guidance, just as the alumni look hopefully towards the cadets as doorway into the “good old days” and a continuation and expansion of their RMC traditions. The result? They find in each other a common, inextricable thread: the RMC legacy.
Each Reunion Weekend they meet and they share stories; in essence, they seek familiar ground and they reminisce—and no, reminiscing is not just for the ex-cadets. First Year’s who recount FYOP will have in the alumni comrades to commiserate with as ex-cadets regale the First Years with their own indoctrination tales. Second, Third, and Fourth Years who swap anecdotes from basic training or trades training with ex-cadets will find common ground in the familiar, firm methods of behavioural correction employed on courses even to this day. Whether recalling their early military careers, or answering to the directions their education, trade, or career itself has taken them, ex-cadets present not only a wealth of information on life at RMC in years past, but also a perspective of how the RMC experience can shape a person’s life. In every scenario, the sharing, story-telling and nostalgia go both ways.
Both groups, from the other, seek knowledge. While the future graduates wonder what lies ahead and how to approach it, and the past graduates wonder what changes and challenges are facing their successors, and how the college experience has developed since they last walked the grounds. As the current Lady and Gentlemen Cadets of the Royal Military College of Canada, we are experiencing life at RMC, and are in the unique position of allowing the Old Brigade, and all ex-cadets, insight into life at the college—to grant an opportunity to relive, remember, and recount their RMC through experiencing ours.
This article first appeared in PRECISION – The student e-newspaper of RMC.
The Three Mountaineers
By: 25881 OCdt Anthony Matlock
When we told our families in September we would be climbing Mount Aconcagua, their first response was “why?”
Similarly, requesting special permissions from the military wing at RMC for our potential adventure required several explanatory memos and meetings.
Today, however, it is confirmed: myself, 25881 OCdt Anthony Matlock (Photo left) , 25388 OCdt Joseph Afonso (centre) , and 25730 OCdt Oliver Smith (right), will be climbing Mount Aconcagua in Argentina from 25th December to 15th January.
Why Aconcagua? At 6,962 metres, it is the tallest peak in the Western Hemisphere, and South America’s contribution to mountaineering enthusiasts’ Seven Summits, a collection of the tallest mountain on each continent (Everest, McKinley, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro, Carstensz, Vinson Massif and Aconcagua). Climbing the Seven Summits has been my lifelong goal — the fact that Joseph and Oliver agreed to form an expedition group with me speaks to their sense of adventure. However, in September, when our expedition group entered planning stages, our minimal mountaineering experience was a difficult factor for RMC staff to overcome. Nevertheless, by contracting civilian mountain guide INKA Expediciones in Argentina, and committing to a workout routine of ruck-marches and interval training, the military wing approved an extra week’s leave.
Our thanks go to Captain Price, 1 Squadron commander, and Major Bruic, A Division commander, for their belief in our ability to perform this expedition, and Lieutenant-Colonel Wigg, Director of Cadets, for approving our additional leave. A very special thanks must also go to Bill Oliver, editor of eVeritas, for his candid advice.
Our application for RMC Foundation funding denied this time around, at $6500 each, this trek is not cheap. However, this high cost is an investment in equipment and experience which we will use as we conquer the remaining six Summits during our careers in the CF. Of course we are already thinking about the next Summit, but these plans will have to wait until the new year: our focus is being at the top of the Western Hemisphere in six weeks time.
Brunch at the “B&B”
(Click on B&B photos for better viewing)
On Sunday (28 Nov) , after a bit of a hiatus due to scheduling, the smell of fresh ham, eggs and pancakes could be detected in the area of 6 Merritt Drive. In the first of two brunches over the next two weeks, the cadets took time from their studies to join the Commandant and “Mom” at the house for brunch.
As always, the incredible group made themselves at home and endeavoured to ensure that there were no leftovers. It was clear from the discussions that the mood around the College has definitely shifted to one of focus on finals coupled with anticipation of getting home ( or to the many sun filled destinations ) that the Cadets are heading off to for their Xmas breaks.
Good luck to the Wing on their important final exams – remember – heads down and studying for success – the R & R will come after!!
Feedback from I, II, III Years
I was given the honour of attending the “Commandant’s Brunch” on Sunday 28 November, 2010 at Commodore Truelove’s residence on RMC grounds.
The first thing that came to mind as I was welcomed at the door by our Commandant was an air of equality. We laid aside rank and were all as equals who were meeting to have a good meal and fellowship.
Commodore Truelove unselfishly offered us refreshments while he and his family cooked brunch for us in the kitchen. We mingled with the other guests, and then we were inviting into the living room where we were officially welcomed.
The Commandant expressed his desire for us to explore his home, as it is a treasure chest of historical facts related to the College. We were able to see first hand all of the rooms in the Commandant’s House, and from the pictures were able to see glimpses into historical events at RMC. We finished exploring the basement, and marvelled at how well built the house truly is. We were then invited to the dining room for a buffet style brunch. Pancakes, sausage, ham, hash-browns, eggs and muffins were among the delicious dishes served. There was more than enough food to go around, and no one was left wanting more.
The Commandant and his family made an attempt to chat with every guest, and were constantly thinking about making our experience as guests as rewarding as possible. The family dog even managed to greet many guests, making many new friends.
I extremely enjoyed having the pleasure of attending the “Commandant’s Brunch,” and am looking forward to brunches to come.
26018 I Year, NCdt David Gordon
I was given the pleasure of attending the “Commandant’s Brunch” created by Commodore Truelove and his family with many other fellow officer cadets. Upon entering the house, you lose the sense of rank and year and only an ambiance of guest and host as a replacement.
This event clearly displays its values as the Commandant himself, welcomes everyone into his household for a bright and open afternoon brunch with his family. The grand wood floors and full size piano only act as starters to the art, music, and history you’ll find yourself involved with.
After acquiring either coffee or juice, the “kick back and relax” mentality is reinforced by the Commandant as he wraps on his apron and finishes up the brunch that he and his family have already started preparing.
The Commandant furthermore encouraged us to let our curiosity go wild and learn the history of the building both upstairs and in the basement. After thoroughly examining the building many questions about the college are provided like the old basement cell and how the commandant’s office was originally the maid’s room. We also held a little match of bowling within the house which turned into a lively new experience for many of us to enjoy.
With regards to the brunch, well it can only be described as delicious; hash browns, eggs, ham, sausage, and fruit with chocolate and carrot muffins as well for dessert. It was perfect way none the less in handling the Sunday morning.
Overall, The Brunch proved to be an enjoyable way which resulted with many people coming back more then once to this festive event.
25319 II Year, OCdt Justin Gillis
This Sunday, the 28th of November, I had the great fortune, for the third time in two years, to attend the Commandant’s Brunch. A tradition since his appointment as RMC’s Commandant, these brunches open the doors of the Commandant’s House to roughly thirty officer cadets every brunch. This gives us the rare opportunity to explore (in the Commandant’s words ‘Be nosey’) the house; an opportunity that few would otherwise have. It can certainly be said that the interior is much more extensive than the outside would let on. Cadets, with the smell of cooking pancakes and eggs pervading the air, spent the first bit of the brunch exploring, oft searching for the fabled bowling alley (to this date I have yet to find it), and taking in a major piece of the College’s history. Cooked by the Commandant and his family, the brunch is a real treat: a selection of pancakes, sausage, ham, scrambled eggs, muffins, and fruit, all washed down with fresh coffee and juice.
The brunch gives Cadets a chance to talk to the Commandant on an informal basis, as well as connect with others in the wing, who they normally would not get the chance to speak to. First years and fourth year barmen alike were present, enjoying the atmosphere, the food, and the company of the Commandant’s dog, who is, as has been said, everyone’s best friend for the day. All in all, the brunch was a great success, and enjoyed by all. As my third such brunch, I can definitely say the experience never grows old, and I hope for the opportunity to attend more in the future.
25489 III Year, NCdt Chris Sulyma