Change of Command at The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery School (RCAS)
By Captain Nicholas Kaempffer
On the 7th of July 2017, Gunners from across Canada converged on Base Gagetown, to witness a change of command parade between the outgoing and incoming Commandant of the RCAS. In a ceremony presided over by Colonel (Col) John Errington, the Commander of the Combat Training Centre (CTC), Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Nickolas Roby assumed command from LCol Vincent Giroux, who had served as the Commandant of the RCAS for two years. Notable “Great Gunners” in attendance were the Colonel Commandant of The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery (RCA), Brigadier-General (ret’d) James Selbie, along with the Director of Artillery, Colonel Marc Lafortune (himself a former Commandant of the RCAS).
The change of command parade was certainly a moment where the axiom of “practice makes perfect” was visibly evident, as two Batteries of soldiers from the RCAS completed flawless drill, demonstrating obvious “Gunner Pride” to all those spectating. During a very emotional speech, LCol Giroux gave thanks to all members of the RCAS, the senior leadership of CTC and the RCA, and concluded with heartfelt comments to his parents, wife, and children, all of whom were in attendance. Col Errington thanked LCol Giroux for his considerable efforts towards Artillery digitalization, and his dedication to the greater Gagetown community, as the RCAS continued its frontrunner status with Unit donations to the United Way of Canada. The Colonel Commandant extended the gratitude of the RCA to LCol Giroux, noting that the very highest of standards had been set and maintained during the provision of individual training during his command, and highlighted his efforts as Deputy Director of Artillery. Both Col Errington and the Colonel Commandant extended a hearty welcome to the Roby family, wishing them all the best in their return to New Brunswick. In his introductory speech to the RCAS, LCol Roby promised to uphold the high standard set by his predecessors, and assured his Unit that their welfare was his foremost priority. In stirring praise to those on parade, all of the senior officers extended their gratitude and respect to all members of the RCAS for their outstanding drill, dress, and deportment.
With strong New Brunswick roots, LCol Roby and his family are excited to be back in Base Gagetown. As a former Cadet (of both the 2550 Cherry Mountain Army Cadet Corps in Harvey, NB and the 2647 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corp in Oromocto, NB), a graduate of both Oromocto High School and St. Thomas University, and an officer with multiple postings and international deployments, he is looking forward to the challenge of commanding Canada’s world-class centre of excellence for Artillery. “The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery School is well recognized for delivering second-to-none instruction as we enable operational excellence across Artillery functions,” stated LCol Roby. “Without the excellent contributions of the great women and men of the RCAS, comprised of Regular and Reserve force members along with our civilian colleagues, we would not be able to meet our individual training and functional centre of excellence objectives. Our soldiers provide the best, and they deserve no less- that is my goal. We will continue to do our part in developing key enablers that are employed throughout the Canadian Armed Forces, of which many are deployed abroad today. The Gunners of the RCAS remain Army strong, proud and ready”.
Currently, Gunners at the RCAS are working in “high gear,” with a busy summer schedule focused on training Officers and Non-Commissioned Members on all four streams of Artillery (Field Artillery, Observation Post, Air Defence, and Surveillance Target Acquisition, along with Joint Terminal Attack Controller). All are looking forward to a well-earned and deserved summer block leave with their friends and families, so they can rest and recharge for the fall training cycle.