25149 Andrew Steel (2012): Life after RMC
(Another in a series of articles coordinated by 26659 Danielle Andela – e-Veritas Lead Correspondent)
I graduated from RMC in May 2012 with a BSc and a proud member of 9 Sqn. Upon graduation I was posted to the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering to complete over a year’s worth of military engineer training. Between BMOQ-L and DP 1, I completed an enlightening eight month OJT in a Squadron Operations position at 2 Combat Engineer Regiment (2 CER) in Petawawa, On.
Upon completion of my occupational qualification courses in 2014 I was posted back to 2 CER and, in May 2015, assumed command of 1 Troop, 23 Field Squadron. In August 2015, I deployed on Roto 0 of Operation UNIFIER to the Ukraine as the Engineer Troop Commander and engineer advisor to Charles Company (C Coy), 1 RCR. The purpose of our mission was to conduct force capacity building with the Ukrainian military.
Since my time at RMC, I have been fortunate to fill many roles throughout the Army including a Board of Inquiry, Engineer liaison officer in an Intelligence headquarters, fire fighter and PLQ course Officer. I have consistently been reminded that whether it be in your trade or in many other positions you may be required to fill, it is difficult to be good at everything. Thankfully the CAF employs occupational experts, NCOs; they have the career knowledge and the time in the job to help you with whatever your current task is. I implore you to head their advice and ask when you are unsure but always remember that the final decision rests with you; and you must be prepared to live with the consequences, both good and bad.
While in school my top priorities were working out and swimming, needless to say I spent most of my first three years just scraping by. Thankfully I pulled up my socks in my forth year and earned fairly respectable grades. There are great opportunities, especially as an engineer, which will be closed to you without strong university marks. With that in mind, take the time to figure out the officer you want to be while you are still in school. You may choose to be in the operational stream or a more technical/ academic one, either way strong marks now will keep possibilities open in your future.
My advice to you is to use your remaining time at school to ask questions and remember the answers because once you are commissioned you will be called upon to lead soldiers and their welfare rests with you. You aren’t expected to be perfect, but you must set the example and earn the trust of your soldiers. Integrity, empathy, competence and professionalism will be the tools you must strive to master. In four years, you may be asked to write an article for the next generation of cadets. You should be deciding now how it will read. What will your article say?