First in a series: 26898 NCdt (IV) Charles Grimshaw – 9 Squadron
Questions for leaders for next term
Since day one, I’ve been growing up with the Canadian Armed Forces. I have been very privileged to follow my parents to various postings around the world, which has taken me from the west coast of Canada to south-western Norway. I can’t tell you what exactly inspired me; maybe some combination of serving parents and siblings, the need to see the world, how slick the navy uniforms look, or some astrological alignment of the stars, but when I was accepted to the Royal Military College of Canada in 2013, I don’t think there was a happier person in Canada.
What is your most favourable memory of your time at RMCC?
I can only graze the surface. I’d be lying if I said I was a model cadet- if you want to see that, go check out Brucie. That being said, RMCC is a learning institution, and I learned a few lessons spearheading Class of 2017’s “Halfway-to-Grad” party. Logistically, it was a solid plan: we had rented out Fort Henry’s venue hall (beautiful vista, normally reserved for weddings), purchased beverages well in advance, signed an excellent DJ, and decorated the hall immaculately. Naïvely, looking over my efforts, I thought I could actually pull it off. But alas, they say no plan survives contact with the enemy. I’m sure this quote wasn’t talking about parties- nor do I consider my fellow cadets my enemies- but there I was the very next day, standing in the middle of a trashed venue after countless drunken young twenty-something year-old officer cadets had vigorously gone about their celebration of our time at RMCC. The venue manager had furiously called our commandant- at the time, Brigadier-General Meinzinger- to let him know about the conduct of the Class of 2017. Obviously, an investigation was launched, with me standing sheepishly at the epicentre. Notably, a potted plant had been stolen from the premises by one of my inebriated friends, who had affectionately given the plant the name “Delilah”, and had refused to part with it until much later that week. I spent the next few days writing several apology letters to various managers and officers, while collecting funds to pay for the $600 cleaning bill. With all that said and done, I still get congratulated from time-to-time for throwing a great party, with some of my fellow cadets asking, “Hey Grimshaw, when’s the three-quarters to grad party?” MGen Meinzinger, LCol Popov, Maj Hook- if you’re reading this, sorry about everything. I had good intentions, I promise.
What- in your opinion- makes a good leader?
I’m lucky to have some excellent leaders at arms-reach in 9 Squadron and C-Division. For me, I look at people when I think of what makes a good leader. I strive to emulate 2Lt Kyle Ryan’s (recent 9 SQN alumni!) approach to leadership, which is extremely interpersonal, but can switch to professional at the flip of a coin. Going up the chain, our fearless squadron commander Capt Crombach has unmatched devotion to his troops and remarkable work-ethic coupled with a keen attention to detail. Our division commander (and now the college chief instructor) Maj Trask, has given me more room than anyone to spread my wings than anyone else, despite being several leaps and bounds above me in the chain of command- I can’t write enough about him to do it justice. Lastly, LCol Grimshaw (the dad), Lt(N) (ret’d) Grimshaw (the mom), and Pvt Grimshaw (the middle brother), are compassionate, patient, and rational- all things I want to be.
What does Truth, Duty, Valour (TDV) mean to you?
As Gen (ret’d) Lawson would say, TDV is a real motto to hang your hat on. For me, the components are inseparable. Truth is honesty; for me, that’s always been completely owning up to your mistakes. As a person who makes a lot of mistakes, this one is important and is an essential part of the learning process. Duty is commitment; I like to think of it as “service before self”. Valour, perhaps the most intangible, is the glue that holds it all together- that secret sauce that makes us so special. Valour isn’t just Victoria Cross worthy sacrifice; I think it’s the day-to-day heroism that can manifest in the simplest, smallest good deeds that members of the Canadian Armed Forces are known for.
What makes your Squadron unique and/or special?
The thing that really puts 9 SQN on the map is spirit. I would like to say that it’s our in-your-face, glorious orange colour that really ignites the cadet wing, but if you scratch past that coat of paint, you have some truly amazing cadets that call Verchères squadron home. We do quite well in college events- maybe you caught 9’s own Warrior Flight catch second place in the obstacle course in 2015- but I digress. I am truly honoured to take the helm of Verchères in September 2016 with the help of an all-star team of cadets, notably my friend and colleague OCdt Tristan Blaikie beside me as the training officer. Go 9!
MOC: Naval Combat Systems Engineer (00344)
Program: Computer Engineering, Class of 2017