Falcon Head

Message from the COMMANDING OFFICER

Greetings Highlanders –

We’re now four weeks into our weekly blog, and we’ve had blogs written by the HCol, the Regimental Association, and our Veteran’s Care Rep.  Upcoming you’ll see blogs from the 15th Bn Project Team, the RSM, the Padre and a few more.  We aim to have a number of contributors that provide updates and information on the diverse aspects of our Regiment and the equally diverse interests of you.

LCol Alkema

With Toronto and Peel moving from the Emergency Stay at Home Order to ‘Grey’, we will resume limited in-person training at MPA.  This isn’t a return to normal, rather it includes a combination of virtual and in-person training ensuring that PPE and FHPMs are rigidly applied and enforced, but it will allow Highlanders to get back to soldier skills training with weapons and other equipment.  This could change again, depending on outbreaks and infection rates, but it is a step in the right direction, and the risks should lessen as more of the population gets vaccinated, and more time is spent outdoors as the weather gets better.  You can do your part by continuing to wear your PPE, following the PHMs of distancing and handwashing, and by not getting together with people outside your immediate family group.

The Regiment traditionally conducts the Act of Remembrance Parade at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at the end of April. With COVID, we had to do this virtually last year, and will be doing so again this year.  We won’t be doing a rinse and repeat, and intend to focus more on why this tradition and event is important to us.  More to follow on this next month.

You’ve read about the Ruck March Challenge, or seen about it on Facebook and Instagram.  This idea was developed by Lt Fernandes; and commemorates the journey of the 15th Bn after the Armistice was signed.  As part of the British Army of Occupation, they marched in excess of 350km between 13 Nov 1918 and 09 May 1919.  Soldiers were challenged to march the same distance carrying a 50lb rucksack as part of their Pl Team with the goal of building camaraderie, fitness and teamwork.  So far, over 90 individuals from the Regiment – serving soldiers, former soldiers and Cadets are participating.

This event has resonated with the soldiers, even soldiers from other Units.  To date, five other Units have decided to institute their own version of the ruck march challenge.   And just this past week we have been challenged to a 7-Day Ruck March Challenge by the Lincoln & Welland Regiment.  The competition will be a straight up total distance marched between Mon 05 Apr – Sun 11 Apr.  The same rules apply – 50lb rucksack / day pack, and distance tracked by STRAVA.  I encourage all of you to help get the word out to your soldiers and fire team partners to stretch out, limber up and get ready to ruck march that week so that we will march further than the Linc & Weld R.  

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say “Welcome Home” to Captain Vince Laurella who has just returned from Op IMPACT.  He’ll return to work with the Regiment in early June following his isolation and leave.  And at the same time, we wish the best to Capt Lawrence Blake who will be deploying on operations at the end of the month.

Lastly – I know that this past year has been challenging to so many, and has impacted everyone.  Two quick messages:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or take a knee.  There is no shame in this, in fact the Army is the biggest team in the Nation.  We teach and constantly reinforce teamwork – fire teams, crew served weapons, vehicle crews, cut-off teams – I could go on, but you get the point.  We are a family and a Regiment, and we will do what we can to support each other.  This goes for both serving members and for former members; and 
  • I am impressed and proud of each and every one of you.  NCOs and officers have found new ways to lead and look after soldiers.  Soldiers have adapted to new and different ways to train.  The Regimental Family has had to change as well – parades and events were cancelled or adapted.  Communications and organizations had to adapt.  And through it all, the Regiment and the Regimental Family met all tasks and challenges, and has remained true to the Regimental motto: DILEAS GU BRATH, Faithful Forever.  Thank you all for your work, effort and support.

And on that note, I’ll sign off the net.  Stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive – but test negative.


DILEAS GU BRATH

Niner – Out

R.A. Alkema

LCol

CO