By Sara White
Colonel Mark Larsen, Director Air Reserve at Royal Canadian Air Force headquarters in Ottawa, congratulated and encouraged graduates from the RCAF Reserve Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) course during their final parade on August 10, 2018.
Twenty new Canadian Armed Forces members were part of BMQ Serial 0283, an RCAF Reserve-specific BMQ, which was offered for the first time at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Detachment Aldershot, near Kentville, Nova Scotia.
Every recruit who joined the program graduated at the end of the 10 weeks of training. Course candidates came from across Canada, ranging in age from 18 to 51. The top candidate was Aviator Matthew Jamieson, top shot was Aviator Angela Chenier and the peer award went to Aviator Kent Gilroy.
“This is a tremendous showing on the parade square,” Colonel Larsen told the graduates during the graduation parade.
“This has been a great experience: you have been the first solely RCAF course outside of the Canadian Armed Force recruit school in about 20 years, and that’s a significant event. You have done well, your staff have led and Camp Aldershot has hosted. We are expanding our direct intake of Reservists.”
The RCAF’s Regular Force and Reserve Force candidates traditionally take their BMQ at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean, Quebec, which can train about 5,000 people a year. That’s not enough to meet current RCAF recruitment goals, however. Therefore, the RCAF tested running its own Reserve Force BMQ, with instructors coming from nearby 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia, and its lodger units.
Colonel Larsen welcomed the new graduates into the RCAF “family”.
“We have each other’s back. We are a busy family, engaged in operations at home with air sovereignty and NORAD, and many missions abroad. You will be trained, and called upon to do things in service to your country; you will be continue to be challenged in support of those operations.
“This marks the start of a great adventure.
“Instructors have pushed you to the limits – and past those limits; all with a focus on teamwork, on being a family, and integrating with the informal family that is the CAF.”
Colonel Larsen also congratulated the BMQ’s command team and instructors, and Camp Aldershot for hosting the BMQ.