General Vance salutes troops

CDS and CAF CWO 4 Wing Visit

Captain Derek Walter, 1 Air Maintenance Squadron Logistics Officer calls for the Honor Guard to “Present Arms” to the Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance after arriving at 4 Wing Cold Lake on April 16.
Photo: AB Justin Spinello

Cliff Kenyon

Family may be the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the Canadian Armed Forces, Chief of Defence Staff General (Gen.) Johnathan Vance said Tuesday during a visit to 4 Wing Cold Lake.

“We can’t have a military that is capable without factoring in the need for families to be solid,” Vance told The Courier in an interview. “Strong families are an integral part of military capability.”

He said family members buy into life in the military and they are patriotic “not in the gingham and apple pie kind of way. It’s deeper than that.”

“It’s a scary sport we’re in,” he said. “They (family members) do it because they love us and we must love them right back. They put up with a great deal.”

He said society is changing all the time and military leaders must find ways to attract and retain members through a variety of initiatives. Some efforts include helping find employment on bases for spouses. It can include finding ways to “level the field” when a family is posted to a location where housing prices may be substantially higher.

He said that during the 1960s most military families lived on bases in subsidized housing. That has changed with many living in communities where they are posted. That brings new challenges such as the need for dual incomes and integrating more into society. Families may be at peril as they struggle with such factors as huge differences in the cost of living near some bases.

“The institutional leadership must address these issues and we are doing all we can” Vance said so that military families can be a part of the communities in which they live and not feel “disadvantaged.”

“I think we are making progress,” said Vance in efforts to improve family life for members.

Vance, based in Ottawa, made the one-day visit to 4 Wing to tour facilities as well as chat with members and hear their concerns at town hall meetings.
“It’s very important that we thank members every day for the things they do.”

He says we can never dismiss the need for a motivated armed forces. About 3,000 troops are currently deployed world wide.

“It’s a serious world we live in. We have to be ready for anything. This is an important strategic base in the world.”

He said Canada’s goal is to keep the world as stable as possible.

“We are the good guys. We will intervene with strength if necessary to restore stability. We are willing to fight for it any day – freedom.”

Vance offered tips to members aspiring to leadership roles in the military.

“Know your craft and take care of your people,” he said. “With those two ingredients it then depends on whether people will follow you. Provide a good example. Many things can be trained.”

CDS and CAF CWO 4 Wing Visit

Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance (right) shakes hands with Aviator (Trained) Kirandeep Braich, an Aviation Systems Technician from 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron during a wing visit to 4 Wing Cold Lake.
Photo: AB Justin Spinello

CDS and CAF CWO 4 Wing Visit

Master Corporal Andrew Craig (right), an Aviation Systems Technician with Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment, asks the Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance (second from the left) and Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer (CWO), CWO Alain Guimond (left) a question during a Junior Non-Commissioned member town hall in Club 41 during a wing visit to 4 Wing Cold Lake on April 16.
Photo: AB Justin Spinello