CWO Nault ready for new adventure

remi nault
Photo: Cliff Kenyon

Cliff Kenyon

4 Wing CWO Remi Nault is looking forward to a bitter sweet moment later this week.

That’s when he gives up his position as Chief Warrant Officer at 4 Wing Cold Lake, a post he has held for three years, to embark on a new challenge in his military career.

“Part of me is sad, to be taking the chief’s ranks off,” Nault told the Courier in an interview. “But another part of me is glad that it is done. I am proud of what I did, but I’m now ready to turn the page.”

4 Wing Commanding Officer Col Dave Moar, who became Wing Commander last year, praised Nault who he said has been a good advisor and friend.

“I’m certainly of two minds regarding the departure of CWO Remi Nault. We are losing an outstanding Chief Warrant Officer who has worked for three hard years to support the members of 4 Wing,” said Moar.

“He has been my closest advisor and a good friend throughout my first year of command. CWO Nault has never been afraid to speak his mind, especially when he feels that the Wing could be doing a better job for our members and their families. For that he will always have my respect.”

Because being a CWO is such a demanding job, it is a position that is an assignment limited to three years.

“It’s a job that takes seven days a week,” said Nault. “You never stop thinking about it. There is always something to solve or resolve or make better. I will miss that part, but it takes a toll over three years. You are always in the spotlight.”

Nault will be leaving Cold Lake next week to take up a new military position in Ottawa.

“Remi has sacrificed three years to 4 Wing during which he has lived away from his family,” said Moar. “I’m really excited to see him reunited with his family in Ottawa and I know that they are looking forward to seeing him home again.”

“Although Remi’s service at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer is coming to an end, he has been invited to stay in the CAF and continue to serve as an officer. Under the Special Requirements Commissioning Plan CWO Nault will be promoted to Major this summer and will start a new job at the Directorate of Defence Programme Coordination,” said Moar.

“I’m not sure it will be as much fun as being a Wing Chief, but he’s going to appreciate being home!”

Even after three years as CWO, Nault said he finds it hard to describe just what the job is all about.

“It takes about a year to learn and be comfortable with it,” he says.
The role of the CWO, perhaps more than anything else, is to be the eye and ears of the Wing Commander and the Wing leadership. The CWO works with and assists the Wing Commander on a daily basis. The CWO also works closely with individual squadron leaders and all Canadian Armed Forces members on the base. He also consults with community leaders, a role that can include attending City of Cold Lake council meetings.

“4 Wing has an excellent relationship with the community.” Nault says.
Wing leadership also has an excellent relationship with forces members, says Nault, who regularly met with members on an informal and regular basis in groups and individually.

“Differences of opinion can drive the right kind of changes. If there is a difference of opinion I want to learn why. I want to look, listen and react.”

He said it is important to accept that change in any organization can take time, but it does happen, and the Canadian Armed Forces is a leader is welcoming necessary changes.

“If I do my job well, I have moved the yardstick a little bit.”

When he became CWO, he was certainly no newcomer to the military.

He says he’s has been proud to serve 35 years and has no regrets about the life he chose.

“Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but I have a sense of pride and feel a dedication to Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces. No organization is ever perfect, but the Canadian Armed Forces always strives to make things better. We make mistakes, but we take steps to rectify them.”

He has served stints in Germany, for four years, Cold Lake in the 1990s and at Alert, NWT. While in Germany he got married and has four children, all in Ottawa.

Nault grew up in North Bay, Ont., where a teen friend who was an army cadet ingnited his interest joining the military.

“I wanted to be a game warden or in the military and look where I am today.”

At 17 as a determined teen he joined the Royal 22 Regiment, the famed French Canadian Van Doo Regiment.

He says he loves the outdoors, just got a puppy to train as a hunting dog when he gets home to Ottawa and still enjoys life in the military. He seems to have lived both his dreams.

He’s quick with advice to newcomers in the military or perhaps those questioning their career choice.

An important aspect of life in the military that he has learned is that you must be ready for constant change.

‘Things will change. That’s what being in the forces has taught me. You have to be used to that to succeed. Things usually change for the better for you. There are so many opportunities.”

He admits most would never imagine that a career that led to be a CWO at an air base started in the infantry because of his love of the outdoors and included a stint as an Electric Generating Station Technician.

“You never know what the road is going to look like.”

Although he is returning home to Ottawa to be with his family, he says he will miss Cold Lake., where he has been stationed twice.

“Cold Lake has so much to offer. When I tell people it is a great place, I really mean it.”