Chief Warrant Officer Alain Guimond retires as CAF CWO

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Chief of the Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance, signs the Change of Appointment certificate, alongside Outgoing Canadian Armed Forces Chief Warrant Officer (CAF CWO), CWO Alain Guimond, and Incoming CAF CWO, Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Gilles Grégoire, during the CAF CWO Change of Appointment Ceremony at Carling Campus in Ottawa, Ontario on 3 September, 2020. Photo: Aviator Valerie Mailhot, Canadian Forces Support Group (Ottawa-Gatineau) Imaging Services

September 11, 2020 – Defence Stories

Created in 1978, the Canadian Armed Forces Chief Warrant Officer (CAF CWO) is Canada’s most senior Non-Commissioned Member; a leader amongst leaders. It is a unique and challenging appointment and the result of years of dedication to the institution, consummate professionalism, excellence in service, and the embodiment of the military ethos.

A change of appointment ceremony was held on September 3rd to bid farewell to outgoing CAF CWO, CWO Alain Guimond, and welcome the 14th CAF CWO, CPO1 Gilles Grégoire. Due to the COVID-19 environment, attendance was limited to a select group but a Facebook Livestream allowed over 700 viewers to tune in to witness the event.

The ceremony was presided over by the CDS, General Jonathan Vance, who reminded all those present, and watching, that the role of a Senior NCO extends beyond bringing out the best in dress, drill, and deportment. “Good NCOs give tough love. They are firm but fair […] Throughout my career, I have relied on the sage counsel, sharp eyes, and strong ethics of Senior NCOs.”

As he stood in front of his peers and colleagues to deliver his final address, a visibly moved CWO Guimond began by thanking his family for their support and understanding throughout his career; especially during the long periods of time when duty took him away from home. He also took the opportunity to thank his friends and mentors, and reflected on his years of service. “When I look back, I would do the same, exactly the same, all over again.”

Mr. Guimond is retiring from the CAF after 38 years of service. He joined the CAF in 1983 in Rimouski, Québec. He has served in Combat Engineer Regiments at all ranks, from Sapper to CWO, including as Sergeant-Major of the 5 Combat Engineer Regiment in Valcartier. In 2015, CWO Guimond was appointed the 18th Sergeant-Major of the Canadian Army, and in 2018 was appointed the 13th CAF CWO. His career includes four deployments to Bosnia between 1992 and 2002, and one in Afghanistan in 2009.

Mr. Guimond ended his address in army fashion, “To all call signs, this is 9C, end of mission. Out.”

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Outgoing Canadian Armed Forces Chief Warrant Officer, Chief Warrant Officer Alain Guimond, salutes during the national anthem played during the Canadian Armed Forces Chief Warrant Officer Change of Appointment Ceremony at Carling Campus in Ottawa, Ontario on 3 September, 2020. Photo: Aviator Valerie Mailhot, Canadian Forces Support Group (Ottawa-Gatineau) Imaging Services