• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Change of Command drill question / passing of the Colours and Swagger (Pace) stick

Status
Not open for further replies.

btrudy

Full Member
Reaction score
242
Points
610
What good do the Snowbirds do for helping us fight the enemy?

Why do we have family days? Families aren’t engaging the enemy.
Snowbirds' primary utility is raising awareness / goodwill with the public, which can aid in recruiting and possibly stave off budget cuts (yes, I know the latter is perhaps wishful thinking).

Family days help raise the morale of CAF members and their families, make said families feel like more of a part of the overall military community, and thus stave off or at least delay some releases caused by spouses and dependents being dragged all over the country to places where they don't know anyone and don't feel like they belong.

The retention crisis is IMHO the #1 threat to sustaining our operational capability in both the short and the long term.

So... now that you've asked your unrelated rhetorical question, please answer mine.

What goal are we trying to accomplish by doing events like large scale change of command parades? How does it help, and furthermore how is it more helpful than other things we could be doing instead?

You know, despite the fact that the rank and file (literally in this case) members at said units can't stand them, and thus holding them is going to be damaging morale and worsening the retention crisis.
 

SupersonicMax

Army.ca Veteran
Mentor
Reaction score
1,359
Points
1,110
What good do the Snowbirds do for helping us fight the enemy?

Why do we have family days? Families aren’t engaging the enemy.
1- Recruitment
2- Family appreciation which has a direct impact on morale.

CoC parades are a detractor to morale (need to get that uniform ready on your own time and I don’t know many people that enjoy practicing drill for 3 days straight) and time thieves. I’d rather have someone operate at 50% than being 100% sure they won’t be productive at all for that time. 150 people x 3 days, that’s the equivalent of two years for one person…. Or roughly $150,000 in salary alone…. To do something that detracts from morale and productivity.
 
Last edited:

dimsum

Army.ca Legend
Mentor
Reaction score
4,700
Points
1,260
So... now that you've asked your unrelated rhetorical question, please answer mine.

What goal are we trying to accomplish by doing events like large scale change of command parades? How does it help, and furthermore how is it more helpful than other things we could be doing instead?

You know, despite the fact that the rank and file (literally in this case) members at said units can't stand them, and thus holding them is going to be damaging morale and worsening the retention crisis.
I have a feeling you directed that at me originally.

Units like the Wachbatallion and Fed Guard aren't for CoC parades, unless it's like CDS-level. They basically take the place of the Ceremonial Guard, which we (sort of) have already.

They also do honour guards for stuff like the USAF Chief of Staff in Ottawa last week, instead of pulling together random people from around the NCR.

I wholly believe that we don't need standard of CoC parades. But, there are some ceremonial functions that are probably not going to go away (Remembrance Day, etc) so might as well have some ceremonial professionals for that.
 

Eye In The Sky

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
2,160
Points
1,060
1. I’d like to see solid numbers on how many people join(ed) over the last 3 decades because they saw the Snowbirds.

2. Whatever morale is created by a Family Day is squashed by everything else that is reality. Deployments, unwanted postings, etc.

I think you’re over-valuing those 2 items. Ever heard a distraught spouse say “…it’s our 3 move in 6 years and all that but you know, those family days really make it all worth it”.

I’ve never practiced for even a Wing CofC parade for 3 days. 1 morning run thru, 1 afternoon run thru that afternoon. Parade the next day.

Parades and ceremonies are part of uniform life. I’m glad to see the CoC ceremony format leaned down this year and hope it continues but my Sqn is still sending people to the Wing CofC this week; 3B and seated is better than what it used to be.
 

Eye In The Sky

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
2,160
Points
1,060
Snowbirds' primary utility is raising awareness / goodwill with the public, which can aid in recruiting and possibly stave off budget cuts (yes, I know the latter is perhaps wishful thinking).

Family days help raise the morale of CAF members and their families, make said families feel like more of a part of the overall military community, and thus stave off or at least delay some releases caused by spouses and dependents being dragged all over the country to places where they don't know anyone and don't feel like they belong.

The retention crisis is IMHO the #1 threat to sustaining our operational capability in both the short and the long term.

So... now that you've asked your unrelated rhetorical question, please answer mine.

What goal are we trying to accomplish by doing events like large scale change of command parades? How does it help, and furthermore how is it more helpful than other things we could be doing instead?

You know, despite the fact that the rank and file (literally in this case) members at said units can't stand them, and thus holding them is going to be damaging morale and worsening the retention crisis.

So, zero direct impact on operations. Got it.

Being in the military involves lots of things people didn’t and don’t like. I didn’t want to march overnight from Hersey North/South to DDT1 in the rain all night in ‘98. But i did it.

If people want a job that involves doing only what they want, or want to leave the military because they had to iron a shirt and do some drill, I say good luck to them in their next endeavour. We don’t need people who complain about every little thing. They don’t make the CAF stronger or more operational effective.
 

SupersonicMax

Army.ca Veteran
Mentor
Reaction score
1,359
Points
1,110
1. I’d like to see solid numbers on how many people join(ed) over the last 3 decades because they saw the Snowbirds.

2. Whatever morale is created by a Family Day is squashed by everything else that is reality. Deployments, unwanted postings, etc.

I think you’re over-valuing those 2 items. Ever heard a distraught spouse say “…it’s our 3 move in 6 years and all that but you know, those family days really make it all worth it”.

I’ve never practiced for even a Wing CofC parade for 3 days. 1 morning run thru, 1 afternoon run thru that afternoon. Parade the next day.

Parades and ceremonies are part of uniform life. I’m glad to see the CoC ceremony format leaned down this year and hope it continues but my Sqn is still sending people to the Wing CofC this week; 3B and seated is better than what it used to be.
I am not disputing ceremonies but CoC parades. Marching parades are an Army tradition that, imo, can stay with the Army. The Air Force equivalent would be a fly past, which is a lot more relevant to what Air Forces do, if we want to tall about traditions.

To your point about morale, because our Work-Life balance sucks we should just stop trying?
 

childs56

Sr. Member
Reaction score
96
Points
280
Drill is important to moral. Some may disagree but a properly turned out parade is a great thing to be part of. Drill forms a basic level of Discipline within a individual. When do we do drill, The navy when they do ship formations are doing drill, the Airforce when they are flying formations are doing drill, the Army when they line up for an attack are doing drill. It isn't foot drill but it is formations which are part of Drill.

I know when I attended a funeral as a member of the Airforce and then Remembrance Day I was really disappointed in the level of professionalism carried forward by those filling the ranks. I was ashamed that uniforms turned out in poor state, personal grooming for a few was something else and language was something be desired. When I talked to the WO afterwards he said oh well were Airforce. I asked him if that was what he wanted at his funeral. He said no it wasn't the Sqns best performance.

At CFSATE dress was lacking by many, one Sgt in particular had a way with his uniform. As if he pulled it out of the corner of the floor after a party, his boots looked like he walked to hell and back with grey marks and all, his hair and mustache was something a 80 porn star would of been jealous of. The school chief wasn't much better. These were the managers (noticed I did not say leaders) in charged of setting standards. It showed by the lack of gaff many had that the standards were not there.

If you don't want to do drill find another job somewhere else. Its part of the Military and part of the training to instill discipline and pride in ones self.

Next it will be no more rifles they offend the infantry and affect their moral.
 

PuckChaser

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Mentor
Reaction score
1,919
Points
1,060
Insanity is trying the same thing expecting different results.

"The Troops have low morale, let's have a sports day and a BBQ they must attend and pay for..."
 

SupersonicMax

Army.ca Veteran
Mentor
Reaction score
1,359
Points
1,110
Insanity is trying the same thing expecting different results.

"The Troops have low morale, let's have a sports day and a BBQ they must attend and pay for..."
People do what’s in their control to affect as much as possible their unit’s morale. If you think that COs and command teams believe this is what will all of the sudden drastically improve morale, you are wrong. But at least it is something they can do to even have a small effect.
 

Eye In The Sky

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
2,160
Points
1,060
I am not disputing ceremonies but CoC parades. Marching parades are an Army tradition that, imo, can stay with the Army. The Air Force equivalent would be a fly past, which is a lot more relevant to what Air Forces do, if we want to tall about traditions.

Every Wing CoC parade I’ve been on or attended had both marching and fly past. Our Wing CoC will have flypasts. Having done army and Air Force CoC parades, the “2 run thru practice” followed by the parade itself is “light” compared to the Army stuff. Cultural values factor in, I see both sides from wearing both DEU.

A big parade like the old CTC one in August in Gagetown was a week long and included roll pasts and primarily, was for Officer graduations from the Schools in the Battle Mall. It was appropriate for that large group and a nice parade after a summer of summer of some pretty serious “suck” for most of them.

A similar week in the Air Force would make many people angry (me included 🙂).

To your point about morale, because our Work-Life balance sucks we should just stop trying?

No, but I think it’s also important to place honest value in the things we do. Our Sqn family day didn’t make my wife’s life easier when I was away 9 months in 2016, but my father in law got to go for a famil flight.
 

Eye In The Sky

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
2,160
Points
1,060
Drill is important to moral. Some may disagree but a properly turned out parade is a great thing to be part of. Drill forms a basic level of Discipline within a individual. When do we do drill, The navy when they do ship formations are doing drill, the Airforce when they are flying formations are doing drill, the Army when they line up for an attack are doing drill. It isn't foot drill but it is formations which are part of Drill.

I know when I attended a funeral as a member of the Airforce and then Remembrance Day I was really disappointed in the level of professionalism carried forward by those filling the ranks. I was ashamed that uniforms turned out in poor state, personal grooming for a few was something else and language was something be desired. When I talked to the WO afterwards he said oh well were Airforce. I asked him if that was what he wanted at his funeral. He said no it wasn't the Sqns best performance.

At CFSATE dress was lacking by many, one Sgt in particular had a way with his uniform. As if he pulled it out of the corner of the floor after a party, his boots looked like he walked to hell and back with grey marks and all, his hair and mustache was something a 80 porn star would of been jealous of. The school chief wasn't much better. These were the managers (noticed I did not say leaders) in charged of setting standards. It showed by the lack of gaff many had that the standards were not there.

If you don't want to do drill find another job somewhere else. Its part of the Military and part of the training to instill discipline and pride in ones self.

Next it will be no more rifles they offend the infantry and affect their moral.

Drill; when I was green DEU I took great pride in knowledge of drill and ceremonial. As a young NCO it was one way to demonstrate attention to detail, pride, etc.

Last Sept, I was the Insignia Bearer and Bearer Party Comd for a Mil Funeral at Beechwood. The entire group of us had only a morning to practice, under the careful guidance of the Snr NCO who works at Beechwood.

Drill was taught fairly thoroughly at Cornwallis when I went thru. Slow march, turns and inclines on the march, all of it.

I was glad I had the background I had; most mbrs aren’t taught slow march, so that was our start point that morning. What ended up happening, basically, was the ex-army remasters showed the Jnr NCM air DEU people how to do the little things that are big things. When the funeral proceeded with the mbrs family there, it was done the way those things should be done.

As for the sloppy turn out by more senior NCMs, I hope their Officers will have the ability to ask (direct) them to improve…
 

Eye In The Sky

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
2,160
Points
1,060
I wholly believe that we don't need standard of CoC parades. But, there are some ceremonial functions that are probably not going to go away (Remembrance Day, etc) so might as well have some ceremonial professionals for that.

I mentioned Beechwood; last Sept I was actually pretty impressed with the level of comfort, knowledge and proficiency the “team” there had. Many of them were young PRes Jnr NCMs. There was 1 reg force WO posted there but they weren’t there the weekend we were, so the 2 I/c ran the show, a PRes Snr NCO.

You mentioned ceremonial responsibilities that are normal/expected with visiting state VIPs.

These are examples of why the CAF and nation has a responsibility to maintain some level of “ceremonial professionals”; I don’t believe I’ll ever experience anything quite as humbling as the Insignia Bearer duty at Beechwood was, standing there among some of our nation’s heroes as we laid a Snr NCO to rest. For that day my job was to do some basic drill, smartly, to honour a fallen CAF member and their family.
 

FSTO

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
1,868
Points
1,090
Our little NRD in Regina did a CoC last Saturday. The parade was timed to commence at 1300. The platoon practiced for about 2 hours in the forenoon to get the cobwebs out, went for lunch. We then did the parade, signed the documents, quick speeches and then dismissed to the Wardroom for presentations of gifts and promotions, had a few drinks and food was laid on. All wrapped up by 1500. Got a BZ from Comd NAVRES for a tight and well run little ceremony
 

rmc_wannabe

Army.ca Veteran
Subscriber
Reaction score
2,394
Points
1,310
Whenever people bring up the "Drill/No Drill" debate, I often am reminded of a quote I heard while watching a Trooping the Colour ceremony on BBC.

One of BBC commentators was a former Brigade Major in Waiting with the Grenadier Guards and was asked how different the training was between getting ready for Horse Guards and training for OP TELIC.

Paraphrasing, he responded by saying
...
they were essentially one and the same. He said in both cases, you're working as a team to accomplish a goal. You are perfecting your own skills and job within the larger group and then performing the task together as one cohesive unit. Everyone has a specific duty in it, and everyone is trusting and relying on every soldier, from Guardsman # 6 to the Brigade Major, to do their job to their very best. The result at Horse Guards is an impressive show of pageantry, yes, but also a show of force; like Gladiators entering the Coliseum, it's a way of saying "we are prepared, we are professionals, and we will fight with the same accuracy and precision you see on parade. You dont want to have a go at us"
...

CoCs may not be the same as Trooping the Colour, but it's still drill. It's still meant to be a show of cohesion, professionalism, and ability. Do I agree with it being a 4 hour circle jerk love fest for 2 senior officers? No. But I do agree that a proper parade, with a dignified ceremony followed by receptions in the Mess are perfect.

Otherwise, what is this thing except a PS job with less pay in more ornate clothing.
 
Last edited:

Halifax Tar

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
2,767
Points
1,260
What good do the Snowbirds do for helping us fight the enemy?

Why do we have family days? Families aren’t engaging the enemy.

Snowbirds are a golden cow. Much like the Skyhawks and the RCMP Musical Ride.

Family days are for morale.

Whenever people bring up theb"Drill/No Drill" debate, I often am reminded of a quote I heard while watching a Trooping the Colour ceremony on BBC.

One of BBC commentators was a former Brigade Major in Waiting with the Grenadier Guards and was asked how different the training was between getting ready for Horse Guards and training for OP TELIC.

Paraphrasing, he responded by saying
...
they were essentially one and the same. He said in both cases, you're working as a team to accomplish a goal. You are perfecting your own skills and job within the larger group and then performing the task together as one cohesive unit. Everyone has a specific duty in it, and everyone is trusting and relying on every soldier, from Guardsman # 6 to the Brigade Major, to do their job to their very best. The result at Horse Guards is an impressive show of pageantry, yes, but also a show of force; like Gladiators entering the Coliseum, it's a way of saying "we are prepared, we are professionals, and we will fight with the same accuracy and precision you see on parade. You dont want to have a go at us"
...

CoCs may not be the same as Trooping the Colour, but it's still drill. It's still meant to be a show of cohesion, professionalism, and ability. Do I agree with it being a 4 hour circle jerk love fest for 2 senior officers? No. But I do agree that a proper parade, with a dignified ceremony followed by receptions in the Mess are perfect.

Otherwise, what is this thing except a PS job with less pay in more ornate clothing.

Drill is a part of military life, I agree. And there most definitely is a time and place for it. Remembrance Day is a great example.

Maybe the eye rolling that goes on with things like change of command parades has more to do with the lack of connection the lower decker's have with those the parade is for.

Right now it's seen more as a "flex" than anything else is the impression I get.
 

btrudy

Full Member
Reaction score
242
Points
610
they were essentially one and the same. He said in both cases, you're working as a team to accomplish a goal. You are perfecting your own skills and job within the larger group and then performing the task together as one cohesive unit.

Given that the same could be said for literally any group task, I'm not really sure why this is being used as some sort of defence for drill and parades.

Otherwise, what is this thing except a PS job with less pay in more ornate clothing.

Well... you see, it's the legalized violence in service of the country that does that. Not the walking around in formation.

Drill is a part of military life, I agree. And there most definitely is a time and place for it. Remembrance Day is a great example.

Maybe the eye rolling that goes on with things like change of command parades has more to do with the lack of connection the lower decker's have with those the parade is for.

Right now it's seen more as a "flex" than anything else is the impression I get.

Hard to argue with this; once again I ask what the goal of the event is. Remembrance Day and other similar events serve a purpose, focused on the realities of war and how it affects us all. CoC tends to be a giant ego-stroking competition.
 

Eye In The Sky

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
2,160
Points
1,060
Hard to argue with this; once again I ask what the goal of the event is. Remembrance Day and other similar events serve a purpose, focused on the realities of war and how it affects us all. CoC tends to be a giant ego-stroking competition.

Maybe there is a difference here with the RCAF and RCN. All of my COs have called me by my first name; I’ve been on crew with most of them at some point. I’m not special or anything, and I call them Sir or ma’am but we tend to know each other a little better in the Air Force (and my first and last name is on my chest every day so…). Same as the DCOs and most Sqn Exec. Our units are smaller and such so maybe that has something to do with it.

The last Wing CoC is attended ( seated, not in a Flt) was my first LRP CO handing over command of the Wing to another former CO of mine who I deployed with. Maybe knowing the officers involved makes it less of a PITA event.

Not all COs and above will score the same in rank and file Popularity Contests…but that shouldn’t matter very much in assessing CoC functions value in the CAF.

If they are still doing it, the CTC Gagetown officer graduation parade is pretty impressive. It was about a week of practice and fairly long. Roll pasts, salutes for marching and mounted elements. It demonstrates a high level of discipline, command, team work and other things that are highly valuable in the military. Not everything about drill is valueless to the entire CAF.
 
Last edited:

Remius

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
3,991
Points
1,090
Hard to argue with this; once again I ask what the goal of the event is. Remembrance Day and other similar events serve a purpose, focused on the realities of war and how it affects us all. CoC tends to be a giant ego-stroking competition.

The goal is a recognition of a COs past term and a welcome of the incoming. It generally marks the end of the outgoing COs time in the regiment. It’s an opportunity for the outgoing to review his unit and passing it on in good shape to the next. Most if not all the CoCs I’ve been on involved one last chance for a CO to promote, recognize and award soldiers for various things. Generally the COs family is recognized as well. Followed by drinks and such in the messes.

Your view on CoCs being a giant ego stroking competition shows that you really don’t understand what they mean. And that’s fine. I won’t change your mind and could care less as none of your opinions will matter when we go through our next CofC. Ceremonies and ceremonial are all symbolic in nature. From remembrance day, to funerals to freedom of the city parades to quarter guards to sentries at the tomb etc etc. You choose to place more value on one over another based on your own set of values and opinions. That’s also fine. But it does not mean you are right about it being a waste of time or more specifically an ego stroking contest.

I can understand that in units and with soldiers that don’t live or work in a regimental system it may not matter to them.

In a regiment CofC parades are milestones that are are marked with tradition and symbolism.

You do you. I’ll do army.
 

rmc_wannabe

Army.ca Veteran
Subscriber
Reaction score
2,394
Points
1,310
You are correct but the value that drill brings can be demonstrated through other, more relevant tasks.
I honestly would love to hear what your options are that would be cost, time, and PY neutral comparatively to a 2 hour parade every 12-24 months...
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top