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  • Col Aaron Spott

A True Operational Pause

Bueller? … Bueller? … Bueller? I have always wondered if anyone actually reads the traditional Christmas/Holiday message from the Wing Commander or Wing Chief Warrant Officer. I know I never have. So, I imagine that this 2022 message will be a bit of a test to see who out there, if anyone, is paying attention to the words that follow.

I must admit to never being a Christmas or Holiday person, my “bah, humbug!” personality the result of growing up in a household where Christmas preparations begin on the day after Halloween. 55 straight days of being forced to listen to holiday music should, I think, count as a War Crime under the Geneva Conventions. And I did, for argument’s sake, consider that my rural Saskatchewan upbringing conferred upon me “prisoner” status (Personal Note: I did develop my own psy-ops countermeasures to my treatment, ensuring that every Christmas morning I watched VHS copies of Full Metal Jacket or Platoon at full volume on the living room television. I was a well-adapted child). Moreover, it has definitely shaped my approach to the holidays as my family is normally lucky to get a Christmas tree (bought last minute) out of me as my sole contribution to this festive time of year. I do view Scrooge and the Grinch as aspirational heroes to emulate, at least until the point they sell out and get all human-like and nice, demonstrating feelings of empathy, compassion and love. Ugh!

But, as they say, with age comes wisdom – or at least a WCWO to ensure I can benefit from his wisdom. Although our combined tenure at 17 Wing has been short, CWO Cousineau and I witness daily the hard work, dedication and personal sacrifice of our Regular Force, Reserve Force, Public Service and CFMWS/PSP members to support this Wing during a challenging period in our country’s’ history. Times are indeed tough. A dollar does not go anywhere near as far as it used to. Many members and their families continue to deal with the pandemic and its long-term after-effects. We know that people are fighting through personal stress and fatigue, a relentless workload and the weight of family concerns to ensure “the job gets done.” For all of this exceptional performance, commitment and professionalism the Chief and I are, and remain, eternally grateful.

So, despite my whining about my “torturous” Saskatchewan upbringing, both the Wing Chief and I agree that the Christmas and New Year Holiday period represents a true operational pause that we all should be leveraging to refresh our personal batteries.

Whether your individual approach to the Holidays is rooted in your personal faith, taking some “me” time to watch re-runs of Home Alone in your underwear on the couch (I’ve heard people do this), or visiting with family and friends – or any combination thereof – please ensure you take advantage of the break.

We would also encourage you to take the time during these last couple of weeks before operations slow to participate in one of the many Wing Holiday events scheduled to occur. The RCAF Band’s “Home for the Holidays” Concert, the Junior Ranks Christmas/Appreciation Mess Dinner, the messes’ At Home event and Sticky Floor Day all represent outstanding opportunities to relax with your peers and the larger 17 Wing military family.

So, on behalf of the CWO Cousineau and myself, I truly wish you and your family a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and restful, fun-filled New Year!

“There are a lot of things money can’t buy. Not one of them is on my son’s list.” – Milton Berle

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