Well, last year I wondered on these pages if anyone actually takes the time to read the Christmas/Holiday message from the Wing Commander or Wing Chief Warrant Officer. Well, I did eventually get my answer, as the last time I checked I was up to 11 views, of which I am sure at least 2 were the result of my clicking on the story to see what my view total was. Maybe I should have Tik Tok’d it…
So here we are in December of 2023. The countdown is now on until the Christmas/Holiday break, and as always it has been a sprint to the finish line. The 17 Wing Defence Team has accomplished so much in the calendar year, and it has been an absolute privilege to sit back and “let the horses run.” I know I can speak for the Wing Chief Warrant Officer and myself when I say that we are truly blessed to have such a high-performing Wing led by so many people of differing backgrounds, ranks, experience and capabilities. It is not an exaggeration to say that on most days our presence is largely negligible. I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and the Wing would continue to operate, executing 2 CAD’s training mandate and supporting 1 CAD operations without fail. I know this is potentially not the strongest argument for the continued need for a WComd, but I know it reflects the age-old truism that if you have good people, get out of their bloody way and let them do good things. And I can honestly say that you are all accomplishing GREAT things.
All of this lavish praise is not to say that we do not have challenges, because we most certainly do. Every one of us needs to continue working towards creating a professional work environment where everyone feels valued, sees their contributions in their unit’s operations and views themselves as part of the 17 Wing Defence Team. I do not believe this to be some big societal experiment in evolving culture – I see it is pure common sense. Why would anyone, civilian or military, remain in an organization where they see themselves as being under-valued, marginalized and alone? Why would anyone decide to deal with a teammate or a comrade-in-arms in a manner they themselves would not accept? Treating people like human beings serves our goal to retain absolutely every member of the Defence Team we can and absolutely does not undermine the chain of command or military effectiveness. If we do not safeguard our new and existing personnel, it will not matter how many new aircraft we will introduce into service in the coming years as there will be no one left to fly, fix or support them.
So I encourage everyone to take time to rest, recharge and reload for 2024, which will be a singular year for this Wing. Not only will we continue to search for ways to modernize, digitize and streamline the way we train and operate, we will be engaging with Canadians throughout the year to recognize and celebrate our 100th Anniversary. My aim, and that of the Wing Chief, will be to ensure that the personnel of 17 Wing will be able to participate in our Anniversary events, vice support them, as this is your Wing and your RCAF. I sincerely hope you will take the time during the next 12 months to celebrate with us this momentous occasion in our collective history.
On behalf of CWO Cousineau and myself, I truly wish you and your family a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a restful, fun-filled New Year!
"Why is Christmas just like a day in the office? You do all the work and the fat guy in the suit gets all the credit." –Uknown