"A fine day to be a Dragoon”
Sean Chase/Daily Observer Dressed in their traditional scarlets, a guard of Royal Canadian Dragoons escorts the regiment's colours, the famous Guidon, during change of command ceremonies on June 28 at Garrison Petawawa.
GARRISON PETAWAWA - Canada's senior cavalry regiment witnessed another significant milestone in its storied history on June 28 with Lt.-Col. Fraser Auld handing over command to Lt.-Col. Rob Marois.
In a display of ceremonial grandeur, two squadrons and an honour guard wearing the traditional scarlet tunic and brass metal helmet with black plume marched stoically onto Worthington Parade Square as the Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD) not only welcomed their 57th commanding officer but their 48th regimental sergeant-major.
Once the Guidon, the regimental colours traditionally carried into battle, was marched onto the parade square, a quick inspection of the troops was conducted by Col. Michael Wright, commander of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, and retired brigadier general Peter Atkinson, the Colonel of the Regiment.
Upon the completion of the signing ceremony, Lt.-Col. Auld, who is currently commanding the Canadian Task Force in the Ukraine, thanked family, friends and guests for sharing this special day with the Dragoons. He noted he's had a full two years as CO.
“We've watched Dragoons plunge headlong into any challenge, always with a 'can-do' attitude and a positive outlook,” said Lt.-Col. Auld. “Dragoons are representing the regiment, the regimental family, the Canadian Army and the Canadian Forces very well and they're making us all proud right now in different corners of the globe.”
During his tenure, the RCDs lead introduction of the TAPV (Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle) into the brigade, participated in two major exercises in Wainwright, Alberta, supported the Armoured School with Leopard 2 tanks and took the lead on a domestic operation in Cornwall last summer after for asylum seekers began pouring in from the U.S. The unit also committed soldiers and squadron commanders to missions in Latvia and the Ukraine.
“I wish you all the best of luck in the future,” Lt.-Col. Auld concluded. “The future is bright for Canada's senior serving armoured regiment.”
Joining the Canadian Forces in 1992, Lt.-Col. Marois completed his bachelor of General Science at Royal Military College in 1998. He has held several positions at the RCD including reconnaissance troop commander, squadron commander and adjutant. He has also served as operations officer with the 1 Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, operations officer for 2CMBG and chief of staff of Army Collective Training. Lt.-Col. Marois has served on operational tours in Bosnia, Macedonia and Afghanistan. He and his wife, Ranelle, run a small farm.
“I feel incredibly privileged to be given the chance to be back in 2 Brigade, to be back home and to be given the honour to serve once again in this fine regiment,” said Lt.-Col. Marois. “I look out on this parade square and I see some of the finest armoured soldiers and officers that our army has to offer. You motivate me to be the best I can be as your commanding officer. I also reflect on those Dragoons we have lost and how they will live on in hearts of all Dragoons.”
The regiment also marked a change of appointment for the position of regimental sergeant-major as Chief Warrant Officer Jim Hebert handed over the pace stick to Chief Warrant Officer Jeramie Leamon. Like Lt.-Col. Auld, Chief Warrant Officer Hebert, a 29-year veteran of the military with two operational tours of Afghanistan and a posting to NATO headquarters in Belgium, will be returning to the Ukraine to complete his current rotation on Operation Unifier.
“I could not be more proud of the regiment's accomplishments. Anytime you took on a task you did so demonstrating excellent and made myself and the CO so very proud,” said the outgoing RSM. “You have an outstanding command team and the regiment will be in great hands.”
Chief Warrant Officer Leamon joined the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in 1991. Upon enrollment in the regular force, he was posted to the RCD. The incoming RSM has five operational tours to the former Yugoslavia, Somalia and Afghanistan. He also has postings at the Royal Canadian Armour Corps School and the Strategic Joint Staff.
“Thank you for your hard work and dedication over the past two years,” Chief Warrant Officer Leamon told his troops. “We will encounter difficult challenges but as a family leaning on and supporting each other there is no doubt we will overcome those challenges and accomplish all missions. It's a fine day to be a Dragoon.”