Canadian Militia

I joined on a dare. I passed all of the tests and the physicals and did everything they asked of me. Then I had to do it again the following year. I was too young the first time around.
I passed all of my training and was part of the Royal Regiment of Canada, Infantry. The Big Black Cadillacs and all that. I went regularly for a year and participated in On Guard 90, “Total Force In the Making”. I think the idea was to mobilize the militia and have them work with the reg forces to get everyone used to one another. It was a complete mock battle exercise. I remember having alot of fun.
There were two things that came to mind to me tonight about that. And both were because of work.
One of the guys at work went to the Honda Indy this past weekend and his son spent most of the time at the Armed Forces display. He got to hold weapons and wear the gear. I found myself correcting him.
He said his son got to hold a M16. “A C7,” I said. “I think they call them C7s. The Canadian version of the M16. There are differences.” Then I went on to mention the C9 and other weapons I’d used. I am proud to have served, but I served long enough to know that it was not a job I wanted to do full time. Any time any one mentions anything about the forces my chest puffs out a little.
The other thing I remembered because of work was something that I did. A sergeant made a request of me to march at double time to deliver a message to someone about 5 klicks away. I was wearing my full gear, webbing, ruck sack, weapon, everything. And I humped it hard and delivered the message. I also remember being so goddamned tired that I saluted the lieutenant I had to deliver the message to. I shouldn’t have. In a real battle scenario, had I saluted a superior, a sniper may have caught the gesture and taken out an officer. I didn’t get shit for saluting, like I should have. The sergeant got shit.
“You know what you’ve done? You’ve weakened the unit,” the lieutenant said. By exhausting me (I was tired, not exhausted, but I was not about the correct a lieutenant when I had not been directly addressed ; I already learned that lesson) he exhausted the unit. Until I was back up to full strength, the unit would not be back up to full strength.
“The message was not that important that it couldn’t wait. It wasn’t the right use of resources and if this were for real, we’d be in trouble.”
He said that a sergeant has to think of the whole team when making calls and was this message worth the lives of the members of his team? Because, being one man down in a team puts everyone at risk.
That can be applied to the world outside of the military – is it worth sacrificing your family and your chance to be with them one more minute by sending just one more email?

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