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Initiatives launched to retain and increase RCAF personnel experience levels

Eye In The Sky

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Do you think this could be helped if the MH community was formally brought back into the RCN to be the RCN Air Arm again ?

The key issue isn't what DEU they wear/could wear, the issue is more related to the "FG/FE" arm wrestle. To put more people thru, the Schoolhouse (406) needs more qualified MHFIs (MH Flying Instructors). The gun Sqn's and other units also need qualified flyers (423, 443, MHTEF, MHSET, MH OLA...) to support their necessary function in the fleet. Generally speaking, RW air ops are harder on aircrew than FW air ops. Not a hard rule, but a good general statement, in my eyes.

Putting more MH Pilots, TACCOs, SENSOs thru the applic courses means more flying. That usually needs more aircraft, maintained by more techs, supported by supply, replenishment, SNIC, ATC. All of those "more people" all need medical and admin support...

TL;DR: I'm not sure the RCN can solve all intertwined aspects of the "qualify more aircrew" better than the RCAF can. Right now, it might just be a "time" issue until "supply - attrition" can keep up to 'demand'. However, senior RCN leadership might have more 'vested interest' in the success of MH aircrew generation than the RCAF writ large, who cares about aircrew generation across all fleets.

My 2 cents worth.
 

SeaKingTacco

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Would this include returning YAW to it's former state, and moving LRP and SAR to civilization on the east coast? 😁
Good luck. The Developers have built right up to the YAW fence line and penetrated the Obstacle Clearance everywhere. The days of a B52 doing 500kt, zero altitude run and battle break down the main runway (personally witnessed after the 1999 airshow) are loooong gone.
 

TCM621

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I really think the best way forward is to look at all the things that kept people in before and see how we can use that to our advantage. I think it all comes down to making the military be the military we all wanted to join as kids. I didn't join the military to spend my entire life in one place and go on TD once every year or two. I didn't join to spend all day writing emails about how the lack of training will eventually lead to someone get hurt or worse. I didn't join the military to fight HQs who decide the solution to having trouble meeting a standard, is to lower the standard.

People have zero joy in their work and very little pride. They don't have pride because they do very little that deserves pride. They meet low standards and even when they do go above and beyond they rarely get recognition. How can you be proud of passing your trades course when everyone who takes it passes? How can you be proud of being a Cpl when all it took was not quiting for 4 years? How can you be proud of being a MCpl when. You didn't even pass PLQ (not that anyone fails). I could literally go on for an hour in this one topic alone.
 

Ostrozac

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I really think the best way forward is to look at all the things that kept people in before and see how we can use that to our advantage.
As someone who joined the CAF in 1991, it sometimes felt like I was like a tourist that arrived in Boston the day after St Patrick’s Day — the stories of heavy partying and booze when on TD, in the field, and in garrison, were legendary and not really anything like my lived experience, as I found Bosnia, Haiti and Afghanistan to be rather sober, and sobering, experiences. Germany seemed to be one long bender for the troops, and even exercises in Wainwright were described in terms more befitting a frat party movie than the sense of dread that now accompanies mention of Maple Resolve.

Was it all really just more fun in the 70’s and 80’s? And is that the solution for recruiting/retention? Or were these older soldiers, sailors and airmen that I served with just pointlessly nostalgic for the days of stubby beer bottles and 8-track tapes?
 

dimsum

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Or were these older soldiers, sailors and airmen that I served with just pointlessly nostalgic for the days of stubby beer bottles and 8-track tapes?
I'm not one of those older folks, but I'd suspect that there is some nostalgia involved. For example: I remember the good times about sailing, not the crappy ones.

I think it all comes down to making the military be the military we all wanted to join as kids. I didn't join the military to spend my entire life in one place and go on TD once every year or two
However, that may backfire. The idea of being gone all the time and doing cool stuff is awesome when you're young and single. Less awesome when you're married with a few kids and they're wondering why Dad/Mom is always gone.

Yes, we obviously joined the military knowing we could be deployed, but I know I'm less gung-ho about being gone than I was when I was in my 20s.
 

TCM621

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However, that may backfire. The idea of being gone all the time and doing cool stuff is awesome when you're young and single. Less awesome when you're married with a few kids and they're wondering why Dad/Mom is always gone.

Yes, we obviously joined the military knowing we could be deployed, but I know I'm less gung-ho about being gone than I was when I was in my 20s.

I don't know. My dad spent 6 months at sea a year for like 30 years. And that was actual at sea time. But he loved his job. When you are 20 going away, anywhere for any reason, is new and exciting. When you are looking at your 10th trip to San Diego in 7 years to do the exact same thing you did the last 10 times, complete with the same problems, it is harder to justify to yourself that you are doing something worth leaving your family for.

Part of the problem is the Cold war gave everyone purpose. Sailors would spend 280 days at sea training to protect Canada from the Russians. 3 months in Wainwright was worth it if it meant we could defend West German against Soviet aggression. Even the Air Force would share hotel rooms when needed to thwart the Red Menace. We saw a little bit of that during the Afghanistan years but it was mostly felt in the Army. Right now we are in a period of appeasement. We can't point out the Chinese threat without cries of racism and we are afraid of starting a new Cold War if we push back too hard against Russia. I think even a potential enemy would have an effect on our collective feeling of purpose.

I'm not suggesting we create an enemy just to increase a sense of purpose but merely stating that the lack of an enemy creates a hole that needs to be filled. Lacking that sense of purpose we have to increase the other reason one might want to stay despite the demands of the service. "Fun" is one way but is difficult because fun is subjective. Increased pay is out because reasons. Don't even get me started on the promotion system. I am focusing my efforts on self-actualization and esteem needs, to reference Maslow's Hierarchy of needs, because I think it is the lowest hanging fruit of all the areas that need addressing (I see room for improvement in all Maslow's areas). I really think we need to break it right down to the basics of what areas we can't meet a members needs adequately and how do we balance that out?
 

Loachman

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TL;DR: I'm not sure the RCN can solve all intertwined aspects of the "qualify more aircrew" better than the RCAF can. Right now, it might just be a "time" issue until "supply - attrition" can keep up to 'demand'. However, senior RCN leadership might have more 'vested interest' in the success of MH aircrew generation than the RCAF writ large, who cares about aircrew generation across all fleets.

There was a Joint Helicopter training establishment in Rivers, Manitoba which trained aircrew (and possibly techs) for the RCN, CA, and RCAF prior to unification.

Army Helicopter Techs wore RCEME cap badges.
 

Loachman

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As someone who joined the CAF in 1991, it sometimes felt like I was like a tourist that arrived in Boston the day after St Patrick’s Day — the stories of heavy partying and booze when on TD, in the field, and in garrison, were legendary and not really anything like my lived experience, as I found Bosnia, Haiti and Afghanistan to be rather sober, and sobering, experiences. Germany seemed to be one long bender for the troops, and even exercises in Wainwright were described in terms more befitting a frat party movie than the sense of dread that now accompanies mention of Maple Resolve.

Was it all really just more fun in the 70’s and 80’s? And is that the solution for recruiting/retention? Or were these older soldiers, sailors and airmen that I served with just pointlessly nostalgic for the days of stubby beer bottles and 8-track tapes?
Yes.

Yes it was.

Yes it most definitely was.

But not just for the reasons cited above.

We had a full-blown mechanized brigade group and three bomber squadrons in Germany and constantly worked with allies.

Seeing a quarter of a million troops in the field (well, they were there, but well-dispersed and hiding for the most part) on the biggest exercise that NATO ever had - corps-versus-corps free play - is really indescribable. Hordes of tanks and APCs and SPGs and A10s and and and as far as one's eyes could see from fifty feet or less above it all.

There was a tremendous feeling of invincible military might.

Y'all yunguns missed out on a lot.

I feel sorry for you.
 

Eye In The Sky

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There was a Joint Helicopter training establishment in Rivers, Manitoba which trained aircrew (and possibly techs) for the RCN, CA, and RCAF prior to unification.

Now I'm curious as to what the fling-wing folks think...let's say this 'was going to happen in 2-3 years'. Pro's, con's....good investment/waste of time?
 

Colin Parkinson

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The attitude in the old days was work hard and play hard, because tomorrow you might be getting nuked. The thing also was that nobody was safe from global nuclear war, so there was a sense it would affect all of us. It was not all roses though, alcoholism was a big issue, but on the flip side, soldiers/sailors and Airmen were expected to let off steam. Them getting into fights hardly warranted a line in the newspaper, there was not the all seeing eye of Mordor to contend with and most issues were dealt at the regimental level often without any official note on your file.
 

FJAG

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Yes.

Yes it was.

Yes it most definitely was.

But not just for the reasons cited above.

We had a full-blown mechanized brigade group and three bomber squadrons in Germany and constantly worked with allies.

Seeing a quarter of a million troops in the field (well, they were there, but well-dispersed and hiding for the most part) on the biggest exercise that NATO ever had - corps-versus-corps free play - is really indescribable. Hordes of tanks and APCs and SPGs and A10s and and and as far as one's eyes could see from fifty feet or less above it all.

There was a tremendous feeling of invincible military might.

Y'all yunguns missed out on a lot.

I feel sorry for you.

Hell, even we missed out on the best of times. Remember when 1 Cdn Air Div in Europe had 6,000 people in twelve squadrons of 25 Sabre jets each in the mid 1950s. 300 state of the art jets all built by Canadair (who built 1,815 of them in Montreal before they built us 200 CF104 Starfighters)

🍻
 

daftandbarmy

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Yes.

Yes it was.

Yes it most definitely was.

But not just for the reasons cited above.

We had a full-blown mechanized brigade group and three bomber squadrons in Germany and constantly worked with allies.

Seeing a quarter of a million troops in the field (well, they were there, but well-dispersed and hiding for the most part) on the biggest exercise that NATO ever had - corps-versus-corps free play - is really indescribable. Hordes of tanks and APCs and SPGs and A10s and and and as far as one's eyes could see from fifty feet or less above it all.

There was a tremendous feeling of invincible military might.

Y'all yunguns missed out on a lot.

I feel sorry for you.

Except for all the 'real wars' and medals since '91 though, right? ;)
 

FSTO

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There was a Joint Helicopter training establishment in Rivers, Manitoba which trained aircrew (and possibly techs) for the RCN, CA, and RCAF prior to unification.

Army Helicopter Techs wore RCEME cap badges.
I recall reading that Sea Fury's would fly out of Rivers and do ground support for the Army in Shilo.
 

FJAG

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There was a Joint Helicopter training establishment in Rivers, Manitoba which trained aircrew (and possibly techs) for the RCN, CA, and RCAF prior to unification.

Army Helicopter Techs wore RCEME cap badges.

When I left Manitoba a hog farm was using the remaining hangers (one of which burned down) but I think they have abandoned the base.

There's an extensive history of Rivers' military base here.

🍻
 

Colin Parkinson

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Except for all the 'real wars' and medals since '91 though, right? ;)
I have met a few of us "Cold War" types trying to inflate stuff so they can match the guys coming back from Afghanistan. For the majority of us that war thankfully did not happen and trying to level the field with people that lived everyday in dread of an IED is just plain sad.
 

daftandbarmy

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I have met a few of us "Cold War" types trying to inflate stuff so they can match the guys coming back from Afghanistan. For the majority of us that war thankfully did not happen and trying to level the field with people that lived everyday in dread of an IED is just plain sad.

Hence the reason why the Legion is drying up. But I digress :)
 

SeaKingTacco

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I have met a few of us "Cold War" types trying to inflate stuff so they can match the guys coming back from Afghanistan. For the majority of us that war thankfully did not happen and trying to level the field with people that lived everyday in dread of an IED is just plain sad.
As a “Cold Warrior”, I definitely did not have it harder than the Afghanistan generation.

With that said, my grounding in the subject matter of warfare, writ large, seems to have been better at young age/rank, than the current generation.

I could describe, up to a Corps Level (not that Canada had a Corps, but we knew we would work with US or GE Corps if the shooting started), what all the parts were. I knew how ammo dumping and supply all the back to DISGROUP worked. I understood the ACP for Central Europe. I could tell you the order of march of both a Soviet MRR and a Soviet TR off by heart.

Much of it was stupid memorization, but I think we also spent more time thinking about warfare.
 
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