Here's your chance.

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Posted by Disillusioned (Disillusioned) from ON Canada on December 05, 2021 at 15:28:59:

I've been a reader of this page for several months now. I've never actually said anything up until this point, but in light of the recent discussion, I think this might be a good time to start. I'm an officer cadet - what's more, I'm an RMC cadet. I still have most of my training ahead of me, but the training I've had so far (BOTC, BOTC II, RMC recruit term, etc.) has disappointed me. I haven't found it much of a physical and intellectual challenge thus far, although I know that my upcoming phase training is likely to be much different. In my experience, there are indeed a lot of OCdts who have the wrong attitude. One anecdote: at the Second Language Training course at Campus Fort Saint-Jean this summer, there were several incidents. They ranged from relatively minor, practical-joke type occurences (ex. moving a parking meter from downtown to in front of the block where the cadets were staying; apparently even the base commander thought it was funny, although the cadets were [rightfully] disciplined) to very serious (cadets stealing from a dormitory vending machine, damage done to the dormitory, etc.). Personally, I was extremely disappointed in the attitude of my peers, and I was ashamed to be associated with many of them.

I don't know why so many people do this. I know that there is a definite attitude among my peers that if you can get away with it, it's okay. Often, the officers and NCO's placed in charge don't seem to care enough to enforce the rules; for example, although the cadets at Fort Saint-Jean were forbidden to drink in the dormitory, on a few occasions the major commanding the company and his warrant walked in on cadets doing exactly that, and simply told them, "Make sure you get rid of the empties." Is that the example we, as future officers, are expected to emulate? At RMC, there is a general feeling that the officers sent to us, especially the squadron commanders, are screwups in their trade, and are sent to the college as punishment or because their careers are on the rocks. Why do we think this? If it's true, why are we being given fourth-rate officers as role models? If it isn't true, why can't (or won't) the officers shake that stigma?

I see a lot of problems with the training system as it works right now. I'm in a combat arms trade, and I'm expected to be reasonably proficient in fieldcraft when I go to my phase training. Yet I don't feel comfortable with my navigation skills; at BOTC, they simply gave us a couple of lectures on it and then a multiple choice test. That's only theory, though, and now I seem to be "trained" in map-and-compass, even though I can count the number of times they took me out in the field to navigate on the fingers of one hand. I've had to do some work on my own, and I'm still not comfortable. If this is an essential skill, why is more attention not paid to developing it? If I consistently rely on my NCO's for that once I get my commision and command troops in the field, I'm not going to be able to earn their respect or the respect of my troop. After all, if I, with barely any time in, barely any training and no experience, feel I'm not getting adequate training, how will I deal with a warrant and sergeants who have 20 or more years of experience and several tours under their belts? I know it's not possible to give a young officer that experience - he can only gain it himself - but why aren't these basic, fundamental skills ingrained into us better?

Nav is only one example; there are more. But here I am; a young officer cadet who hopes to be a good officer someday, but I feel my training is letting me down. I want to be a professional. So I've been watching this argument with a lot of interest, looking for some insights which might make me a better officer. There are those of you who have a bone to pick with the officer corps; you probably have legitimate complaints. What would you say to a young, impressionable officer cadet who wants to do things right? What advice would you have for me, and what constructive solutions can you offer? This goes far beyond simple field skills; how do I win, and keep, the respect of the men for whom I will be responsible? Here's your chance to say something which might make a difference for at leat one cadet.

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