The Memorial Arch Parade: Class of 2020 Meets Their First RMC Tradition

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By 27832 OCdt (II) Cardona, 12 Sqn

It’s that time of year again! Time for students to begin a new academic year, time for back to school shopping, time for parents to say goodbye to their now-grown-university-bound-child. However, at the Royal Military College of Canada, back to the school time is a bit different than most other universities.

For starters,Officer Cadets (OCds) begin their university education with a parade. Before even moving in to their rooms, the Class of 2020 participated in the traditional Memorial Arch Parade, symbolizing the beginning of their journey as members of RMC. The only other time they will march underneath that arch again will be in 2020, upon their graduation.

The First Year Orientation Period (FYOP) Course Officer, Lieutenant (Navy) Rob Medeiros, instructed the recruits to exit the Kingston Military Community Sports Centre and form up in their respective flights to await the start of the parade.

After a few minutes of nervously standing at-ease, the pipe band began to play and led the parade across the street, where they were welcomed by a cheering audience. Friends and families of the Class of 2020, lined along both sides of the Arch, proudly looked on as the College’s newest arrivals began a new chapter in their lives. There was not a dry eye in that crowd.

Just prior to passing underneath the Arch, the incoming OCdts were given an eyes ‘right’ command where the Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada, Brigadier General (BGen) Sean Friday returned the salute.  When they arrived on the parade square, the Director of Cadets (DCdts), Lieutenant colonel (LCol) Chris Renahan, stood the parade at ease; addressed the new recruits and the excited family & friends in the audience, conveying the importance of the occasion.

After the DCdts’ speech, the Cadet Wing Commander (CWC), OCdt Stefan Bobes called the parade to attention and instructed the FYOP Cadet Flight Leaders to carry on. As they marched past the ecstatic audience, some of the  Cadet Flight Leaders could barely contain their smiles. It was time for FYOP to begin.

And as it does every other year, FYOP kicked off with a bang. Throughout the parade, the FYOP Cadet Section Commanders were eagerly anticipating the arrival of their flights.

Collecting their individual baggage from piles of suitcases / kit bags proved to be quite an adventure for the new OCdts.

The scene descended into near chaos as the recruits, under the blaring direction of their FYOP staff, organized their kit and moved into their dorm / rooms.

This is just the start for the new arrivals. They have many challenges facing them over the next few weeks / months / years.

Hopes are high that all members of the Class of 2020 will rise to the occasion.

  • The Class of 2020 proudly marches underneath the Memorial Arch
  • The Commandant of RMCC, Brigadier General Sean Friday, salutes the College's newest members
  • The Director of Cadets, Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Renahan, addresses the parade
  • FYOP begins as the first years scramble to find their luggage
  • The Class of 2020 organizes luggage like pros
  • This is just the beginning of FYOP
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