Stops along a Canadian Forces Career – These are the places I can remember visiting. Some, like CFB Cold Lake, were visited numerous times.
I’m Steve Daly, and I’m the author of DefenceMuse. Seems fitting to say a little about myself, so…
A little about myself:
I joined the Canadian Armed Forces straight out of high school and served 15 years as an Aircraft Instrument-Electrical Technician. My military experience would lead me through training and into the operational world of the Air Force.
Canadian Forces Base North Bay would be my first posting. I’d had a choice of postings, and 414 (Electronic Warfare) Sqdn struck me like the call of the mythical Sirens. I couldn’t not go there. 414 was fun! We did unusual things, and the Sqdn travelled… a lot!
414 Sqdn in North Bay was followed by four years at CFB Baden Sollingen in West Germany. There I found new challenges. I never actually worked on planes, instead finding employment in the vital, but unlauded, support roles. Two years in the Ground Support Equipment section, fixing all those mysterious machines you see arrayed around an air base Tarmac. Another two years spent as the Aircraft Maintenance Support Equipment Coordinator. My job was to ensure that all the parts and pieces that go into maintenance of the CF-18 Hornet went to the right people.
Germany was followed by a posting to CFB Cold Lake and 441 (Tactical Fighter) Sqdn. Personal and professional issues started to take a toll. For the first time my unit, and my base, weren’t home. I was at work, even when I wasn’t. I fought it, but my career in the military had ended. And I knew it.
I accepted voluntary release under the Force Reduction Plan. It’s an odd dichotomy, railing against what you see as an unwise reduction in military strength, even as your hand is on the handle of the exit.
For a number of years I just… got on with my life. Doing those things that any normal person does in the course of living.
The morning of September 11, 2001 changed that.
As I watched events unfold, I felt physically ill. My time in the service had centred around fighters, and air defence. The fighters weren’t there, not imagining the urgent need for air defence from the threat now being faced. Horror transmuted to anger, and a small ember I hadn’t realized still burned roared into flame.
I needed to contribute, to offer something, anything, to the defence of my Country and our allies. I would find an outlet at CASR (www.casr.ca). I also found that virtually every letter I wrote to the editor of my local paper was not just getting published, but being featured as a ‘Letter of the Day’.
As contributions go, it’s perhaps small. My reach, perhaps, not extending very far. My voice, perhaps, reaching few ears.
It is though, infinitely farther reach, infinitely more listeners and and infinitely greater contribution than had I remained silent.
Thank You, the reader, for helping me to achieve that much.
Cpl. Steve Daly CD, Canadian Forces (Ret’d)