25-pdr QF gun and original 3BAM crest.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Changing of the Guard

Big Norm Stands Down

I'll start of by admitting that it's been months since I've posted anything new on this blog if only because I've been sort of lazy about writing posts all fall and winter. I should definitely have posted in December when CWO Normand Roberge finally took his retirement from the military after some four decades of service. A retirement with honour ceremony was held for him at 30th Fd in Ottawa, which was attended by a delegation from 3BAM including our Sunray, CWO Gilles Aube, MWO Tom Savoie, WO Gilles Pelletier and of course, yours truly. It was a good thing I brought a camera in fact, since there was supposed to be a DND photographer, but this guy was a no-show.  The photographer was once again...yours truly.

Big Norm fires his final shot.
The MC for the event was 30th Fd's current RSM, Laurent Guyon, recently promoted to the rank that accompanies his position after having held it for some years. Does that sound familiar, Joao Barros? Anyway, pretty much everyone who knows Normand (Big Norm) Roberge has an interesting Norm Roberge story or two to tell. He's not a guy who's easily forgotten. Fittingly enough, my own starts an introduction to the term "grapeshot" at the gentle hands of then Sergeant Norm Roberge, who on my first exercise at Gagetown kept yelling the term at me while I was in charge of ammunition on my gun one day. I had not been properly schooled to understand to understand that it was an order to report our ammo state and had nothing to do whatsoever with the traditional sense of the term. Confused by all this and Big Norm's increasingly irritated tone of voice, I turned to my Number One who explained it to me all while Sergeant Roberge was yelling at him to get a grip his Number Seven.

As befits anyone with four decades of service, there were a lot of awards and souvenirs and letters of commendation and congratulations.

Speaking of stories, 3BAM almost didn't get there. The fact that we found the location at all was entirely due to my navigation with the aide of my iPhone and Google maps which I finally decided to use in earnest after we'd floundered around for a while in the wrong part of town. I shouldn't be too smug though as I later got myself accidentally locked out of the armoury when going to the cloakroom to get something in my coat. I tried calling on Sunray for help using my phone but do my despair, he'd left his own phone in his minivan and I had to walk around the armoury to and pound on the mess window to get them to let me back in through another door. It's a good thing it's a prefab structure with only one floor: if like with most armouries, the mess was up on a second floor I would have been locked out for a lot longer.

Anyway, my little mishap notwithstanding, it was a fun event and as is almost always the case with such events, I saw someone I have not seen in many years, in this case John Fortin, now a warrant officer in the regular force and and AIG at Gagetown. Stand Down Big Norm. Job well done!

2RCA Has a New CO

Lcol Garon prepares to walk out on the parade square at CDN for the last time
Nearly two years ago when Joao Barros was finally promoted to Chief Warrant Officer as befits the position he had held for some years, I predicted that Sylvie Pelletier would be the next CO and that Joao would still be there to be her RSM.  Last May 23rd, I was proven correct. I can't really say all that much about Colonel Pelletier as she was just beginning her career as I was in my last year in the regiment. Interestingly she joined the first year that we were admitting women into the combat arms,and I was the course warrant the for the first course in which we trained women to be gunners, though having already been made an officer cadet by the time we ran the course, she wasn't on it. Out battery commander in 7th Battery at the time was then Major David
Patterson, now a Brigadier-General, the tallest guy in the picture. Standing next to him the rear row of the photo is then Colonel (ret) Michel Pronkin who commanded the regiment at the time and gave our course a lot of support when we needed it. Next to him in the rear row is L/Col Joe Lewis, then the DCO and next to Lieutenant-Colonel Pelletier stands RSM Joao Barros, then a bombardier with already 16 years of service at the time, and now the longest serving member of the unit.

Lcol Pelletier, having assumes command of the parade.
We congratulate Colonel Pelletier on her promotion, and I think all of us feel she'll be kick-ass CO. I think we all want to thank outgoing CO Richard Garon for his incredible dedication in assuming command for the last two years of a unit that's easily four hours driving time from his home in Lévis, Qc. we congratulate him on his recent promotion to full colonel and wish him all the best of luck in his new headquarters post.

3BAM was present of course to fire  a salute to the Colonel Commandant of Artillery, retired Brigadier General J.J. Selbie and to fire a salute to the outgoing CO, Colonel Richard Garon.  We were joined on the occasion by two retired 6RAC members CWO (ret) Paulin Roland and Sgt (ret) Simon Morissette who'd we'd run into last year at Lévis-Lauzon.

Once again, it was the regiment's honourary colonel, Charles de Kovachich who put all the money out of his own pocket to make certain that I was on hand to capture the moment. There were three other photographers present, including one from the DND, but I'll be damned if we've seen more than one or two of the photos. Rather than talk on and on about it however, I simply dedicate the rest of this entry to posting photos with a few words about what's in them.

Col (H) Charles de Kovachich recites regimental history to invited guests before the parade. 

Col (H) De Kovachich is presented an award for his outstanding work by the Colonel Commandant, Bgen (ret) J.J. Selbie.

Outgoing CO Lcol Richard Garon receives a presentation from RSM Barros

Bgen (ret) Selbie addresses the guests before the mess dinner. 

Left to right: Lcol (ret) Bill Cloutier, Lcol (ret) Joe Lewis, Lcol Michel Bourque, Lcol (ret) Jim Brazill, Lcol Sylvie Pelletier, Col Bill Kalogerakis.


Gary Menten

Thursday, August 28, 2014

In For The Long Haul

Group photo of all the participants at the end of the 2nd day.
Bogart the Cat
I have to admit that I approached the mission to Fort Ingall with mixed feelings. On the one hand, we were trying many new things for the first time, and a number of these were quite dear to me. I wanted to see how well 3BAM could carry it off. On the other hand, Fort Ingall is in Cabano, Qc, pretty damned close to the New Brunswick border and a hell of a long drive from Montreal. I knew it would not be an easy mission and it would take me away from Bogart, my attention-craving kitty  for much longer than he or I would like. Bogart does not like to be far from me, and even as I write this, he is curled up on the chair beside my own, never wanting to be too far from Poppa. He does not like to be left alone all day, and even though I had someone look in on him a couple of times every day, he was very happy to see me get home.

Lunch on Friday
I digress. I knew it would be a demanding mission, but I also knew it would take as many people out there as possible. Sunray couldn't be there in person because he was marrying off his youngest daughter, and so WO (ret) Gilles Pelletier was in charge. That was an enlightened choice. Gilles put in a huge amount of personal effort, while at the same time letting everyone else do what they do best. I gotta say that stress levels were pretty damned low the whole damned weekend. This helped make up for the long ride there and back, the massive amount of work and the bloody hot weather, to boot. Our biggest enemy was flies, who though absent on the first day, came out in force and were omnipresent on the second.

Oh! and there were no damned ice cubes to be found anywhere in the fort for my (after hours) Crown
Sign at the Motel Jasper.
Royal on the rocks which along with having to share an 1830's style barracks room with several loudly snoring participants the first night, the lack of sleep we incurred because of this, and the gallons of sweat we put out because of the late summer heat, was enough to convince Lcol (ret) Bégin and myself to sally forth and find air-conditioned motel rooms with showers at the end of the first day. We were lucky and found reasonably priced rooms in highway motel 15 minutes from the fort. We were worried we might have to drive all the way to Riviere du Loup, but fortunately, finding a place so close to Cabano, allowed us to join the others who were either staying in the fort or had found hotel rooms in Cabano for supper at a pub by the waterfront in Cabano. I'm glad we did because we had a really good time there.
Denis Dumas and Monique Champagne share a laugh.  

The post commander questions his men.
But on with the mission! I have to say that from my perspective, everything went really well. Everyone present put in a great deal of effort and everything new that we tried out for the first time; bringing a decomissioned Lee-Enfield rifle, a little sound system to sync with my iPhone to play military an period music, soliciting donations in return for firing the gun, having field telephones to play with...all turned out to be good ideas which I believe we will expand upon in future missions of this nature. Spirits were high the whole weekend and there were no mishaps whatsoever that I witnessed. Also...I know where to rent a hotel room if I return next summer. Plus, I think we made a few new friends along the way.

Vintage Tannoy mike and switchboard.
What more could I have wished for? Well, more spectators for one thing. That was the one downer of the whole mission; we were promised a lot of spectators and there just weren't an awful lot on either day, though more than on Saturday then on the Friday. Still, given how long a trip we made to get there, it was pretty disappointing to see so few people turn out for the performance. It's also the second long trip we've made this summer for a demonstration with not a lot of spectators. The other was the trip to Levis-Lauzon. So while I think everyone did an excellent job, I'd have serious reservations about returning next year if asked. That decision--whether 3BAM returns or not-- is not mine to make however. Sunray will decide this, and while I speak only for myself and no other member, it will take a lot of convincing to persuade me to return should the invitation come up again.

Perhaps I should close on a more positive note, remarking that despite the generally disappointing turnout, we did make some new contacts and I hope some new friends among the participants. 3BAM member Tom Savoie is in fact an Acadian himself and met among the participants, in this case, the Micmacs, people who were acquainted with his relatives. (I'd have to go all the way to Belgium for that...) That has to be fun. Lcol Bégin, being a very sociable guy who likes to talk to just about anybody, spent the better part of both days touring the other camps and chatting with members of the various other groups participating. I didn't get to spend quite a lot of time talking to others, except perhaps when I was
Tom Savoie dusts off the post commander's tunic after he fired a shot.
giving explanations of our equipment or artillery methods, but towards the end, just as we were getting to leave, one of the fellows from the Régiment de Languedoc commented to me on how well-organized we appeared to be. This was a real compliment as far as I was concerned, and one I had to pass on to Sunray when I got home. We don't come at all close to the reenactment groups when it comes to the historical accuracy of our personal kit and much of our equipment. This is understandable because we aren't really reenactors ourselves. Still, having a degree in history, I wish we could come closer to their standards. But where we excel, being mostly ex military, is organization. have to say from my own observations of the weekend that I thought pretty much everyone went right about their jobs without having to be told what to do and that is another thing I will be passing on to Sunray.

A few other things that need to be commented on before I end this post. Where on most long events, our numbers tend to decline after the first day as we all have personal lives and can't always give up entire weekends, during this event, not only did no-one have to leave before it was over, but we were
Tom Savoie shares a word with Michel Grenier.
actually reinforced on the second day when Lcol Borne, Ocdt Robert Ouellet, Sgt Marc Castonguay and his son Bdr Francis Castonguay were present along with Michel Grenier, a new member, dressed for this occasion in an RCAF uniform, having as of yet no other.  Marc Castonguay, full of energy and laughs jumped into the spirit of things immediately, often donning a helmet and picking up the Lee Enfield to carry out what he called "patrols" but were in fact charm offensives designed to bring young ladies onto our position. He and Lsgt Denis Dumas both spent a bit of time doing sentry duty by the fort gate, on their own initiative, beside the fort's own guard. Now that was cool! We also had a lot of fun playing with the field phones, pretending to order (or be trying to order) pizza or Chinese take-out. A favorite line of mine when answering was "Non Madame, ce n'est pas la Boucherie Sanzot." You might have to be a "Tintin" fan to get that joke however.

Marc "Casanova" Castonguay was a hit with the ladies.
What could we have done better? There were probably a few things like not waiting until it started to rain to set up the awning beside the FAT which was supposed to have been set up for shelter from both the SUN and rain right from the start and the trip up, and the fact that we traveled in separate groups at separate times illustrated the need for better communications between the group. Usually this isn't a problem because Sunray is more often present then not and he has everyone's phone number, but he wasn't present and this led to some anxious moments for Col Bégin and I on the trip up as we tried to contact someone to make sure we could get into the fort at our 01:30 ETA.

I also don't see the point of members being told to wear their medals (as opposed to their service ribbons) on any occasion where we set up a camouflage net and the sort of gear that would only be used in the field. It not only looks silly, it's a good way to soil or even ruin your medals. Sunray is fond of saying that 3BAM is 100% ceremonial and that's why, but in my opinion, that's simply asurd. If it were true, we should have been there with swords and white belts instead of cam nets, field phones and artillery table. 3BAM is 100% about performances and entertaining the crowd with cannon shot. Sometimes the context is ceremonial. At other it's more historical, and at others still, such as when we fire the starting gun for some race or other, it can't really be said to be either. Macbeth and Hamlet are both excellent plays but it's madness to recite lines from one when performing the other.  These are things that warrant more discussion within 3BAM.


Gary Menten,
Photogapher and Blogmaster-General
Once a sergeant....


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Heat Wave

The Gang
When the CO of the 2nd Field Regiment asks for 3BAM to participate in something, we proudly shout “Ubique” and do as he asks, no matter how difficult the task. Saturday July 19th, 2014 was that type of occasion. Lcol Garon who lives in Levis, 3BAM a while ago if we would be so kind as to participate in a reenactment / reconstruction of the Levis-Lauzon military camp that he was organizing. This is where much of the militia training was done in Quebec before the opening of the Valcartier military base in 1914. Now this mission would require us to get up really early on a Saturday morning, (03.00AM in my case) leave CDN around 05.30-06.00AM with a gun and tractor on a flatbed, drive out to Levis, set up, spend the day there before packing up late afternoon and returning to Montreal. It was about 21.15 when I got home....

That’s one long, hot day for 3BAM and a lot of work, but we just couldn’t refuse the CO who does

Salute at flag lowering ceremony.
the commute between Levis, Montreal and back once or twice a week in order to perform his duties. It was also an excellent opportunity to make contact with Quebec-based reenactment groups. Although we aren’t reenactors in 3BAM, we have a lot in common with them, including a commitment to teaching living history and frankly, the need to obtain authentic period equipment. This event gave us the opportunity to make useful contacts. It’s also 100% consistent with our stated aims of honouring our war veterans, teaching artillery history and maintaining artillery tradition.

Reenactors representing the 22nd Bn, CEF.
I have to say that I enjoyed the occasion very much. To begin with, things went pretty well according to plan. There were no major SNAFU’s or problems encountered. We left the armoury a little later than planned, but that’s about all I counted. As always, 3BAM was THE crowd-pleaser, making the biggest bang. I’m not knocking the various reenactment groups present; they all did their parts and frankly, their dress and kit is significantly more period accurate than ours, but when it comes to making noise and smoke, which is what people like to see, a 25pdr gun with a half-pound charge of black powder is hard to beat.

I have to admit though, that the reenactors did have some cool stuff and were kind enough to let
Lsgt Denis Dumas shoulders a Bren Gun
3BAM members pose for photos with their Bren Gun and PIAT, or to pose themselves for my photos. I could frankly, not fault them on their appearance and uniforms, which looked super and yes, much less comfortable in the stifling July heat than 3BAM’s lightweight Italian Campaign-style uniforms. I felt the heat plenty while dressed in a khaki-drill bush jacket with sleeves rolled and lightweight trousers so I shudder to think what the poor blokes wearing long-sleeved wool uniforms with buttoned collars might have been feeling like and even that must pale compared to having to fight a battle in those uniforms in summer weather. Blechhh! Doubtless this is why in so many photos, gunners are stripped to the waist while manning the guns in battle.

3BAM in action, pleasing the audience.
I want to mention here that there was one unexpected perk to participating in this mission; the long
drives to and from Levis gave those of us riding up in Sunray’s vehicle the opportunity to share in some rollicking good laughs along the way, especially along the way back. Despite being tired, everyone knew we’d accomplished our mission with the collective certainty that 3BAM was the star of this event (not to denigrate the others) and there was much discussion about lessons learned and how we could improve our performance if we were ever asked to do this again, or even at our next public event.

Now for a few weeks of well-earned rest and summer vacation for all of us!


Gary Menten,

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dressing For The Weather.

The Big Barbecue
A lot of people would have spent much of the weekend of May 30-June 01 having a barbecue. I suppose that in a way, so did I, except that the thing being barbecued was me, and no beer was served. I'd been looking for my sun block the night before but couldn't find it and figured what the heck? We were only going to be in the Old Port for an hour or so, and there are trees there to provide shade. Well, if you read my previous post, "TTBR" you'd know we were there a lot longer and that I didn't spend much time in the shade. I burn easily and should have known better.

Wearing my "Stupid" Hat

Mistake #2 was to wear my wedge cap instead of my KD service dress cap with its visor to protect my face and eyes. I ordered the wedge cap because I found it difficult to operate a camera with the
No brainer: which hat would you rather wear?
SD cap and because I HATE berets, especially the big floppy WWII ones. The Canadian Army has incidentally, adopted many stupid and or useless forms of headgear over the years, primarily to emulate the British Army who adopted them first; berets (crappy protection, no two look the same), bearskins, (I'm glad I don't have to wear one)  the wedge cap (looks cool, especially the coloured ones, but offer terribly crappy protection,) and my personal favorite "stupid" hat the pillbox which offer worse protection than any of the above, with the added benefit of reminding everyone of a bellhop or a cigarette-girl in a nightclub, or an organ-grinder's monkey.

1950's Bush Cap
Yes, yes, I know...they were all emulating military dress to begin with but stupidity isn't limited to the military. I think that the first truly sensible piece of military headdress issued to Canadian troops between the Boer War and the Cold War was the old Olive green bush cap of the 1950's, though military conservatives were still quite insistent that we could adorn it with a large and very visible brass cap badge.
It must be warm under that hat.

When it comes to uncomfortable hats though, especially in hot weather, I can't think of anything worse than the bearskins worn by the guards regiments and part of the 2 R22R when in full dress. British Foot Guards regiments earned the right to wear these tall impractical things in the final stages of the battle of Waterloo where Maitland's Brigade went toe to toe with and repelled five battalions of the chasseurs and grenadiers of Napoleon's Imperial Guard. Naturally, we adopted the same dress for our own regiments of foot guards and not wishing to insult anyone who wears this uniform, when looking at these poor blighters dressed like this on a hot summer day, all I think of saying is "Better them than me." Seriously...it's nice to have khaki-drill uniforms in the sort of weather we usually have in Montreal during the summer months when 3BAM is most active.
Monique Champagne, Maurice Noreau and Jaques Borne prepare wreaths.

We had three salutes to fire in two days that weekend; The first in the Old Port,  I have already written about in my previous post. The other two, held respectively on Sunday morning on Mount Royal and The Field Of Honour in Pointe Claire made for a long hot day, at the end of which came gun maintenance. The missions went off without a hitch this time, and I, along with pretty much everyone else loaded up on sun block, especially when we got to Pointe Claire where we had a two-hour wait before shooting in a place with little shade. 

We had a lot of members present, especially in Pointe Claire. Security was much less of a problem than in the Old Port, largely because neither ceremony is well-publicized and both are held in places that are not especially easy to find. I'd go so far as to say, well-hidden. This means fewer people wandering by in search of perforated eardrums, but it also means fewer people whom we can make aware of our general existence. Unlike the Old Port ceremony, in which no-one who happened by was previously aware of what the ceremony was about, everyone in the cemeteries was there specifically for the ceremonies. I will also take the opportunity to mention here that Maj. Chantal Berubé of the 2nd Field Regt, RCA commanded the honour guard for the ceremony.
Tom Savoie and Denis Dumas offering different salutes.

One thing I did notice is that we are not all saluting the same way. See photo, right. I started something last year by arguing arguing vehemently that when dressed in WWII dress, we should all be saluting they way we did in WWII, with the palm of the hand showing. The other salute, force by all services by unification in 1968, was only used by the navy prior to that date. We are army, not navy runs my argument, and so when in KD, we should use the pre-1968 salute. It also  (in my opinion) looks much smarter, snappier, to use the old salute. Unfortunately, we've never really settled the issue and it seems the older members who joined before 1968 have taken to this notion, while the younger ones haven't... not yet anyway, but I'll continue to try to convince everyone to salute the correct way, as I insist on doing myself.

Lcol Mikkola fires the 25pdr. Will Gallant, wearing his new KD uniform for the first time stands ready in the foreground.
Denis Dumas hoses down the barrel
Will Gallant and Marc Castonguay pressure wash the gun.
But as the title of the post is "Dressing For The Weather" the photos will prove that dressed as we were, in the KD uniforms that our Sunray, CWO (Ret) Gilles Aubé wisely chose for us, there could have been nobody at these ceremonies more comfortably dressed than 3BAM.

At the end of the day though, came the maintenance. We couldn't put it off until Tuesday since the parade square at CDN had to be cleared for rehearsals for a Brigade change of command parade being held the next weekend...so the long day got longer. It gave me the opportunity however to snap a few photos of the grungy side of 3BAM's operations. I thought that these worked better in black and white, which is why they are presented here in this manner. it takes a lot of dedication for these unpaid volunteers to give up as much of their free time to doing this stuff. Many gave up both their Saturday and Sunday to fire the salutes. Several live a good distance from Montreal and have a long journey both to come in to CDN and a long journey home at the end of the day. All of us used to get paid to do stuff like this when we were in the army. Now our only reward is knowing that we did a good thing, and I suppose, having a good time together while doing it.


Gary Menten,
Once-a Sergeant and,
Burnmaster-General etc.

Saturday, May 31, 2014


Most people reading this probably don't need this explained, but if you didn't come up in the artillery, in our arm of the service, "Time To Be Ready" aka TTBR-- the time you must be ready to shoot-- is not negotiable. When your TTBR is 13.00 hrs, 13.01 is not acceptable. That's how it works. How you make it happen is your problem. Got it? Now I know that 3BAM is not a real military unit, but we're mostly old gunners and if if you know anyone more stuck-up and by-the-book about punctuality and precision than a guy who was twice RSM of a field artillery regiment (i.e. our Sunray), then I'd like to meet him. Seriously....TTBR is just as important to 3BAM as it is to anyone else who wears a gunner badge. We take it to heart. We can't but do otherwise. Once a gunner.....

Where was the Navy?
3BAM members scan the horizon, waiting for the navy.
But where was the Navy? We were deployed in the Old Port for the annual event to honour veterans of what I consider the WWII's most important battle; the Battle of the Atlantic, which if we had lost, everyone in Europe would be speaking either German or Russian by now (I haven't decided which but that's another matter.) Let's not digress too much. We were there over an hour early with plenty of time to rehearse drills, greet passersby and tourists and explain what was going on, pose for pictures, have lunch...but when the appointed hour came and we stood too our posts, ready to shoot....nothing. Not a sailor in sight. People had gathered around, waiting to watch us shoot...but nothing. Things were very behind schedule with the bateau-mouche on which the ceremony was being held.  They were more than an hour late and by the time the finally showed up, a good many people that had stuck around to watch us shoot had given up and moved on.

Making the Best of the Situation.

A young lady originally from Russia happily poses while wearing one of my hats.
This was the second mission in a row in which 3BAM was ready long before we were called to shoot. In a sense, not a good thing, but in this case, it was sort of a blessing in disguise. The delay gave us more time to mingle with and explain the 25-pdr gun, 3BAM, the Royal Canadian Artillery, and why we old farts in 3BAM who could be spending our Saturday afternoon having a barbecue instead of doing this are doing this instead of having a barbecue. It was the perfect moment to pose for photos, pass out our card and answer a myriad of questions from curious onlookers. As they guy who mostly manages 3BAM's publicity, I couldn't ask for a better screw up, and I have to say that all the other members took the opportunity to heart, happily posing for photos with spectators, answering their questions and doing what we do best; promoting the Royal Canadian Artillery. Ubique!

I am right now wondering how many of the many people I had pose wearing the spare hat I brought along for the purpose have already posted their photos to their Facebook pages or to Instagram. A lot I hope, and I hope that at least a few are checking out out blog to find out what we are all about. I made a special effort myself to speak at length a lovely group of very interested American tourists; after all, it isn't just our branch of the service we want to promote, but our city and our country. When people vist here from anywhere in the world, I would like for them to leave saying "Wow! Montreal was awesome!"

All's Well That Ends Well
Did I mention that the boat finally showed up and we fired the salute, much to the enjoyment of the many spectators who had gathered? So mission accomplished and in the end, I was grateful for the extended opportunity to mix it up with all the curious people in the Old Port who had so many questions about us and what we were doing. I can't think of a better way to bring attention to Canadian veterans or promote the regiment than what we had the opportunity to do today.

Another two missions tomorrow.


Gary Menten
3BAM Photographer and,
Once-a sergeant, long ago.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Well-Dressed Gunner

All 3BAM members are required to (eventually) acquire a 1943 era reproduction uniform as worn by the 1st Canadian Division in Sicily and Italy in 1943. Members may however wear any service decorations or insignia they earned while in military service.

Required Uniform.
The 1943 uniform below  is the ONLY one that members are REQUIRED to obtain.  
1943 dress.
Complete uniform costs approx. $300

MWO (WO class II) and below

Khaki beret 
(WPG cat #204505000) C/W brass king’s crown badge (ebay, surplus etc.) 

Aertex desert shirt 

(WPG cat #201214000)

Khaki drill (KD) desert shorts 

(WPG Cat #20126500)

KD long trousers 

(WPG cat #20132500)

Web belt 

(WPG cat #204738000)

Regimental belt plate**

Khaki socks 

(WPG cat #203091000)


(WPG cat #204477000)

Black ammunition boots 

(WPG cat #201501000)
modern parade boots acceptable (army surplus)

Rank and divisional badge will be worn on an armlet on the right arm. 

(We usually provide an armlet or brassard and appropriate rank and unit badges) 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Phases Of War

Ask any francophone soldier in the Canadian military what the four phases of war are, and if he's been around long enough his answer will be as follows.


'pis on recommence

MWO (Ret) Tom Savoie tells a story as we wait.
Denis Dumas has a chuckle while waiting in the garage.
Anglophones might say something similar, but it sounds better in French. The ancient Romans probably said much the same thing.

Contra ordines,
Repetitur provincia

Like I said, it works better in French.  The army never really changes and this simple little set of rules very neatly summed up 3BAM's evening on May 3rd when we set up a 25-pdr beside the CDN Armoury at 18:30 hrs to allow guests at the Candlelight Dinner organized by the RCH to fire it at 19:00, only to be told that as it was raining (just a bit) we would be shooting out back, just outside the garage door, and no sooner were we set up there than we were told that the shooting would be done much later that night...between 21:00-21:30 hrs. In the event, we didn't start shooting until 22:00hrs, which must have really annoyed the neighbors. I damned-well know that if my next door neighbor were firing artillery in his driveway at 10:00PM, I'd call the police to complain. That might be why I counted two police cars in the armoury parking lot as Will Gallant and I left the building to go home once everything was over. On the other hand, maybe they were just looking for a stray cat, right?

Marc Castonguay and Gilles Pelletier exchange stories.
But basically, someone upstairs, and methinks that someone was wearing a blue uniform and cavalry epaulettes forgot that the guys sitting in the garage for two-and-a-half hours were unpaid volunteers who could have packed up and gone home at any time. We didn't of course; we wouldn't let down our affiliated regiment or CO that way, I have to admit that it isn't as though the thought didn't cross my mind. Then you see, I only showed up at around 17.30 to begin with. Many of the others had been at the armoury since ten in the morning because the cadet corps we directly support was having its annual ceremonial that day.

Poster-boy Marc Castonguay
As we were sitting around in the garage shooting the breeze, a message was relayed to me that my presence was being requested in the mess, presumably to shoot photos. It sounded suspiciously like an order actually, except that since I was here as part of 3BAM and not in the pay of anyone in particular that night, and that most of 3BAMwas sitting in the garage, largely being ignored, I stayed with 3BAM and shot the photos you are seeing here and a couple more for eventual use on the uniforms section of our website. Time is only as good as what you make of it. Marc Castonguay was good enough to pose for these and he makes a good poster boy.

Sgt (Ret) Marc Castonguay: The army never changes; only the names and faces.
All being this being said, I'm sure we all had a good time, and the moment of truth, what makes it all worthwhile, is when the gun gets fired. This I know from the reactions of the spectators and the lucky few guests who got to fire, was a big success. After the shooting was completed, Lcol Garon, the CO of the 2nd Field Regiment, as per his custom, came over to shake hands with and personally thank every 3BAM member present, which of course is a very appreciated gesture, especially given how long we had to sit around and wait for our moment. I'm sure if this event had been run by the 2nd Field, we would have shot at 19:30hrs and been on our way home at 20:15.

I digress, but the gist of the story is that while things didn't quite go according to our expectations, 3BAM did its job as always and came through. The loudest grumblings I heard that night were my own. And in the end, I got the opportunity to shoot some interesting photos of the gang: photos I would have had the chance to shoot if we had fired earlier and simply gone home.


Gary Menten
Photographer and,
Grumbler-in-Chief, 3BAM

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Even At The Last Minute

Even when the call comes at the last minute, 3BAM Sunray Gilles Aubé is loathe to turn down a request that 3BAM fire a shot or two in support of some regimental function. We live rent free at CDN, so it makes good sense to bust a gut when the CO requests it. That's sort of what happened this

But somehow, despite only getting the request the day before, Sunray was still able to scrape up Gilles Pelletier, Michel Lepage, and Denis Dumas at the last minute in order to do the job. As a consequence, three of the lucky guests got to fire the Mk1 25-pdr gun that night after members of the regiment had spent the evening teaching them about and letting them get their hands on some of the cool equipment they use as part of their jobs.
The guests who got to shoot pose with the detachment.
Tues, Apr 15th when the regiment hosted an event organized by Canada Company. I was already bound to be there, in the service of Charles de Kovachich, the unit's outstanding Honourary Colonel, who had personally booked me at his own expense in order to get photos of the event for the guests to have as souvenirs. No mention of 3BAM in this, and in any case, Sunray had only come back from France a few days earlier where the previous week was spent repainting the guns we have as monuments at Juno Beach. But Sunray just isn't programmed to accept "no" for an answer or offer it as a reply so the shots got fired and the job got done. Ubique!

Bdr Morad Nemmaoui gave instruction on the C3 howitzer.
Not to steal anybody's thunder though, the success of this event was more owing to the participation of many members of the 2nd Field Regiment, including the DCO, Maj Sylvie Pelletier, 50 Bty BC Maj Chantal Berubé, and many junior members who ran the simulators or gave instruction on the C3 howitzer.

Once it was all over, it was up to the mess for drinks and a laugh or two and a jolly good time for all.


Gary Menten
Photographer, 3 BAM
Once a sergeant, 2RCA (long ago)