36-years of service: LCol George Siket retires

LCol (ret’d) George Siket posing in front of the Queen’s Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2013

Westmount, Quebec – 28 April 2021: Lieutenant-Colonel George Siket will be adding “retired” to his list of military achievements after today when he becomes a civilian for the first time in 36-years. In a ‘Departure with Dignity’ ceremony held as a hybrid in-person and virtual event, the highlights of his career and service to the RMR and the CAF were reviewed for all attendees. What came out loud and clear was his deep love of family, country, the Canadian Armed Forces, and the Regiment.

Captain George Siket (right), posing with the RMR camp flag with fellow RMR Captains Nic Gauthier (left) and Tony Petrelli, in Kandahar, Afghanistan 2007.

Several mementoes were presented, including a Canadian flag that was flown over the RMR’s armoury on 10 April 2021, which – not by coincidence – was LCol Siket’s birthday!

The RMR Foundation caught up with LCol (ret’d) Siket to ask him about his 36-year career and share his reflections.

Group photo, Valcartier, 1986

Born in Montreal, Quebec, LCol (ret’d) Siket first joined the Black Watch in March 1986 where had a successful career as an NCO before transferring to the RMR in the summer of 1998. He was working with LCol (ret’d) Harry Hall, a former CO of the RMR, at Air Canada at the time and was encouraged to join the RMR and apply to be an officer, which he did successfully.

Captain Siket serving as Rappel Master

His military qualifications are almost too many to list: Grizzly (AVGP) Driver, Machine Gunner, Basic Assault Pioneer, Small Arms Coach (SAC), Small Arms Instructor (SAIC), ISCC, Rappel Master, SLC, Inf 6B, Ph3 (Inf – Winter serial), Winter Warfare, LOSV, Combat First Aid, Tactical CIMIC, OPME, JOSC, ATOC, AOC, and JCSP (P1&2), CSSP.

Sergeant George Siket serving in Bosnia, 1993

Always with a thirst for adventure, he has deployed overseas numerous times, the first being in 1993 with 2R22R on Op CAVALIER in Bosnia. In 2006 he deployed to Afghanistan as part of 1CMBG’s PsyOps Support Unit as part of Op ARCHER, serving in Kandahar with 3R22R (FO 4-12). He returned to Afghanistan in 2012-13 as the NTM-A Deputy G7, as part of Op ATTENTION, serving in Kabul.

2Lt George Siket possibly regretting his life choices on Phase III Infantry, Winter 2001

His Domestic Operations include Op VERGLAS in 1998 (the Quebec Ice Storm relief), and he led the Tactical Reserve Company for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as part of Op PODIUM.

Major George Siket (left) with the RMR members of his Op PODIUM Tactical Reserve Company, Vancouver Olympics, 2010

When asked what advice he might have for young soldiers who are currently serving, he replied: “Soldiers with a civvy job: never hesitate to ask your employer for time off. Take every opportunity to go on long exercises, courses and deployments. The only thing your boss can say is yes, or no (worst case). You have nothing to lose, just everything to gain!”

Captain George Siket serving as the Queen’s colour ensign, marching in front of the RMR’s regimental church, St. Mathias in Westmount, 2004.

Responding to what he liked the MOST about serving with the RMR was “The camaraderie and the spirit of the Regt, especially the ethos of Setting the Standard”, and he also noted candidly what he liked the LEAST about his regimental service: “We have a hard time retaining talent and succession planning (both officers and Senior NCOs)”.

Capt Siket conducting a PsyOps leaflet drop over the Arghandab Valley, Afghanistan

The coolest things that he remembers doing during his service? “Firing a nightimee FPF with full tracers and rappelling from a helicopter at 100 feet in full marching order”.

Conducting a briefing with Major Colin Robinson as part of the ‘famous’ self-named Wolverine Battle Group, Valcartier 2004. Note the completely unauthorized use of homemade patches: clearly the RMR was ahead of its time, yet again.

When asked for his favourite memory of serving with the RMR, it was all about being in the field “Really hard to say . . . Being in the field on some exciting exercises/MILCONs. The Ex we organized in Fort Knox, and the live fire ranges at Fort Drum.”

Sergeant George Siket (second from right, middle row), serving as an instructor for the RMR’s Pre-ISCC course, 1999

His final thoughts upon reflecting on his 36-years of service are “Thanks for the memories and the opportunities to experience so many adventures. I am forever grateful to Col Harry Hall for his offer to transfer to the RMR and take my commission. Without his offer, my life would have been very, very different and I wouldn’t have all these great memories”.

Sergeant George Siket serving as Rappel Master at the Cote-des-Neiges armoury, 1999

LCol (ret’d) George Siket lives in Nepean with his wife Katalin and their three children. He will be continuing to serve Canada as a civilian employee of DND.

George and Katalin Siket at the Army Ball in 2014

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