Westmount Quebec, 29 March 2020: The following letter was sent to all ranks RMR yesterday by the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel John Shone:
|28 March 2020|
Dear Members of RMR Nation (thanks Beezer),
We all received a letter from the Chief of Defence Staff, General Jon Vance. It can be accessed here in English & French: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/maple-leaf/defence/2020/03/march-27-letter-from-cds-regarding-covid-19.html. Please take the time to read it as it contains up-to-date information regarding the status of the Canadian Armed Forces. It is also available on the CAF app, which I suggest you all install on your phones.
So we are living in interesting times. Unprecedented, some say; and certainly no one alive today has lived through a global pandemic. As soldiers, I suspect we all find this both worrisome and exciting.
On the worrisome side, I need to reiterate that our duty – as both citizens and soldiers – is to slow the spread of this virus. What we are defending – and this is very much a defence-in-depth – is our health care system’s capacity to treat severe cases. To defend the healthcare system, we need to reduce all cases in any given time period. This is the notion of flattening the curve. To avoid infection, we need to NOT engage in risky behaviour. I remind you that none of you are immune; or invincible; or immortal. Neither are you invisible. Take the direction on social distancing seriously.
Also, by not engaging in behaviour that would increase your likelihood of becoming infected, we are also accomplishing the operational function of Force Protection. Simply put, we need to stay fit-to-fight.
On the exciting side, we are all Reservists, which means we have volunteered to step up in times of national crisis. We know that happens when the resources of the civil authority are exhausted. If you think about it for a minute, you will realise that the civilian resources that will be exhausted first – both actually and metaphorically – are front-line healthcare workers: nurses and doctors whose day and night jobs are to treat people who have a bad case of COVID-19. How will a bunch of poor bloody infantry be able to help? Simply, by taking over tasks that require no more than a First Aid certificate. That will allow the healthcare system to conduct an economy of effort operation in the sectors we are helping in, thus allowing them to concentrate their forces where their expertise is vital.
What can we do to prepare? If it’s not abundantly clear already: pack your kit, shave your beard, and check your gas mask. Put your name in for deployment, stay healthy, and remain on two hours’ notice to move.
While you’re waiting, complete your online CBRN IBTS training and review your first aid knowledge.
Keep yourself and your family healthy and happy. Be resilient. Look at the positive outcomes of this situation. Enjoy your long hair. And if you’re feeling unhappy, reach out for help. Our Padre, Rici Be, is in service to all of us in this respect.
Finally, keep in touch with friends and family, as well as your chain of command. And most importantly, call your mother. Now.
Other than that, ‘watch and shoot, watch and shoot’.