Getting Ready for the Future
The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada has been serving Canada for more than 150 years in peace and in war. Throughout this period the regiment has succeeded in adapting to constant changes in society, technology, and doctrine, while maintaining many of the customs and traditions that make this regiment special.
The soldiers of the Black Watch continue to wear the traditional highland uniform on parade, and wear modern combat uniforms while training for operations. Our soldiers continue to conduct much of their training in a historical building in downtown Montreal. The Armoury has been modernized with technological improvements including an electronic range, network capabilities, and increased security, but it still has the character and class expected of a regiment that has been around longer than our country has existed.
There are many who believe that the operational tempo at the unit will be reduced over the next few years, in part because the 150th Anniversary of the regiment is now behind us, and Canada is withdrawing from operations in Afghanistan. However, the reality is that the next five years will continue to be extremely busy for the entire regimental family. Beyond the continued training activities of the regiment, there are many commemorations and parades that will take place involving our soldiers, Pipes & Drums, and our veterans. These will include anniversaries of battles from 1812, WW1, WW2, and activities surrounding Canada’s 150th Anniversary.
As the Canadian Armed Forces and the regiment transition from operations in Afghanistan, there will be many adjustments to the way we do business at the unit and throughout the chain of command. There will be new equipment, new uniforms, and new training systems that we will all have to adapt to. Throughout this period we will continue to train our soldiers to fight with the latest tactics, techniques and procedures. We will continue to teach our members to be leaders in the military and in the community. We will continue to coach our team to succeed in every task. These three elements focus on the most important asset in the regiment, our people. It is incumbent on the regiment to take care of our soldiers to the best of our abilities in good times and bad. We must help them to develop the skills necessary to succeed in their military and civilian careers, in order to help the regiment to retain and develop our future leaders.
Our soldiers and leaders will continue to adapt to the changing realities of the profession of arms, while maintaining the traditions of a proud and distinguished regiment. Our serving members are proud to be part of this important lineage, while serving their country to the best of their abilities as citizen soldiers. With the continued support of the entire regimental family, we are all looking forward to a challenging period in our history, during which we will not only excel in our military tasks, but also continue to “honour our past” by maintaining our unique culture, traditions and sense of family that have kept this regiment strong throughout its history.
Lieutenant-Colonel Christopher Phare, CD