Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel Albert El Tassi proudly wears the uniform and helps make it, too

Article / July 13, 2018 / Project number: 17-0249

Note: to view additional photos, click the photo under Image Gallery.

By Officer Cadet Natasha Tersigni, 38 Canadian Brigade Group Public Affairs

Winnipeg, Manitoba — For the Royal Winnipeg Rifles’ Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel (HLCol) Albert El Tassi, a strong rapport with members is the reason why he continues to work closely with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). HLCol El Tassi’s connection with troops is so strongly engrained because of his philanthropic efforts in support of CAF families as well as in his working life as his company makes the CADPAT (Canadian Disruptive Pattern) uniforms that the members wear.

When HLCol El Tassi immigrated to Canada in 1969 from Lebanon, he began working in the shipping room at Peerless Garments in Winnipeg, a clothing manufacturer that has counted the CAF among its list of clients since the early 1950s. After working his way up in Peerless, HLCol El Tassi took over complete management of the company in 1986 and became President and Chief Executive Officer in 2006.

“The relationship between CAF and Peerless was going on before my time; it began 65 years ago. We have done design and development for products for the Canadian Government including the Army, Navy, Air Force, the RCMP, Canadian Border Service Agency and Transport Canada,” explained HLCol El Tassi.

“Not only have we designed and developed the products, we have been able to capture many tenders to produce the products. We continue to do big business with the federal government at a very high level. Our list of recent products for the CAF includes the combat shirt and trouser, the rain jacket and pants, the extreme cold weather jacket and the sleeping bag.”

Peerless Garments was paramount in combining the Army and Air Force uniforms into one functional uniform, which HLCol El Tassi credits to working closely with soldiers, airmen and airwomen.

“Members from both elements came here and gave their specifications and then we came up with a product both would like for the rain and combat uniforms. We satisfied both the Army and Air Force and saved the government millions of dollars by creating one uniform,” said HLCol El Tassi whose partnership with CAF members extends far from his factory floor.

Navy personnel only wear CADPAT when working on land with Army or Air Force units, but not on ships.

After being asked by then-Chief of the Defence Staff General Rick Hillier in 2006, HLCol El Tassi and his son donated $100,000 to help create the Military Families Fund (MFF), which was an agile and responsive means to provide support to families faced with unforeseen and often immediate needs resulting from conditions of service.

In 2016, the MFF fund amalgamated with the Canadian Forces Personnel Assistance Fund to become the Support our Troops Fund to provide a single official source of charitable support to the CAF Community.

HLCol El Tassi continues to make annual contributions to the Winnipeg Military Family Resource Centre, Yellow Ribbon Gala and several other military-related initiatives.

With his appointment as HLCol in 2013, his work supporting military members and their families continues and now extends to the Canadian Forces Liaison Council and the Royal Winnipeg Rifles Senate.

While he has received many awards and recognition for his philanthropic and business work, it is wearing the uniform that is one of his life’s greatest honours.

 “I have the Order of Canada, the Order of Manitoba, the Golden Jubilee and the Diamond Jubilee medals; I have many awards. One my ultimate achievements is to wear the uniform and to salute Canada; that is a beautiful thing,” said HLCol El Tassi.

“I always loved the uniform and with the appointment of Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel, I ended up being able to wear the actual uniform. I feel ten feet tall when I put it on; I am very proud.”

To comment on this article, visit the Canadian Army's Facebook Notes

Date modified: