ARCHIVED - New Army Sergeant Major Alain Guimond takes up official duties on June 18, 2015

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Article / June 17, 2015 / Project number: 15-0082

Toronto, Ontario — Incoming Army Sergeant Major CWO Alain Guimond settles in to talk about his new job working with the Commander Canadian Army, beginning on June 18, 2015. CWO Guimond just ran 12 km over the lunch hour but shrugs it off as routine:  “I do that quite often,”  he says.

So it’s probably no surprise that a personal passion he brings to his new role is the belief that fundamentals training and physical fitness are the underpinnings of a good combat soldier.

Straight off the farm at 17 years old in Sainte-Blandine in rural Quebec, he signed up for the Army in Rimouski.  He went to recruit school in St-Jean and finished first in the NQ3 (DP1) combat engineer trade course.  So he signed up for another three years after his first year in the Youth Training Employment Program. Thirty-two years later, he has never looked back nor questioned the career choice he made.

 “I love the Army life,” Guimond says.  “I almost never worked outside the Army in my whole career, except once I was an instructor at Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School and a second time as student for a year in Kingston on the Knowledge Acquisition program at RMC [Royal Military College] in Kingston.”   

A career combat engineer who moved up through the ranks, CWO Guimond has credentials as a combat diver and as a parachutist. He dove for 21 years as a combat diver on various taskings such as sabotage exercises, reconnaissance missions, clearing mines and assisting in search and recovery operations.

There were more difficult assignments, as well. He was the point person who worked on sending teams of Army divers to assist in the recovery after Swissair 111 flight went down in the Atlantic Ocean near Nova Scotia in 1998. 

 “The combat engineer is a very important trade for the Army. The mission in Afghanistan proved that. For me, it is all about the mission. When you finish a mission, you are pretty proud of that,” he says.   “My priority will always be the mission. And to accomplish the mission, I am a firm believer that we need to take care of our soldiers.” 

 “No soldiers. No mission,” he adds.

CWO Guimond has had five deployments during his Army career: one tour in Afghanistan and four in Bosnia. In 2006, when he became a Chief Warrant Officer, he says he thought to himself,   “Well that’s pretty good but I’m not going any further. I am at the top and I am happy with that.” 

Then he started making his way in senior appointments as a CWO.  One day he was asked how he would feel about allowing his name to stand for Army Sergeant Major and he felt comfortable with that. He was invited to the competitive process for the position. When he learned he was selected for the post a few weeks later,   “I was pleased and honoured.” 

CWO Guimond is looking forward to the job and hopes he will have some influence over soldiers about the things he is passionate about.

The first, of course, is his belief in the importance of physical fitness. But he is also interested in communications and getting the Commander’s message to members.

 “A big focus for me will be to help the Commander bring his message to the troops,”  he says.   “Also I am a very proud Senior NCO [Non-commissioned Officer] and I see them as the backbone of the Army. I see them as the “translators” between the officers and the troops to give orders and get things done and would like to reaffirm the importance of that role.” 

He already believes in and lives the Army motto of “Strong, Proud, Ready.”

We should all be very proud of wearing this uniform,”  he said. “Just recently, I travelled to a 33-member international Army Sergeant Major conference in Slovenia. While I was there, I could see the esteem in which the Canadian Army (CA) is held by many other countries around the world. It made me very proud.” 

He shares his life with his second wife, who is former military and a public servant for 35 years. CWO Guimond has a daughter from his first marriage who is a registered nurse. He is proud to say that of his two step-sons, one is now in the military police and the other has followed in his footsteps as a combat engineer. It is a uniformed family, he says, and CWO Guimond is very proud of this.  

Is CWO Guimond forging a military legacy of his own?   “You know, I have no other military in my family before me. I joined up. I loved it. I have risen through the ranks and now I am here. It has been a very good life for me.

When asked if it is fair to describe him as “all Army, all the time,” he chuckles.

Maybe I am,” he says,”  “but what I really believe in is the importance of the Canadian Armed Forces to Canada and of course, the Army is the biggest part of that. I am a very proud soldier!” 

There’s little doubt CWO Guimond will use this three-year posting to spread the message of “Strong, Proud, Ready” while working with and on behalf of the Commander Canadian Army. 

 “Strong means our soldiers getting physically fit and mentally strong,” says CWO Guimond.   “Proud is when our soldiers wear that CA uniform and the Canadian flag. When our soldiers are Strong and Proud, they will be Ready to accomplish any mission the Canadian government will ask us to do.” 

By Margot MacPherson Brewer, Army Public Affairs

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