19 Wing welcomes new honorary colonel

News Article / July 16, 2019

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From 19 Wing Comox

Colonel Mike Atkins, commander of 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia, presided over an investiture ceremony to welcome the wing’s newly-appointed Honorary Colonel Robert Quartermain on July 4, 2019. Honorary Colonel Jeff Stibbard had held the appointment since June 2016.

Honorary Colonel Quartermain is the executive chairman and founding shareholder of Pretium Resources Inc. (Pretivm). He proudly accepted the appointment and says he looks forward to advancing the interests of 19 Wing.

Honorary Colonel Stibbard is the chairman and CEO of JDS Energy and Mining and, during his three year appointment, he was an ardent supporter of 19 Wing and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Honorary Colonel Quartermain’s passion for the RCAF started in 1970 at 527 Simonds Squadron in Saint John, New Brunswick. He obtained an air cadet pilot license in 1973. His vocation as an exploration geologist has allowed him to blend his passion for camping and adventure, with flying to remote areas of the globe in search of minerals.

His great uncle served in the RCAF and Honorary Colonel Quartermain says he is honoured by the appointment and privilege of serving as honorary colonel for the wing.

Honorary colonels are integral members of the Air Force community. They may be former Air Force officers or distinguished Canadian citizens, hailing from a diverse range of backgrounds, including many well-known public and community figures. They are officers in all respects except operations. They are vital to fostering esprit de corps, and they may mentor the commanding officer and members of the unit, help build relationships with other units through the honorary colonel network, and aid in ensuring the maintenance of customs and traditions.

By their very presence and name, they build and develop community support for their units by providing a public profile − a public face − for the unit. Perhaps one of their most important attributes, however, is simply the time they spend with all members of the unit, no matter what their rank or position, just as a highly respected member of the family would.

The practice of appointing honorary colonels is relatively new in the RCAF, with most RCAF squadrons appointing their first honorary colonels beginning in 1992. 19 Wing Comox, comprising several squadrons and units, appointed its first honorary colonel in 2002: Over the years, Iona Campagnolo (2002 – 2007), Dr. Lou Dryden (2007 – 2012), Don Hewson (2012 – 2016), and Jeff Stibbard (2016 – 2019) have served in the post.


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Social Work Officers deliver professional social work services in a military setting to support the morale, efficiency and mental health of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and their families. Social Work Officers offer clinical social work services similar to community mental health and social services agencies.

As well as the full range of challenges common to Canadian society, CAF members and their families cope with additional stresses associated with frequent moves and separations. These stresses can give rise to social and family circumstances that involve complex social work interventions.

The primary responsibilities of a Social Work Officer are to:

         - Provide clinical intervention services
         - Assist in the resolution of compassionate situations
         - Consult with and advise leaders on the social circumstances encountered by personnel in their units
         - Investigate and report compassionate situations
         - Deliver preventive and rehabilitative programs in the areas of:
                   - Pre- and post-deployment stress
                   - Suicide prevention
                   - Family violence


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