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Letters to the Editor

An Officer Training Corps for Canada

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As an addendum to Captain Gustafson’s article “An Officer Training Corps For Canada” [Vol. 5, No. 3 Spring 2004], your readers might note that there was a similar post-secondary Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) training program in the late 1980s, known as the Reserve Non-Commissioned Officer Training Program (RNTP). It followed much the same pattern as the Reserve Entry Scheme Officer (RESO).

In the first summer, an RNTP candidate would undergo intensive two to three months of training that would qualify him for the rank of master corporal and as a section commander. In the following summer, the candidate would qualify at the platoon-level and for the rank of sergeant.

The RNTP scheme encountered strong resistance from the NCO Corps, and did not prove to be popular amongst potential candidates. Many NCOs opposed the notion of an ‘instant NCO’, and some of the candidates were effectively shunned by the people who could best help them to develop. I do not know of the quality of NCOs that resulted from this program, but I believe very few remain in the Canadian Forces today.

From my own experience, I found that the shortcomings of a junior officer can be corrected with the assistance of a strong, experienced NCO. However, the shortcomings of an inexperienced NCO cannot be corrected by a likewise inexperienced junior officer. The NCO must have the ability to take command of soldiers without hesitation, and that requires confidence and certainty. These qualities can only be gained through experience and a great deal of training (a cumulative period of perhaps five to six years), something the RNTP program could not provide in four to six months. Maybe this is why it met a very quick end.

David Tsuchiya
Toronto, Ontario