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Editor's Corner

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This time out, it is my sad duty to inform our readership that one of the Canadian Military Journal’s own, Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) John Kristjan Marteinson, passed away recently after a brief but courageous struggle with cancer. John had exceptional careers as a military officer, a professional editor, an educator and a published author, and he brought great reflected credit and prestige to both himself and to all the institutions he so ably served.

John Kristjan Marteinson

John Kristjan Marteinson 1939-2006

He served the nation for 35 years with the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps and the Canadian Forces. His early postings were in tank and reconnaissance squadrons, including a tour of duty as a helicopter pilot, in Canada, Germany and Cyprus, as a member of the Fort Garry Horse and the 8th Canadian Hussars. John also subsequently distinguished himself in a variety of senior staff and instructional positions, including tours at the Combat Arms School and at the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College. Upon his retirement from the Regular Force in 1987, he was appointed editor of the Canadian Defence Quarterly, a position he graced with his exceptional talents and enthusiasm for eight years.

In 1999, he came out of a second retirement to take the helm as the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of the newly established Canadian Military Journal, which would soon become the capstone in-house intellectual forum of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces. In spite of formidable challenges and intense pressure to produce, the Journal, under his able stewardship during the following five years, evolved as a beacon for the encouragement of open, transparent, balanced and constructive commentary and dialogue on pertinent Canadian defence issues. Without it, no comparable temperate, moderating forum would exist for the Canadian military establishment, leaving public opinion to be influenced by other, less informed and less objective journalistic sources. Due in no small measure to his superb leadership and vision, CMJ continues to enjoy broad support and an enviable reputation for excellence.

Concurrent with his acceptance of the editorial position, John agreed to teach senior level undergraduate courses in the Royal Military College’s History Department – specifically the military history of the First and Second World Wars. His classes, to which he brought his broad and diversified service expertise and formidable background knowledge, coupled with his enthusiasm, his intense caring for the welfare and betterment of his students, and his downright ability to tell a good story, became highly sought after academic pursuits by RMC’s student body.

Throughout his rich and varied careers, John was published extensively in books and select periodicals on a variety of defence, foreign policy and military history topics, and academics and general readers alike enthusiastically received his published works. He co-authored The Gate: A History of the Fort Garry Horse (1970), and A Pictorial History of the 8th Canadian Hussars (1973), and was sole author/editor of We Stand on Guard: An Illustrated History of the Canadian Army (1992). However, his most influential authorship occurred while he served both as editor of the Canadian Military Journal and as a professor of history at RMC. He was co-author of 2000’s seminal The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps ~ An Illustrated History, and was lead author of 2002’s The Governor General’s Horse Guards ~ Second to None. Reviewers of the first publication lauded it as “the best corps history since Nicholson’s The Gunners of Canada appeared more than three decades ago”. His latter book artfully and thoroughly brought together all elements of the history of a proud and prominent Canadian regiment for the first time, and it was warmly endorsed in Forewords by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and by the Governor General of Canada.

In recognition of this lifetime of exceptional achievements, John was awarded a Doctor of Military Science, honoris causa, from the Royal Military College of Canada in January 2006.

A consummate professional in all that he undertook, John Marteinson enriched the lives of many through his very presence and through the significant impact of his academic and intellectual endeavours. He will be sorely missed.

Our Spring edition has a potpourri of offerings. Although we do not have a mini-theme for this issue, if there is an area of any particular emphasis it would have to be Canadian Forces Transformation. To that end, we lead with a stellar team of authors from the Canadian Forces Leadership Institute (CFLI), emphasizing the need for professionalism and effective leadership during this dynamic period of change for our military. Next, Doctor Peter Foot from the Canadian Forces College in Toronto homes in on the challenges faced with respect to military education and transformation. Major Tony Balasevicius then discusses the core missions assigned to Special Operations Forces (SOF), but warns that they are not panacea solutions. Captain (N) Larry Hickey takes a fresh look at Canadian maritime sovereignty and the development of an enhanced law enforcement mandate for Canada’s navy. Next up, Doctor Andrew Richter from the University of Windsor wonders just how focused our strategic thinking is at this time with respect to our national defence policy, suggesting that there is a disconnection between what is declared and what is practised. In our historical section, Major John Johnson chronicles the checkered Second World War career of Lieutenant-General E.L.M. “Tommy” Burns, and André Kirouac sheds some new light on the use of radar in the Battle of the St. Lawrence River during the Second World War.

We close with a brace of interesting opinion pieces, followed by Martin Shadwick’s commentary, and, as always, a spate of book reviews. Speaking of books, Francophone readers will perhaps be interested to know that Desmond Morton’s When Your Number’s Up, this distinguished academic’s social history of Canadian soldiers in the First World War, has recently been translated into French under the title Billet pour le front – Histoire sociale des volontaires canadiens (1914-1919). It is highly recommended.

David L. Bashow

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CWM Painting

Painting by George Pepper CWM19710261-5376

Tanks Moving up for the Breakthrough by George Pepper.