4th Canadian Division Commander Brigadier General (BGen) Stephen Cadden (second from right) accompanied by outgoing 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG) Formation Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer Bill Richards, 4th Canadian Division Sergeant Major CWO Stuart Hartnell and outgoing 4 CDSG Commander BGen Mark Misener inspected the parade during the 4 CDSG Change of Command and Change of Appointment ceremony on July 21. (Photo by Lisa Brazeau, Petawawa Post)
An official Change of Appointment Scroll Signing was part of the July 21 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG) Change of Command and Change of Appointment ceremony. Presiding over the handover from outgoing Formation Sergeant Major (FSM) Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Bill Richards (left) to incoming FSM CWO Tom Verner (right) was outgoing 4 CDSG Commander Brigadier General Mark Misener. (Photo by Lisa Brazeau, Petawawa Post)
The ceremony also marked the Change of Appointment between outgoing Formation Sergeant Major (FSM) CWO Bill Richards (centre) and incoming FSM CWO Verner (right). BGen Misener (left) conducted the ceremonial passing of the Pace Stick from CWO Richards to CWO Verner before the handover was made official with the signing of scrolls. (Photo by Lisa Brazeau, Petawawa Post)
Outgoing 4th Canadian Division Support Group Formation Sergeant Major Chief Warrant Officer Bill Richards was among those who accompanied 4th Canadian Division Commander and Reviewing Officer Brigadier General Stephen Cadden for the inspection of the parade at the 4CDSG Change of Command and Change of Appointment ceremony July 21. CWO Richards has been posted to Ottawa to the Directorate of History and Heritage. (Photo by Lisa Brazeau, Petawawa Post)
The 4th Canadian Division Support Group Change of Command from outgoing Commander Brigadier General (BGen) Mark Misener (seated right) to incoming Commander Colonel (Col) Louis Lapointe (seated left) was held on July 21. 4th Canadian Division Commander BGen Stephen Cadden (seated centre) presided over the official signing of the Change of Command scrolls; standing in back are incoming FSM Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Tom Verner (left) and 4th Canadian Division Sergeant Major CWO Stuart Hartnell (right). (Photo by Lisa Brazeau, Petawawa Post)
New Command Team for 4th Canadian Division Support Group
By Lisa Brazeau
Posted on Thursday July 27, 2017
July 21 saw a new Command Team take the helm of 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG).
Family, friends, special guests and dignitaries gathered in front of 4 CDSG Headquarters on Friday afternoon for the Change of Command and Change of Appointment ceremony, witnessing outgoing 4 CDSG Commander Brigadier General (BGen) Mark Misener hand over command of the formation to incoming Commander Colonel (Col) Louis Lapointe, and outgoing Formation Sergeant Major (FSM) Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Bill Richards pass the torch to incoming FSM CWO Tom Verner.
On July 20 in Ottawa, BGen Misener assumed command of the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU) from Brigadier-General Shane Brennan, who announced his retirement from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
BGen Misener will continue to lead the transformation already underway at the JPSU - a restructuring effort focused on providing tailored support to all transitioning CAF members, with special attention provided to those who are ill or injured, including individuals with psychological or critical stress injuries.
In his final address as Commander, BGen Misener thanked all those who supported him during his tenure including his family, the local community, and the military and civilian members of 4 CDSG whom he lauded for all they achieved in the past year.
“4 CDSG team, you should be proud of what you are accomplishing every day. You are always in the fight supporting readiness of the field force. Without your support, hard work and innovation, nothing would have been possible,” he said. “Together as a team, we’ve accomplished many things, but without your support, hard work and innovation, nothing would have been possible.”
Reflecting on his time at Garrison Petawawa, BGen Misener said he and CWO Richards worked very closely depite only spending a year together.
He described the outgoing FSM as a consummate professional, compassionate leader and someone who “would literally give the shirt off his back if he thought it would help the situation.
“You care deeply, you care about people, you care about the institution and you care about doing everything you can to help everyone and everything around you,” he said. “It’s been an honour and a pleasure to work with you and we quickly came together to form a close relationship. Command can be a lonely endeavour and your presence ensured I was never by myself.”
CWO Richards has been posted to Ottawa to serve as the Directorate of History and Heritage Chief Warrant Officer.
The outgoing FSM said it was with a “heavy heart” that he was leaving a place he and his family - wife Veletia and daughters Malika and Madalyn - have called home since 1993. “They say growth and change is good, but when you’re the guy leaving, it’s not so good,” noted CWO Richards, remarking he’s seen a lot of change in his three years as FSM, including the construction of the new CANEX flagship store, and the launch of the $20,000 “A Soldier’s Hero” scholarship for military spouses through Willis College.
He was also grateful for the support of many individuals, including the two 4 CDSG Commanders he worked alongside - BGen Marc Gagne and BGen Misener. “When you’re in a Command Team of individuals like this, life is good,” said CWO Richards.
The mission of 4 CDSG is to provide garrison-based institutional support to all Army formations within Ontario, whether deployed in Canada or abroad, and support all lodger units housed in the assigned area of responsibility. 4th Canadian Division Commander BGen Stephen Cadden, the ceremony Reviewing Officer, noted providing that support is just as important as tactical training. “So for those of you whose job is to support our forces in the 4th Canadian Division, thank you for doing such a magnificent job,” he said. With future domestic and overseas deployments to places like Latvia, Ukraine, Iraq and Lebanon, he expects an already busy operational tempo to become even busier. “That’s what we do, we make sure we’re always ready to answer the call as we move forward.”
He praised both BGen Misener and CWO Richards for their exemplary service. “The fact that you were personally selected by the Chief of the Defence Staff for promotion and employment in (the JPSU) is just a testament to the skills that you have,” he said to the outgoing Commander. “Our loss is the Canadian Armed Forces’ gain.”
BGen Cadden then welcomed the new Command Team with words of encouragement. Col Lapointe’s arrival, he said, “is very good news and it certainly tempers the loss of Gen Misener having you here. “You have an excellent team, you have nothing but the prospect of success ahead of you,” he added.
Col Louis Lapointe grew up in Shawinigan-Sud, Quebec and joined the CAF in 1991. As a junior officer, he served with the Royal 22nd Regiment as a mechanized and airborne Platoon Commander. He served as the Commander of 1st Battalion Royal 22e Regiment from 2011 to 2013. Following the unit command, he was transferred to Garrison Petawawa where he served as the 4 CDSG Deputy Commander until 2015. He has held staff appointments with the 5th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group and Army Headquarters and Strategic Joint Staff, and has deployed overseas to Haiti and Afghanistan, and domestically to the Red River floods in Manitoba and the 1998 ice storm. Col Lapointe also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, a Masters in Defence Studies from the Royal Military College, and is in the process of completing his Masters in Public Administration. He and his wife, Lieutenant Colonel Angie Lapointe, have two daughters Charlotte and Chloe.
Speaking for the first time as 4 CDSG Commander, Col Lapointe said he departed Petawawa two years ago “with great sadness,” not expecting to return so soon. “I am extremely humbled to once again be among you and take this command position,” he said.
Offering thanks to his predecessor, Col Lapointe said if the formation supports him in the same way it did BGen Misener, “I know we will continue to deliver outstanding institutional support. “General Misener, although your time with 4 CDSG has been short, your dedication and leadership has steered us in the right direction to face future challenges,” he added.
Col Lapointe also recognized CWO Richards for the “tremendous work” he has done in Petawawa and Toronto during his three years as FSM, and congratulated newly appointed FSM CWO Verner. “Your reputation as an exceptional NCO precedes you and I truly look forward to working with you over the coming years,” he concluded.
CWO Verner is no stranger to the area, having served 24 years in Petawawa. “You’re an excellent soldier, I know you by reputation,” said BGen Cadden. “There’s high expectations, but there’s no doubt you’ll be able to succeed. There’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that you are ready and the man for the job.”
CWO Verner enrolled in the CAF in 1987 and was posted to 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment in London, Ont. After deploying to Cyprus with 1 RCR in 1989, he was posted to the Canadian Airborne Regiment and later served 11 years with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment.
In 2006, he assisted with the formation of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR) and in 2012, became the unit’s Regimental Sergeant Major. He also completed two deployments in 2009 and 2011 as the Task Force Sergeant Major of CANSOFCOM’s Special Operations Task Force in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Prior to his current appointment, he had just completed a year-long deployment in the Sinai, Egypt as the Force Sergeant Major of the Multinational Force and Observers.
“It’s my privilege to be here, and I’m honoured to be appointed as the Formation Sergeant Major and I really look forward to the challenges that’s going to bring,” said CWO Verner. “It really does feel like I’m coming home. I’m glad to be back, and I’m really looking forward to working both with the base, for my Commander, and with the greater community in Petawawa.”