Farewell Garrison Petawawa

Military News


Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2016

Having served in the Canadian Armed forces for three decades you would think one gets used to saying goodbye. I have to admit that when I first came to Petawawa two years ago I would never have believed that this would be one of those postings that I would find difficult to move on from.

I will be saying farewell to some pretty great people when I hand over Command of 4th Canadian Division Support Group (4 CDSG) on June 17, 2016. Not only did I have the opportunity to work with a great fire team partner in Chief Warrant Officer Bill Richards, but I also had the opportunity to work with a dynamic group of hard working Command Teams, and their military and civilian staffs within 4 CDSG.

When I first came to the Upper Ottawa Valley, I knew very little about the area, the people, or its unique qualities. Through my many dealings with the municipal leaders and other community partners, I have grown attached to this area and quite honestly will miss it. Having said that, I will move on like other Garrison Petawawa Commanders and will hand the reigns of this great Garrison over to the very competent hands of the incoming Commander, Colonel Mark Misener.

When I first arrived two years ago I made a promise to you that my intent would be to maintain a communication with you that is open, honest and above all informative. I also laid out for you a list of my key priorities.


Stabilizing the organization so that we may better anticipate the future was one of my main priorities and improving on the communication to our members and the community was also on the top of my list. I believe that we have worked hard to ensure that communication with our families and the community at large is clear and transparent and I also believe the much needed communication with our community leaders was improved upon.

It was also my intent to ensure that 4 CDSG would improve on the support delivered to the Lodger Units that exist at Garrison Petawawa. 4 CDSG is responsible for the infrastructure, personnel, technical, corporate, safety, environment and operational services so that the units at Garrison Petawawa can concentrate on training and getting soldiers, airmen and women and our special forces out the door. This is not an easy task, but it is our raison d’être and as a team we have been committed to the Units we represent.

There are a number of issues or concerns I said we would address. First and foremost is our people. We are a large and diverse workforce here at Garrison Petawawa and the work we do here is important, but never more important than our people.

It should be understood that our work environments should never cause anyone discomfort and if you feel discomfort or know of someone who is feeling discomfort in their work environment you need to speak up. We can’t help what we don’t know.

While we are expected as soldiers to maintain a high level of physical fitness, this should not be the reason we train. We should do this for ourselves. By being physically and mentally fit you will meet the requirements of the Army. Garrison Petawawa has world-class fitness facilities and well trained fitness instructors to assist any soldier who needs their support.

I am extremely proud of the work going forward to create a Running Trail which will support the physical well-being of our soldiers and provide them a safe outdoor environment to exercise. This trail will also benefit our families and the community at large. I am also pleased that next year the families and community will again have outdoor ice rinks, in the South and North Side Residential Housing Unit areas, which will bring back that outdoor family time we so much need in our lives.

Other accomplishments that I am extremely proud of over the past two years is our ongoing improvements to force protection, the construction of a new CANEX Retail and Grocery Store, the building of a state of the art Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) facility, a 16 million dollar re-investment into some of our Residential Housing Units and the celebration of our first ever Garrison Petawawa Culture and Diversity Festival.

Over the course of the past two years I was proud to be part of many great celebratory milestones and family oriented activities such as the Town of Petawawa’s 150th celebration and the celebration of the Garrison’s 110th Anniversary which was highlighted during our Family Day in September.

Finally but certainly not least important, I would like to recognize all of our soldiers, airmen and women, and Special Forces members and their families who are posting out this season and also want to take this opportunity to welcome in the new families arriving in. It has been an honour to serve 4 CDSG and to have met many of you and my time here at Garrison Petawawa will never be forgotten.

Marc Gagné
Garrison Petawawa