The Royal Canadian Dragoons were out celebrating two important events on April 14, representing the Regiment’s past, present, and future. A parade to commemorate the events of April 15, 1945 when the Dragoons liberated the town of Leeuwarden from Nazi occupation is remembered annually by both the RCD and the town of Leeuwarden. The RCD were also officially conducting a Change of Appointment for the Regimental Sergeant Major. The outgoing RSM, Chief Warrant Officer Shawn Mercer, shaped the Regiment and its soldiers into what it is today through his guidance, experience, and oversight over the past 3 years. The incoming RSM, Chief Warrant Officer James Hebert, will continue on this work and play a vital role in the development of the Regiment over the next three years.
Dragoons from across the country arrived to celebrate the liberation of Leeuwarden. Those in attendance included a few honoured members of the Regimental Family, most notably Mr. Don White. Mr. White is a former Dragoon who that liberated Leeuwarden more than 70 years ago. He spoke to those present about his experience in Holland so many years ago and the impact their presence made on the local population. Mr. White recalled a Dutchman who approached him while participating in 70th anniversary celebrations in the Netherlands last year. The Dutchman had asked Mr. White if he had recalled giving him a chocolate bar as young boy when he was in the Town of Franeker back in 1945. Despite the struggles this man must have endured under German occupation so long ago he still remembered Mr. White for a small act of kindness. This further demonstrates the importance of the Dragoons involvement in the Liberation of Leeuwarden, which is why this day is honoured with an annual parade. The celebration of Leeuwarden in Petawawa concluded with the raising of the Leeuwarden town flag in front of the RCD Headquarters building. This same courtesy is exercised by the town of Leeuwarden as they raise the flag of the Royal Canadian Dragoons outside their town hall on April 15th every year.
After the Leeuwarden program concluded, the Regimental Sergeant Major Change of Appointment began. The Regiment said goodbye and good luck to RSM Mercer as he headed off to his new position as the 2 CMBG Brigade Sergeant-Major. With parting words he reminded Dragoons to remember their training and continue to push themselves to be the best. As CWO Hebert took his position on parade as RSM, CWO Mercer was driven off parade in true Dragoon fashion, commanding his call sign, 9er Charlie, for the final time.
Leeuwarden Parade and RSM Change of Appointment 2016
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