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The Reserve Thread- A Merged Collection of Q & A's


Yard Ape

Soldier of Fortune asked:
While on the topic of reserves, do you guys think it would be possible to go to school and be in the reserves at the same time, would it be to hard to do homework and train? I guess what im trying to ask is if the reserves are doployed very often, so would I would miss school very often if i did join? How long would a reserve units tour be?

You can go to school and join the reserves without either having an adverse affect on the other. In fact, in Ontario, you can join the reserves as part of your schools Co-op program and get highshcool credits for it.

:cool: Yard Ape
I joined the Reserves in Grade 11 at the age of 16 and never looked back. Sometimes it was tough getting up on Monday mornings to go to school (grades 11 and 12 as well as university) after a long training weekend. Although there was frustration at times I always felt alot of pride for "doing" something on my weekends vice working at a job flipping burgers. I‘ve completed over 16 years now and well on my way to 17.
I‘m in school full time and have no problem working around either exercises or school work. If someone cannot make it all work then there is an organisational problem...
It‘s best to join the reseves, when you‘re in school because you have your summers off.

I did my QL2 on weekends while I was in OAC with a full course load of physics, calculus, algebra and chemistry (we‘re semestered) and I did fine. Now I‘m in University. I find the reserves to be a great break from school: you forget about and deal with a different set of problems.

I wouldn‘t have done the co-op program though. For several reasons.
a) I had an insane course load as it was, I didn‘t have the time to take army courses
b) you don‘t get paid
c) if you break your leg halfway through the course, you lose your credit
d) The courses arn‘t as good. I know some people who did co-op, and there were only 3 people on thier course. The did about an hour of army stuff a day. You need it in a continuous bloc. (at least the weekend)

If you are in school you have your summers off anyway, do it in the summer or on weekends and get paid.

(some areas have no other option except co-op though)
I just started the reserves and I am in second year university. One night a week and one weekend a month is NOT A PROBLEM TO DO. You could even have another job I bet and still make the grade. In uni you get a 4 month summer as opposed to 2 in high school and I will only be gone for just over 2 months. So I mean that even isnt that bad at all and think about how much sweeter it is to tell ppl what you did in your training over summer as opposed to selling clothes all day (which is what I do)
You have to decide what you want to do first. Some units will only recruit during one season. If you are intrested in joining the unit, you must join at that time. Most units will run a QL2 course through the winter, and then send the graduates onto QL3 that summer. Some Combat Arms trades also run combined QL2/3‘s during the summer.

As for Co-op courses, my regiment runs them for a full morning each day of the week. The candidates do not get paid for these days. However, they occasionally train on weekends for range and field exercises and they do get paid for these. It is not uncommon for the Co-op course to cover all the required material early and cover addidional areas which may be poorly covered in the training program or introduce areas of the QL3 course.
Since you live in Toronto, I have a pretty good idea of your options, and you have a lot.

You can do a weekend QL2 course through the year, and then do you QL3 in the summer. Or, if you are going infantry you can take a combined 2/3 course. The engineers also offer 2‘s in the summer, after which you can go to Gagetown NB for your 3‘s. You can also do co-op.

The big advantage of living in Toronto is that you can choose your trade and your unit, and you have a lot of options availible. This isn‘t nessesarily the case in other parts of the country.
I actualy live outside of
Toronto but my parents said that if I join it might as well be in Toronto, however I live pretty close to CFB Borden, do you guys know of any reserve units there or a web site I could find that out?
I think the unit out there (correct me if I‘m wrong anybody) is the Grey and Simcoe Foresters (infantry, otherwise known as the G&SF) Some guys from my unit live out there and drive in to Toronto. I think you have to do the co-op program there, but I‘m not sure. Plus, this stuff changes from year to year, so by the time you join up it might be different.
After years of hmming and hawwing, myself and a colleague from work (Canada Customs) finally convinced eachother to join the CF Reserves, specifically, the 48th Highrs (assuming they take us).

A little background -- aside from my grandfather, I am the first generation of the last 7 I am aware of to not serve in the military. My uncle, and all ancestros before my paternal grandfather, all served in the Royal Navy, as officers. My maternal grandfather served in the CF in WWII as a truck driver (I have no idea what regt). I am 26, and realize with no university, and working full-time in Canada, there is no chance of me going to Britain to join the Royal Navy and continue the tradition.

Therefore, since working for customs, I have had a keen interest in serving part-time, and perhaps establishing a new tradition of service. Initially I was interested in ARMD, but after a couple of years of attending armouries to speak to recruiters, I found the parade nights conflicted with my personal life.

Finally, mad terrorists flew airplanes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania, and I decided now more than ever I should be making a contribution to the military. A friend and I decided on the 48th Highlanders, as I mentioned - both of us have some Scottish background, he more than I.

I am now awaiting the security checks, interview and medical, and am hoping to be enrolled in time for the next QL2 on Jan 5/6.

I am interested in eventually CFR‘ing, although I want to acquire a solid infantry soldier background before I do so. In particular, I am interested in learning recce skills and leadership skills (although I was a gnat‘s hair‘s width away from picking W TECH L instead of INF, as in my civilian job I am looking for experience in firearms training).

My question to everyone is: What should I expect of the CF? What should I expect of QL-2/QL-3? What should I expect of infantry in the primary reserves, and in particular, the 48th Highlanders (anyone here from the 48th?)

I am aware there are many, many issues plaguing the CF - this is one of the reasons why I did not join sooner: I have an aversion to bovine scatology (but then again, I already work for the federal gov‘t, so I should be used to it). As a PTE am I going to be treated with disdain and contempt by younger superior ranks or reg force people I come into contact with? Are opporunities to learn skills and advance in rank realistically available to me? Does anyone here see a realistic expansion of the CF in the future? Are opportunities present for NATO/UN service to infantry from the primary reserves?

When I filled out my application a month ago, a warrant officer asked me to complete the "hobbies and interests" part and the additional info paragraph. I asked if it were mandatory, and he replied that a candidate who has filled it out might be selected over one that hadn‘t. I looked around the office (I was the only potential applicant there at the time) and said, "Warrant, forgive me, but I don‘t get the impression that you guys are kicking too many applicants outta here these days." A Lt. standing nearby let out a chuckle. The CF need people, but are they taking steps to retain the ones who come?

The pay rate is $66.98 for a full day, as a PTE. In contrast, my civvy job pays $22.36 per hour, exclusive of shift premiums. I am obviously not joining for the money. What steps are they going to take to make me feel welcome?

Your thoughts are appreciated...

I looked around the office (I was the only potential applicant there at the time) and said, "Warrant, forgive me, but I don‘t get the impression that you guys are kicking too many applicants outta here these days." A Lt. standing nearby let out a chuckle. The CF need people, but are they taking steps to retain the ones who come?

I also wonder that.

I‘ve been trying to join the local reserve unit, Royal Highland Fusiliers since late Sept. and still not in.

My story is, I‘ve tried to get in the RMC in Jan, but failed. The office in Toronto keeps my file on record, as I did do the aptitude test.

Now I‘m in first year at U of Waterloo and wishes to join the Reserves. So I asked the Hamilton office (where my area applications get processed) to ask a file transfer from Toronto so I can continue the application process.

4 weeks later, haven‘t heard from them yet. I‘ve decided to go to the local recruiting office and fill out another application. They tell me they want my old application file, so I could skip the aptitude test.

4 weeks later, I haven‘t heard from them. Calling does not help, as I am told that they are still waiting my old file to transfer from Toronto.

So I called the recruiter for Royal Highland Fusiliers to call the Hamilton office and find out what‘s going on with my application. He can‘t get any straight answer either.

Some person I‘ve contacted will now try to help me out. And I shall continue to wait.

But I fear that at this rate, I may not get sworn in to take the QL2 my unit is holding starting in January. And since I want to go home for Christmas, I don‘t even know if I‘ll be around if I have to take the tests and the interview.

Suffice to say I‘m very, very frustrated. It shouldn‘t take 2 month for a file transfer of ANY kind.

I won‘t be surprised if many potential recruits go away because of inefficientcy of CFRCs.

My family also has a military tradition. Some of my ancestors, I‘m told, were generals during Koryo dynasty in Korea and my father has served his term with Republic of Korean Army.
Right now, I also plan to make CF a career, as I want to go officer after my university years are over and perhaps start a new family tradition.

But if this is the state that CF is working in even after 5 years, I think I‘ll kick the bucket and find something else as a career, or go join the British Army or the Foreign Legion.

Thanks for letting me vent my frustration
What to expect...lots of bull****, a recruiting process that takes four months, an underfunded organization, little public sympathy, lame PC regulations being dumped on you by a Department that has no idea what is happening, and a weak set of standards that leave much to be desired.

What you get...The best job on the face of the earth.

Satisfaction of doing what most people only dream about, working with the best group of individuals around, and working under kick-*** NCO‘s who can cut most of the bull**** away and still challenge you.

Your questions are pretty broad so you‘ll have to look around the board for answers; these have all been asked before. Welcome to the club, get ready for a ride. I would have never thought a year ago when I signed up that I would be getting ready to go to Bosnia now. Anyways, I wouldn‘t expect to get on that Jan. course as the recruitment process is long and agonizing and usually takes about 4 months.
(P.S. You live in Toronto, why not go to the Queen‘s Own Rifles. They are the only reserve unit with jump status and I hear its the only militia unit worth being in right now.)
Well, since this is the place for new recruits to complain I throw in my hat.My situation is not really bad, at least not as bad some others.

I said before that the recruiting process wasn‘t too bad but now that i think about it, it is. I applied in early Sept., did my interview and medical in early Oct., did my PT test in early Nov. If I had been a guy just walking in off the street with a casual interest I would have told them to forget it long ago. Rigt now I‘m waiting for the CFRC to send my file over to the unit so they can give me a call. The recruiting office, the Armoury, and NDHQ are within the same city block so all someone has to do is walk across the damn street. Like every other university student I‘m outta here in a couple of weeks and the QL2 begins at the start of Jan. I‘m far from panic, but I do hope they get around to it before I leave.

Everytime someone from the CFRC phoned me they would always ask if I was still interested. "We can book you for a PT Test if you‘re still interested."
I guess they get a lot of people quitting the process half-way through.
well this seems like the place to not be happy with recruiting so heres my story.
I sent in my application in early june this year hoping to get on my QL2 ASAP after the summer but I got no contacts for 2 months so i went down. The recruiter told me my papers were gone down to Ottawa so I was happy and hoping to get the tests done. 1 and a half months went by and no word so I decided to call the office. Someone went and looked and came back laughing on the phone saying my papers were all dusty and havent been moved for awhile. Needless to say she said she would rush them (if that is possible) and I really hope she is.
I personally have no interest in stopping getting in and hope to make a life long career with the CF.

Can someone help me I am going Reg F. Infantry, how often are QL2 courses held?
Thanks Andrew :cdn:
Thanks for all the interesting replies.

It seems that the recruiting process takes some time -- everywhere except Toronto. Unless the CFRC is feeding me bull (which I gather is quite possible), they seem to think there is still plenty of time to make the QL-2, assuming the security check comes back quick enough.

I applied Nov. 2-ish, and did my CFAT and the physical fitness test on Sunday the 25th. Yes, on a Sunday, they had government workers working in a government building, and quite a number of applicants. Had I not been missing my two letters of reference, the file would be sent for security checks already. I will have them by Friday and hopefully will be able to do the interview & medical before the Christmas stand-down.

My friend who I am joining with didn‘t make it down to put his application in until a couple weeks after me. He tests in early December sometime. He is also a former member, QOR actually, so from what I hear, his application will take a long time no matter what, because they will have to obtain his file from Ottawa, and the regiment we are joining (the 48th) will have to review it to see if they want him (based on his previous discharge, etc.).

Chances are I‘ll be in before him. I don‘t know if he can skip the QL-2 or not, though.

Since I work for the federal government already, I am well aware of bull**** and poor management, having seen plenty in my 4 years as a customs inspector (a caveat: customs is full of great people, the ‘bad‘ ones are only a minority - I don‘t hate my job at all). Some people have said to me "get ready to have a 19 year old corporal give you a bullocking" and as a 26 year old PTE, I am not sure how I will take that. Hopefully I will swallow my pride and accept it as part of life in the army for a newbie like me.

I don‘t expect my brief experience in the air cadets to be of any value whatsoever, and I will probably avoid mentioning it casually since I will likely not be taken seriously then.

I do look forward to working with some of the best soldiers on the face of the earth. Having known many people who are or were in the CF, I have formed the opinion that, given our few resources and near total lack of funding, our soldiers consistently make the rest of the world look like whining amatuers (especially the Americans), with the exception some very professional Brit units.

As I mentioned, I plan to eventually CFR, once I am in. I believe totally that I must first learn the "trade" of soldiering, before learning to lead them. Hopefully my assessment is correct in that this will make me a better leader, and help gain the respect of the people I hope to lead.

In short, I believe I have the correct mental attitude for the job. Hopefully the CF agrees!

Thanks again!
Welcome to the most noble, exciting and rewarding vocation on Earth.

What to expect? As cliche as it sounds, expect to make it want you want it to be. As an infantryman, you‘re joining the ultimate generalist occupation -- infantry do everything under the sun. Not all at once, and not even in the same career, but look anywhere and there‘s likely to be an infanteer there -- or the shadow of one who has recently passed by.

As others have already told you, you can expect to experience the most amazing form of camaraderie, teamwork, leadership known to humanity. You can expect to take lessons away from your military experience that will put you heads and shoulders above your peers at work in terms of management and leadership competencies. Even as a recruit, you will be learning leadership and management skills that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars and years of experience to garner in the civilian world. Use it wisely.

What will the CF do to make you feel welcome?

Good question. If the army is switched on, this is what they‘ll do: They‘ll challenge you, test your limits of endurance -- not only physical, but psychological and otherwise. They‘ll make it easy to want and get out. Those who stay despite this are more likely to be the "right few" than those who leave. And, the "right few" can be trusted to find a solution to any problem.

My advice: If you haven‘t already read the book "Starship Troopers" by Robert A. Heinlein, I highly recommend reading it now. It is, hands-down, one of the best interpretation of the warrior spirit I‘ve ever read. It postulates a fictional (science fiction, in fact) army where it is hard as hell to get in (not far from the CF experience as I hear it told on this forum! *s*) and easy as a sneeze to get out. The result: only the committed remain.

Welcome to the business. Good luck!

I am surprised that Bossi and Master Blaster have not welcomed you to the Glamour Boys. I was also a Customs Officer while I was with the 48th I am now a member of the Museum Committee. I hope you will enjoy your time in the 48th I know I did.

Art Johnson
Originally posted by towhey:

My advice: If you haven‘t already read the book "Starship Troopers" by Robert A. Heinlein, I highly recommend reading it now. It is, hands-down, one of the best interpretation of the warrior spirit I‘ve ever read. It postulates a fictional (science fiction, in fact) army where it is hard as hell to get in (not far from the CF experience as I hear it told on this forum! *s*) and easy as a sneeze to get out. The result: only the committed remain.

Well I took your advice Towhey and went out and bought Starship Troopers and just finished reading it yesterday and WOW it was amazing and if the infantry has that much comodery(can‘t spell it) towards each member then I really can‘t wait even more to start my QL2/3.

Is there actually that much pride in the Units? Like is there total competition to make yourself and your unit the best?(that might be a stupid question)

Also I know that your buddies or your lifeline during basic and so on but is there a time when in an infanteer‘s career where he has to start to only depend on himself or will there always be that buddy there? Why I am asking is because I heard that on your JLC course it is almost like basic training but there are no friends to help you out during the course. Am i wrong about this?

One more question, How often is the QL2 course held in St Jean? And on course would I only be doin my basic training with infantry people or would all combat arms be on the same course or would non-combat arms personel be on course aswell?
(I hope these questions all made sence)

Andrew :cdn:

With respect to JLC being a course where you can‘t count on buddies... I‘ve heard the same thing from many people as well, but my experience has been quite different. Team work is a huge part of it. Without cooperation from the other candidates, you will get nowhere. When it is your turn to have your leadership assessed, and your buddies are blading you by slacking off, then you will not pass your assessment.