Events Subsequent to Issue of the Memorandum “FAINTING ON PARADE

 

Several events subsequent to the issue of the memo FAINTING ON PARADE are of potential interest to the viewers of your website

The text of the memo, but neither its author nor his position, was submitted to the Kingston media the evening of its issue.  (As I recall, the memo was attributed to an unnamed member of the staff of Canadian Forces Europe.  The Senior Staff Officer Administration in 4 CMBG Headquarters while unaware, found it amusing).

The following events ensued:

·        The text of the memo was mentioned on the local TV news in Kingston and the CBC National News that evening;

·        It was discussed on the front page of The Globe and Mail the next morning; and

·        It was subsequently mentioned in both Playboy and Rolling Stones magazines, I believe.

At the graduation parade for the Class of ’76, while the Minister (as I recall), accompanied by the Commandant and the Cadet Wing Commander, inspected the Cadet Wing, I was left alone on the Dais with Lieutenant General Smith, the Assistant Deputy Minister (Personnel).  It was a hot day and I commented that I hoped that no one fainted.  General Smith replied – “Ryley, your views on fainting on parade have been well documented.  If that memo had been attributed to you by name, you would not be sitting here today”.

In about 1988, shortly before I retired, I attended a mess dinner in the Army Ottawa Officers Mess.  I mentioned the memo as a memorable event in my career.  A young officer sitting across from me laughed, and when I asked what was so funny, he replied – “I work in Public Affairs.  One of my duties is to brief officers on how to deal with the media and avoid attracting their attention.  To illustrate my advice, I have put together several working files on specific incidents.  The file on “FAINTING ON PARADE” is my favourite”.  Recent efforts to locate that file came to naught.

Michael Kennedy, a Recruit entering in Sep ‘76, has requested that the memo be removed from your website with the words, inter alia – “Whatever past grievances any of you may still be holding against Col. Ryley, after nearly 27 years isn’t it time you guys gave the poor man a break?”

When I mentioned his request to my daughter, she immediately found your website and e-mailed its URL to me at work in NDHQ with the words – “Just found the web page this morning!  It's pretty funny!”.

I don’t know if there are any lessons in all of this.  However, I do appreciate the loyalty, if only to the College, of those who in submitting the memo to the media, felt constrained not to divulge the name and position of its author.

As to Michael Kennedy’s request that it be removed from your website, I am ambivalent. 

On the one hand, the memo exists, and at the time, received some publicity.  On the other, I am not sure what purpose its inclusion serves other than as a bad example.

On balance, it seems to me that the inclusion of this information (of course, with attribution) would add spice to what might otherwise appear as an enigma.

 

C. E. S. Ryley

Colonel (Ret’d)