Ceremony for the times

No speeches, no march past as Artillery Regiment inducts new Commander, LCol Michael Lomax

No speeches, no march past as Artillery Regiment inducts new Commander, LCol Michael Lomax

Captain J.A. Manney, Public Affairs Officer, 39 Canadian Brigade Group ~

Five people in an otherwise empty armoury wasn’t quite the change of command ceremony LCol Michael Lomax had anticipated.

Most in the regiment are sheltering at home, so the ceremony imparted a “surreal” look to his first day on the job. But LCol Lomax says the tradition of marking his assumption of command of the 5th (British Columbia) Field Artillery Regiment has never been more important.

“I think it’s critical to help soldiers understand we are all part of something greater than any one of us. Ceremonies like a change of command help instill a strong sense of connection to the Regiment and a real sense of family. That is our foundation in peace, in war, and most definitely in times of crisis.”

He replaced LCol Brendon LeBlanc on April 25 at Victoria’s Bay Street Armoury. He credits LCol LeBlanc’s four-year tenure for, among other things, preparing the unit to weather the COVID-19 crisis. More than 30 Regiment soldiers are now attached to Land Task Force Vancouver Island, part of the Land (Army) Component Command forces working under Joint Task Force (Pacific) in the event government requests military assistance.

“In the short term our goal is to continue that strong contribution,” LCol Lomax said. “We need to ensure we take care of our soldiers during this time of crisis and we’re looking out for their physical, mental, and financial well-being.”

Fortunately for the soldiers of 5th Field, LCol Lomax is no stranger to taking care of people. A lawyer, mediator, and one-time director of CFB Esquimalt’s Dispute Resolution Centre, he now leads a team of mediators with the B.C. Public Service Agency, the government’s Human Resources department. His team is working to deliver a workplace conflict management program for 26,000 public servants.

As with the soldiers who would have watched his change of command ceremony, his civilian team is also isolated in their homes to help reduce the spread of the virus.  While working virtually has made for many significant changes, he says the fundamentals of leadership remain unchanged.

“What is important is to build strong relationships, maintain frequent and effective communication, set clear objectives for your team, and empower people, as appropriate within the chain of command, to do work more independently. Those principles and values can be applied in just about any situation, and they’ll work to get us through this one.”


Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.