First Female Director of Cadets at Canadian Royal Military College

RackMaster

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Women in the Canadian Forces are very commonplace now, even on the battlefield but this just shows that the initial generation of women that broke through the "Old Boys Club" years ago; are now reaching significant leadership roles. I would not be surprised to see a woman in command of the CF in the next decade or so.

Another 'first' for RMC graduate
MILITARY: Susan Wigg, one of the initial women to enrol at Royal Military College in 1980, becomes its first female director of cadets
Updated 16 hours ago

Royal Military College isn't an old boys club anymore.

Susan Wigg made history when she was one of the first female cadets to enrol in the college in 1980. Monday, Lt.-Col. Susan Wigg was appointed the first female director of cadets.

Although her appointment is ground breaking, she doesn't seem fazed by it.

"There have been a number of firsts," she said. "I was here in the first class of women and I was the first woman in my branch to command a workshop."

As director of cadets, Wigg will oversee the non-academic life of the student body. She will mentor and care for cadets and help them develop into officers while also supporting staff.

"We'll all be pulling on the same oar," she said.

By working with staff and students, Wigg hopes to overcome her lack of university experience. "I've never had a position in military school, but I'm always engaged in training and preparing."

Commandant William True -love discussed Wigg's accomplishments with the crowd just before the change of command document was signed

"Sue was a leader from the very moment she arrived here at RMC back in 1980," he said. "I'm told by some that she arrived on a large Harley Davidson which she rode throughout her four years."

Truelove spoke of her recent service to the Supreme Allied Headquarters Europe in Mons, Belgium, and the Counter Improvised Explosive Device Branch in Afghanistan.

Wigg will be replacing Lt.-Col. Tony O'Keeffe, who will be working for the Director General of Air Force Readiness in Ottawa.

Truelove said O'Keeffe did a phenomenal job in his two-year term.

"He re-established cadets in leadership within the cadet wing and ... increased the level of wing fitness," he said. "He oversaw the re-introduction of college dress for the cadets along with re-establishing a proper walking-out dress standard."

Truelove warned Wigg that "you will be there for the cadets and staff when they need you the most -- often in the evening and weekends."

This shouldn't be a problem for Wigg, though, said Dorothy Hector, a city councillor and one of Wigg's 31 female classmates.

Hector shared a room with Wigg in their first year at RMC and she is confident she is the right woman for the job.

Even during their carefree undergraduate days, Wigg had a strong work ethic and undying enthusiasm.

"There were times we used to trip over each other getting out the door for inspection and I'd have to tell her to slow down so she didn't make me look bad," Hector joked.

"Even at the time, she was an incredible young lady, striving to fit in in an institution of men"

Hector said that strict housekeeping guidelines kept her from finding out whether Wigg was secretly a slob.

"Every hanger had to be one inch apart, everything had to be polished," she said, adding that just because they had a tidy room doesn't mean Wigg was afraid to get messy.

"I remember when she used to throw people around," Hector said, reminiscing about Wigg's time as captain of the unarmed combat team.

Hector said that although Wigg has matured since her days on the unarmed combat team, she is still an incredible person.

"She is the epitome of truth, duty and valour."

rkuper@thewhig.com
 
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