A Captain Commands the Regiment

[Original image “Canada flag of Maple Leaves on Cedar Backing” © shsphotography/Dollar Photo Club]

In 1957 three important things happened almost simultaneously: The CO of 4 RCHA in Germany was replaced by a new and unknown LCol from Canada; I was promoted Captain; I was posted to 4 RCHA from my post as Senior LO at Bde HQ in Germany.

The Regiment had gone through many touchy months of discord and personality clashes. The new CO didn’t know who he could trust and who were the trouble-makers. For the first few months the new CO sat in an arm chair in the corner at coffee breaks and watched the officers socialize among themselves, trying to “read” each one.

Never once did he converse with anyone.

About six months after the new CO took over I was called to his office. Remember, I had never once met the man! I couldn’t help but wonder what crap I had innocently gotten myself into.

I reported to him at his office

“Capt. Moffat reporting, Sir”

“Moffat, there is a huge NATO Exercise coming up in a couple of weeks and I won’t be available – I’ll be at the HQ in Paris.

“I want you to go as CO of the Regiment.”

This had to be a joke – he was pulling my leg. After all, there were 5 Majors in the Regiment – why not one of them? Even all of the other Captains were senior to me!

Well, I would go along with the gag until I saw what it was all about.

“Fine, Sir. Of course I’ll need to take an IO – may I pick any officer I wish?”

“Of course.”

“Even one of the Majors?”

Surely such a ridiculous request would force the CO to admit that this was a gag!

“Of course – who would you like?”

I backed off!

I’ll take Capt. Norm Ramsey, if I may.”

“Anything else?”

If you can carry the gag this far, then so can I – was my thinking.

“Yes, Sir. I would like to take your Batman, your caravan and your staff car.”

“You may have all but my Batman – he is coming to Paris with me.”

With that I became – albeit in a very temporary and tenuous state – the only new Captain to ever become the CO of an Artillery Regiment in an Operational Theatre!