Buttons and bows, yet again … sorry about that

I know I said my “last word” about buttons and bows, but since doing real work appears to be too difficult for the “masters of the universe” in our bloated, inept, misdirected National Defence Headquarters, and the great minds have gone back to fiddling with badges while the world situation crumbles, I feel just as justified in breaking my promise as Justin Trudeau does in breaking his.

It appears that this was not an “April Fools” joke, as some of us devoutly wished.

General Jonathan Vance, the Chief of the Defence Staff, showed of the new/old army general’s rank badges in an interview with CTV News’ Mercedes Stephenson …

… these new badges which look (thankfully, in my opinion) very much like the ones worn by Navy admirals and Air Force generals (and by Canadian Army generals prior to 2015), will replace these, which look  very much like the rank badges worn by generals from 1968 to 2014/15, replace these, which are carbon copies of the World War I British (and Canadian) badges …


… one of my friends asked, only slightly tongue in cheek, if it was possible to get any more “bling” on a uniform. The consensus was that there was still room on the sleeve and that, maybe, bigger generals, with broader shoulders would help.

But that’s not the end of it. Not satisfied with making a (welcome) change to the generals’ badges the powers that be also feel a need to fix up this …


… and what’s wrong with that, you ask?

x1afgh5850_3Cdn-Army-LtCol(OF-4)-2014_-_Copy.svgWell, besides the points I made earlier about them being unCanadian, not much. But the general staff wants to replace the “pip” ~ which uses the “star” of the Order of the Bath, which is an “honour” not used in Canada ~ with something called the “Vimy Star,” which, one presumes, is more Canadian. (Now, I, personally, would have much preferred that we had changed to a Canadian adaptation of the Indian Army’s rank badges, using Canadian symbols, like the Governor General’s Lion instead of the British crown and a distinctively Canadian pip, maybe a maple leaf, instead of the British one, but …)

The “but” is that there are many, Many, MANY really important things that should be occupying the minds of the general staff … rank badges ought not to be on anyone’s mind at all.

I don’t know what a “Vimy Star” looks like and my google-fu is not very strong, so if anyone has a picture please add it as a comment.

7 thoughts on “Buttons and bows, yet again … sorry about that

  1. I am afraid I disagree entirely with you on the changes to the general officers rank. I don’t find those stupid maple leaves at all ‘welcome’. And that Vimy Star – what a crock. We finally did something right, and I am sorry I retired from the CF long before it happened. I had to emigrate to NZ and serve here in order to wear ‘proper’ rank insignia! I should have known it wouldn’t last, and that our cultural cringe would force some idiot to Canadianise it. Now this sad general who apparently can’t make any useful changes, is tinkering with the rank insignia, desperate to ‘leave their mark’ on the Army. I wish he’d take his metal maple leaves with their nice, sharp edges, and stick ’em where the sun don’t shine.

  2. Utter drivel. This rather young nation is still somewhat defining itself, including its military. That there would be some adjustments along the way in attaining the goal of maturation of institutional character of our military such that it is a robust model for the future is to be expected. Rather this than becoming ever more American, which is a very real possibility if we are not very careful! We have already gone down that road a considerable distance and I for one am glad that things are starting to get back on track. I am also very glad that the silly bars are gone for the Army ranks, too. Give me pips (or stars) and crowns any day! Also, your argument presupposes that there is no meaningful action being taken in other areas other than “buttons and bows” and that too much emphasis is being placed in trinkets. You are wrong. As a serving senior officer and as a tax payer I have no problem whatsoever in this country’s military seeking its way within a mature nation in its own right and making the necessary adjustments to the regalia and insignia as part of that process. No offense to the have-beens, but your armchair philosophy does nothing whatsoever to help things along; on the contrary, in fact. If you don’t mind, those of us still serving are the keepers of this still great institution and really need no help from the “negative Nellies” on the side-lines. OUT!

  3. Oh, one final point: The “British crown”, as you call it, is in fact also the Canadian crown, or had you conveniently forgotten that Canada is a constitutional monarchy?

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