Chapter 7 - Toward a New World (Dis)Order 1989 - ?
November 1989 saw the collapse of the Berlin Wall. This was a barrier constructed around the City of West Berlin which had been, since 1945, a part of West Germany under allied control despite being over 160 kilometres behind the East German border. Since the late 1940s East Germany had strongly fortified its borders with the west and around Berlin to prevent its citizens from escaping into the western zones and then, on 9 November 1989 the policy changed. Breaches were made in the wall and free access to the west was reinstated. This was the symbolic signal for the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the Soviet Bloc equivalent to North Atlantic Treaty Organization - NATO.
On 24 November 1989 Major-General R.N. Senior replaced Brigadier-General M.H.F. Webber as Colonel Commandant of the C & E Branch.
In 1990 1st Canadian Signal Regiment and 1st Canadian Division Headquarters were amalgamated to form 1st Canadian Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment (1CDHSR). It was organized into a headquarters squadron, two communications squadrons an elec-tronic warfare squadron and a support squadron.
On 5 July 1990 the Reserve Electronic Warfare Squadron, Kingston, moved into its new permanent building, E-34 McNaughton Barracks. This new building had been specially designed and constructed for the unit. On 10 July 1990 it came under control of 70 Communications Group.
On 2 August 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait. This action led to the formation of a United States led United Nations multinational coalition which opposed the Iraqi move. In December 1990 90 Canadian Signal Squadron was created and des-patc-hed to the Persian Gulf area as part of the coalition. This was the first "peace making" (as opposed to "peace keeping") mission since Korea. War, designated OPERATION DESERT STORM, broke out at 1250 hours GMT 17 January 1991 when the first air attacks commenced and were followed a week later by a ground attack. After 16 days, by which time Kuwait had been liberated and major portions of southern Iraq captured by the coalition, the war ended. Canada had no combat casualties.
On 10 October 1990 the United Nations Observer Group - ONUVEH was authorised to observe the electoral process in Haiti. ONUVEH ceased operations in February 1991.
UNGOMAP ceased operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan on 15 March 1990.
On 1 April 1991 the Warsaw Pact collapsed. This pact, originally formed in response to the west's 1949 creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was made up of the Soviet Union and its satellite countries, many of them unwilling allies. This marked a significant reduction in the Cold War which had been in effect between the Soviet Bloc and the west since the end of World War II. This also opened the way for the reunification of Germany. Many NATO countries, including Canada, began to reassess their military needs with a view toward taking advantage of this "peace dividend". This led to the decision to discontinue most of the Canadian military presence in Europe and to other significant reductions. Many units and formations found themselves candidates for closure.
In 1991 the Mission de Observadores de Los Nationes Unides en El Salvador (UN OBSERVER GROUP IN EL SALVADOR) - ONUSAL was formed to monitor the cease-fire in El Salvador following 12 years of civil war. Canada provides observers.
The United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara - MINURSO was authorized 29 April 1991. Mandate: With the full support of the Security Council and with the full cooperation of the two parties to effect a cessation of all hostile acts. Canada provides observers and movement control personnel. The full cooperation of the neighbouring countries was to be assured. UN cost $180,617.00.
The United Nations Iraq/Kuwait Observer Mission - UNIKOM was authorized 3 April 1991. Mandate: To monitor the Knor Abdullah waterway between Iraq and Kuwait and a demilitarized zone ten kilometres into Iraq and five kilometres into Kuwait, to deter violations of the boundary, carry out surveillance and observe any hostile action. Canada provides mine clearance and unexploded ordnance disposal duties.
About 1630 hours 30 October 1991 a Hercules aircraft, OPERATION BOXTOP flight 22, crashed 12 miles from CFS Alert. It was carrying a crew of five, 13 passengers and 24,000 pounds of diesel fuel. Defeated by a blizzard and impassable terrain the rescue effort proved futile until the morning of 1 November 1993 when Search and Rescue Technicians, led by Arnold MacAulay from CFB Greenwood, parachuted into the site and found 13 survivors. An overland party from Alert arrived at 1255 hours. Shortly after a Twin Huey helicopter which had been disassembled, flown by Hercules from Edmonton and then reassembled, arrived at the site and ferried the survivors back to Alert. Two American helicopters then arrived and removed the SAR Techs and the dead. Lost in the crash were MCpl Roland Pitre (loadmaster), WO Robert Grimsley, MWO Tom Jardine, Capt Judy TÚpanier and Capt John Couch (aircraft commander).
In 1992 the United Nations Protection Force - UNPROFOR commenced operations in the former Yugoslavia.
- UNPROFOR I involved the protection of Croat and Serbian minorities in Croatia.
- UNPROFOR II involved the protection of convoys in support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and for peace keeping in Macedonia.
On 21 March 1992 a Long Range Communications Terminal (LRCT) of 1st Canadian Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment departed Kingston to assume rear link duties for the Canadian UNPROFOR contingent in the former Yugoslavia.
In 1992 Canada became involved in the European Community Monitoring Mission in Yugoslavia - ECMMY. This non-United Nations body was formed to monitor the cease fire(s). Canada provides observers.
In 1992 the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia - UNTAC was formed to monitor the cease fire in Cambodia.
In the summer of 1992 as 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group began its close out in Lahr Germany unit signal troops/platoons were withdrawn into the brigade signal squadron.
In August 1992 A study was begun by a Vice Chief of Defence Staff (VCDS) study team to identify a more efficient and effective method of providing C & E services to the Canadian Forces. The team recommended a consolidation of authority responsibility and accountability for information services in a single organization responsible to the VCDS . This was endorsed by the Defence Executive Committee in July 1993. The new organization was designated the Defence Information Services Organization (DISO).
In August 1992 the Commandant position at CFSCE was downgraded from Colonel to Lieutenant Colonel. the first Lieutenant-Colonel Comman-dant was David G. Ling (air element).
On 1 September 1992 the Long Range Communication Terminal (LRCT) Troop was transferred from 1 CDHSR to 79 Communications Regiment and redesignated 79 Communication Regiment "Detachment Kingston//LRCT//".
On 6 October 1993 tenders closed for detailed design of the new Communications and Electronics Museum building and for construction management. Four architectural firms submitted proposals plus one Crown corporation bid on construction management only. The winner, Sears and Russell Architects Limited/Dunlop Farrow Inc Architects, was announced on 17 November 1993. A building sub-committee chaired by Brigadier-General Donald Banks was the Museum's charitable corporation agent.
On 15 October 1992 the closure parade for 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron took place at Lahr Germany. At the parade Colonel Bennett, on behalf of 1 Canadian Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment, officially accepted "L" Troop back into the Regiment and received the partnerships with the American, British and German allies. Equipment was mostly returned to Canada with the tactical area communications system equipment going to the Regiment. The Commanding Officer relinquished command on 15 December 1992 and by the summer of 1993 all personnel had been repatriated.
On 23 October 1992 Colonel Paul E. Morneault became the Colonel Commandant of the Communications and Electronics Branch replacing Major-General R.N. Senior.
On 17 December 1992, the last Canadians left 254 (UNFICYP) Signal Squadron, Royal Signals, in Cyprus. This ended 28 continuous years of Canadian presence in this unit.
In December 1992 the United Nations Operation in Somalia - UNOSOM commenced operations in Somalia following the complete breakdown of that country's civil government, a major famine and economic collapse.
- UNOSOM I involved the airlift of supplies and humanitarian relief. The Canadian component, designation OPERATION DELIVERANCE, involved the deployment of a 900 man contingent including the Canadian Airborne Regiment and Headquarters Canadian Joint Forces Somalia Signal Troop (this troop was formed primarily from A Troop 1 CDHSR). HMCS Preserver provided a secure support base while Hercules aircraft assisted both with the deployment and with humanitarian flights. Canadians returned home after six months. Despite media concentration on two unfortunate incidents the Canadians had been the most successful of the national contingents in bringing peace and stability to their area of operations.
- UNOSOM II involved follow on humanitarian assistance.
On 1 April 1993 the Minister of National Defence approved the introduction of Air Command's "wing" structure (CANFORGEN 025/93 CDS055 010001Z APR 93). Under this plan Air Command bases became wings, and the Base Telecommunications Officers (B Tel O) became Wing Telecommunications Officers (W Telecom O) (AIRCOM DCOS TIS 125 061510Z APR 93). The W Telecom O headed up the Telecom Squadron which was created from communications components of the former base organizations. The Air Transportable Communications and Control Unit at Trenton became 8 Air Communication and Control Squadron (8 ACCS).
On 30 April 1993 the Military Aeronautical Communications System (MACS) closed at CFB Baden, Germany as part of the withdrawal of Canadian forces from Europe. On 24 May 1993 gateway operations were handed over to 76 Communication Regiment. Gateway operations ceased 30 June 1993.
On 30 April 1993 Canadian Forces Station Bermuda officially closed.
On 30 May 1993 the Canadian UNOSOM contingent in Somalia handed their responsibilities over to UNOSOMII forces from other countries and prepared to return to Canada. UNISOM, itself ended on 28 February 1995 as the last United Nations troops were withdrawn from the country. While the impact of the earlier famine had been generally overcome no political success was gained by the mission and Somolia continued its internal strife with no central government having emerged.
At 1159 hours, 15 June 1993 The Canadian United Nations Force In Cyprus (UNFICYP) Contingent (based on 2nd Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery - the 59th rotation by Canadian units) formally handed over its UNFICYP responsibilities and began Canada's final withdrawal from Cyprus where Canadians had served since 1964.
The Defence Executive Committee in July 1993 endorsed the concept of a new communications organization designated the Defence Information Services Organization (DISO). An Implementation Planning Team led by Brigadier R.P. (Pep) Fraser was tasked to develop the organizational structure and concept of operations for DISO.
At 2400Z 14 July 1993 Canadian Forces Europe Communications Group ceased operation as part of the closure of Canadian bases in Europe. During the closure period 76 Communication Group assumed responsibility for provision of telecommunications and information system matters in the European theatre.
On 31 July 1993 a final "deactification" parade was held to mark the official closing of CFB Baden, Germany. It then became a detachment of CFB Lahr until closed.
On 31 August 1993 Headquarters 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade, Lahr Germany, closed. CFB Lahr closed 31 August 1994.
REUNION 93, the 90th anniversary of Canadian military communications was held at Kingston Ontario on the long weekend of 3 - 6 September 1993. 1922 registered and over 2400 attended the four day event which was jointly sponsored by the Signallers Club of Canada, 1st Canadian Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment, Canadian Forces Base Kingston and the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics. Chief Warrant Officer J.A. (Jerry) Bellefontaine (Retired), President of the Signallers Club, was the event chairman. Over $84,000 was raised for the C & E Museum new building project.
On 18 September 1993 the Reserve Electronic Warfare Squadron, in Kingston was transferred from 70 Communications Group to the Canadian Forces Supplementary Radio system (CFSRS).
On 1-3 October 1993 CELEBRATION 93 was held at Calgary, Alberta to celebrate 80 years of military communications in that province.
In October 1993 700 (Borden) Communication Squadron of the Communications Reserve commenced amalgamation with the regular force 706 Communications Squadron, also located at Borden. The official ceremony was on 30 October 1993. The new 706 Communication Squadron became the first of the "total force" C & E units.
On 25 November 1993 the inauguration ceremony was held at Communication Command Headquarters in Ottawa for DISDN (Defence Information System Digital Network). This system was the first step of the new DISO concept using a cost effective and reliable digital means of carrying voice, video and data between all locations of the Canadian Forces. The technology represented a new approach to communications rather than the continued upgrading and automation since World War II of what had been originally a manual message system.
The Defence Executive Committee on 30 November 1993 approved the formation of a new communications organization designated the Defence Information Services Organization (DISO). The new organization began operation during the summer of 1994.
On 1 December 1993 an experimental electronic bulletin board was put in place on a trial basis in Ottawa to improve dissemination of C & E Branch information.
On 23 February 1994 Colonel J.A. Stevens passed command of the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics to Lieutenant-Colonel B.L. Brock.
In May 1994 1st Canadian Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment was placed on warning for possible United Nations duty in Rwanda which was in the midst of a bloody civil war.
In 1994, recognising a need for musical support for its parades and ceremonies the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics began formation of a volunteer band in Kingston. Authority to form the band had been requested when the demise of the Vimy Band was announced. This band was approved (NDHQ DMTH 105 271234Z May 94) subject to the School providing an offsetting position for one sergeant bandsman on its establishment. With this new band the school continues in the tradition of its predecessor, the Royal Canadian School of Signals, whose post World War II military band was made up of staff "volunteers". This original staff band predated the formation of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals Band. It was a responsibility of the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) and many early "volunteers" were senior non-commissioned officers, both Signals and Royal Canadian Army Pay Corps, who were inspired to serve in the band as an alternative to extremely frequent assignments as Orderly Sergeant. Prior musical skills were seldom prerequisites. The new band is a responsibility of the School Chief Warrant Officer, the current designation for what was the old RSM. In the mid 1950s the school also had its own Soldier Apprentice Trumpet Band made up of boy soldiers from the Apprentice Training Squadron. The apprentice program ended in 1964.
On 31 May 1994 Communication Squadron Lahr was disbanded, the last operational communications unit of Canada's Germany garrison to close. For a short while after a communications presence for the final closure consisted of 76 Communication Group Headquarters Detachment Lahr.
On 9 June 1994 Prime Minister Jean Cretien made a one day visit to Canadian Troops deployed in the former Yugoslavia, the first such visit by a prime minister in many years. He was accompanied by the Chief of the Defense Staff, General John de Chastelaine.
On 12 June 1994 the Vimy Band played its last concert, in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Normandy Invasion. The band was slated to disband shortly after. Five of the nine regular force bands were reduced to nil strength as part of government cost savings. Again, "Signals" was without a regular force band!
A call for tenders for construction of a new building to house the Canadian Forces Communications and Electronics Museum was sent out by the Museum's architects to five regional companies on 15 July 1994 and tenders closed on 9 August 1994. The potential contractors had been chosen from a list of companies with proven records with both the architects and with our Base Construction Engineers. Four contractors submitted bids however one contractor's bid was late and therefore could not be accepted. All bids were above expected levels due to recent steel price fluctuations. The Kingston firm of T.A. Andre & Sons (Ontario) Limited was selected as the contractor and the formal contract was signed on 14 September 1994.
On 26 July 1994 the main body of troops began deploying from 1st Canadian Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment to Rwanda as part of OPERATION LANCE. Canadian Signalmen were despatched to provide communications for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda, UNAMIR, a multinational force despatched to provide humanitarian aid to Rwandan refugees following the 1994 civil war. Canada's contribution included the initial force commander, Major General Romeo Dallaire (October 1993 - August 1994) with limited staff followed by a 300 person contingent, later increased to 600, which included communicators, engineers and medical personnel as well has airlift for relief supplies and equipment.
Commencing 26 August 1994 a clothing drive was begun by the "Spouses and Friends of the Regiment". The drive was in support of an orphanage in Ruhango near Kigali, Rwanda which had been adopted by soldiers of 1st Canadian Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment serving in Rwanda as part of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda, UNAMIR, a multinational force despatched to provide humanitarian aid to Rwandan refugees following the 1994 civil war. The intent was to re-establish the orphanage as a viable working entity able to function once UNAMIR withdrew. The "Spouses and Friends" organization was originally formed to support the soldiers but quickly realigned itself as the "home front" for the orphanage support effort. Much of the effort was coordinated by the Home Station Adjutant staff, Capt S.M. Grant (wife of Major G.S Dawson, the Deputy Commanding Officer serving in Rwanda) and Corporal L.A. Watson. They coordinated the collection and shipment of 15 metric tonnes of clothing and material to Rwanda. Before the project ended in January 1995 the contingent , with the assistance of the "home front", had provided aid to 6000 Rwandan children.
On 1 September 1994 the Land Engineering Test Establishment (LETE) at Ottawa was disbanded. Electronics Company of this unit traced its beginnings to E Company, Royal Canadian Signals in 1941. It provided research and development as well as quality control services for the Canadian Forces until the summer of 1994.
On 14 September 1994 the Canadian Forces Communications and Electronics Museum awarded a contract to T.A. Andre & Sons (Ontario) Limited for construction of a new Museum building. Construction was estimated to cost $3.8 million out of the new museum project's $5.3 million budget. On the same date the Museum was also awarded a $400,000 grant by the Province of Ontario. Construction of the new building commenced the following week.
At the end of January 1995 the main body of the UNAMIR contingent from 1st Canadian Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment returned home to Kingston from Rwanda.
On 27 February 1995 the Government of Canada brought down a new budget which confirmed major reductions in the Armed Forces of Canada. Projections called for a Regular Force reduction of 6,700 to 60,000 but the Combat Arms increase by 3,000,Primary Reserve reduction of 6,400 to 23,000 and DND civilian reduction of 5,200 to 20,000 by 1 Apr 1998. The DND annual budget decreased by $930 million more than previous announcements for a total of $1.6 billion by 1 Apr 1998. The target is 1.5% of Gross Domestic Product (about $10 Billion a year). National Defence, Maritime Command, Air Command and Land Forces Command headquarters will be reduced by 33%, primarily in senior staff, and all to be located in Ottawa. Air Command announced an approximately 25% personnel reduction which will have major impact upon the C & E Branch.
On 15 September 1995 the Borden Node transmitted its last message using the B4800 SAMSON message distribution equipment. It originally came on line in 1980.