The Reserve Force is a large, fully-integrated branch of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) whose members are mostly part-time staff who have civilian jobs, with some on full time employment contracts. The Reserve Force supports the regular armed forces in both international and domestic operations. There are currently 22,800 members serve as full-time soldiers in the Regular Force supported by 17,300 part-time, volunteer soldiers in the Reserve Force in Canada.
The Reserve Force is organized into ten Brigade Groups spread across the country, with the closest regiment called the Hastings Prince Edward Regiment affectionately referred to as the “Hasty P’s”. This is an Army Reserve infantry unit charged with producing operationally capable, ethical soldiers to support CAF operations. They operate with three locations across central Ontario in the towns of Belleville, Peterborough and Cobourg.
Reservists typically serve one or more evenings a week and/or during weekends at locations close to home. They also undergo two weeks of full-time training per year, normally during the summer months, to ensure members are ready to answer a call to service. Reservists are volunteers for a service period entirely of their choosing. Mandatory mobilization of Reservists for deployment is only possible through an order by the Federal Government in the event of a serious national emergency such as war or invasion. On the other hand Reservists may volunteer to serve full time in Canada or abroad on a mission of their choosing, such as in national disaster relief operations or during military exercises. These missions can last a few days or as long as a year when heading overseas and always require significant training before an overseas deployment to ensure Reservists have the same degree of training as regular force members.
Henry Clarke is the past Commanding Officer our local Reserve Unit the Hasty P’s, which is the equivalent of a Chief Executive Officer in the business world. He joined the organization in 1971, following a family tradition of several generations of serving in the Reserves and retired in 1997. Despite the demands on his time, he believes these programs were invaluable to him inside and outside his military career. Through them he came to understand a great deal about his comrades as well as himself. Motivational and leadership skills easily transfer to civilian life, which he found useful in his civilian career in PepsiCo Canada in Peterborough. Military training also develops physical and emotional toughness, and in his experience, the bonds of friendship formed in the military last a lifetime. From 1993 to 1997, he commanded the Regiment as a Lieutenant-Colonel, and under his leadership the regiment was twice recognized as the top reserve infantry regiment in Ontario. After retiring he found a new way to serve his community and is currently Deputy Mayor of Peterborough.
Clarke believes that joining the military is a fantastic career opportunity, whether it is part-time or full –time offering a wide variety of job opportunities with adventure, travel and challenge. The most important attribute a candidate must bring to the armed forces to be an effective member is a desire to serve their country. Joining the armed forces is answering a call to duty. Sir Winston Churchill once said “The reservist is twice the citizen,” because a reservist has a career outside the armed forces as well as inside the organization. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Clarke would agree. KG