April 12, 2024

Canadian Ranger military service is a Proud part of this Yukon Author’s past

Ken Matthies, CD, Canadian Rangers in uniform and at Attention!

To say that my Canadian Ranger military service is a proud part of this Yukon author’s past is only one part of the story behind such a statement.

Springing as I do from a conscientious-objector religious heritage it might even seem all the more remarkable that such a thing could possibly have occurred in my life.

The simple truth is it occurred because I chose it for a number of powerfully valid reasons, each of which carried their own weight of example to guide my decision.

Key among them was the desire to pay personal tribute to one of my own uncles sprung from the same religious heritage as I, who set aside his objections during WWII and joined a Canadian Regiment that went overseas into war from the beachheads in France. My uncle died in battle nineteen days after hitting the beach, when he chose to  pay the ultimate price by throwing his own body over a German grenade in defense of a friend’s life. His example laid down a powerful precedent in my life that I believed should be paid additional honor to by my own time of service.

And then there were my two brothers whose additional example also served to point the way to that decision – one of whom served overseas in the Royal Canadian Air Force of the 1950’s, and the other who did a stint with one of our military Reserve units in later years.

It’s a decision I’ve never regretted, but rather one I will continue to view with pride and honor for the reasons and period of time chosen to serve my country in such a manner.

To help you better understand the military unit I served in here’s the official description taken from the National Defense website of who my comrades in arms are:

“The Canadian Rangers, a sub-component of the Canadian Forces (CF) Reserve, provide patrols and detachments for employment on national-security and public-safety missions in those sparsely settled northern, coastal and isolated areas of Canada which can not conveniently or economically be covered by other elements or components of the CF. Formally established in 1947,the Canadian Rangers protect Canada’s sovereignty by reporting unusual activities or sightings, collecting local data of significance to the CF, and conducting surveillance or sovereignty patrols as required.

Canadian Rangers are dedicated, knowledgeable members of the Army and reflect the diversity of the communities they belong to. Many Canadian Rangers are Aboriginal and there are a total of 23 different languages spoken. Easily recognized by their red sweatshirts and ball hats the Canadian Rangers play an important role in advancing public recognition of Canada’s Inuit, First Nations and Métis.

There are currently over 4,250 Canadian Rangers in 169 communities across Canada. This number is expected to increase to 5,000 in 2012”.

Though retired now the fourteen years of Canadian Ranger military service is a proud part of this Yukon author’s past and will remain so until my final course is run.

Ken Matthies, CD, Canadian Rangers (Ret’d) 1CRPG

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