Profession of Arms: Where Leadership Begins!

Seven people standing wearing military uniforms.
Following the unveiling of framed displays of Chief Warrant Officer Necole Belanger's article on July 11, 2018, at the Royal Canadian Air Force Academy, at 16 Wing/Canadian Forces Base Borden, Ontario, Chief Warrant Officer Necole Belanger (centre) stands with, from left, Sergeant Christopher Bentley, from 16 Wing Imaging and one of the people who framed the article; Master Warrant Officers L-R Hennessey, M. Higgins, P. Turcotte, and G. Boily. and Ordinary Seaman Larrisa DeGuzman, also from 16 Wing Imaging and who also worked on the framing. PHOTO: Sergeant Christopher Bentley, BM01-2018-0257-02

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By Master Warrant Officer Douglas Hennessey

As a non-commissioned member, I have often wondered where I stood within the military, trying to determine what it means to be in the “profession of arms”. Recently, I read an article in the “Royal Canadian Air Force Journal”, written by Chief Warrant Officer Necole Belanger, about being a member of the profession of arms from a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Chief Warrant Officer’s perspective. I found it to be a meaningful, powerful and moving article. One of her most thought-provoking statements is:

“I am a professional within the profession of arms! Duty, Loyalty, Integrity, and Courage are no longer words that roll off my tongue when asked if I can name them; rather, they are standards of behavior that I do my utmost to live by, every day and in everything I do, whether in or out of uniform”.

As I read this to myself, I realized that this ideology, this belief, is something that every non-commissioned member in any Canadian Armed Forces environment lives by and believes in.

The RCAF Academy, at 16 Wing/Canadian Forces Base Borden, Ontario, provides leadership and management training, broadens awareness of RCAF heritage, and develops general service knowledge and professional attributes among non-commissioned members. On July 10, 2018, at the RCAF Academy, Chief Warrant Officer Belanger and her wife, Judy Gaus, proceeded to the reception area on the second floor, where they were received by many members of 16 Wing. Framed in black and gold on the wall hung her article, in French, and English.

At the podium stood the Commandant of the Academy, Chief Warrant Officer James Marshall. The room fell silent as he began speaking, explaining the significant meaning of Chief Warrant Officer Belanger’s article and how it relates to the RCAF Academy and leadership. As he said, “Learn the profession, practise the profession and lead the profession. All who leave these doors are emerging leaders within the profession of arms.”

Chief Warrant Officer Belanger took the podium and said, “Never could I have imagined when I was writing this article that it would receive a place of prominence within these hallowed halls”.

Her article now hangs from the RCAF Academy’s wall, a fitting place of honour and respect. All future leaders will be able to read the article, and the message within will be understood for decades.

If you’re a member of the service or a civilian that wants a better understanding of the people that put service before self and why, then read this article in the Royal Canadian Air Force Journal, vol 7, no 1, winter 2018. It is entitled “Being a Member of the Profession of Arms: A RCAF Chief Warrant Officer’s Perspective.


Royal Canadian Air Force Academy

16 Wing Borden

The Royal Canadian Air Force Journal

Image gallery

  • One person talking behind a podium in front of many seated people.
  • Six people standing wearing military uniforms.
  • Seven people standing wearing military uniforms.
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