By Catherine Villeneuve, The Guard –
Five years to the day after his appointment as Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer, Chief Warrant Officer Kevin West, MMM, MSM, CD retired from his leadership role after 35 years serving in the CAF.
In a touching ceremony, CWO West bid farewell to his troops and colleagues and received in return outstanding accolades from predecessors, peers and friends. General Jonathan H. Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, spoke of his leadership in implementing innovative programs and pushing existing services further.
“It’s been my distinct pleasure to have Chief Warrant Officer Kevin West as my command team partner over the past three years. I’ve counted on his leadership in key areas, most especially his hard work further modernizing the Non-Commissioned Member corps. I’m especially grateful for his advice, which was always of the highest calibre and consistently produced positive results for our people and their families. I wish him and his family the absolute best in the future,” General Vance stated.
CWO West enrolled in the Naval Reserves in the summer of 1983 as a naval signalman and in January of 1985, he transferred to the Regular Force. CWO West sailed on the east coast in a number of ships, and on numerous deployments. In 1990, he was accepted for an occupational transfer to Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator (AES Op). He was deployed on several operations including Operation SHARP GUARD in support of the United Nations’ sanctions in Bosnia and also in Afghanistan as the Air Wing CWO on Roto 11.
After his promotion to his current rank in 2006, CWO West went on to serve in a series of significant postings and appointments, including CFSU(O) CWO in 2012. He was then appointed as the Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer in July 2013.
Shortly after being promoted to his current rank, in 2007, CWO West was notably appointed as the first NCM Commandant of the Non-Commissioned Member’s Professional Development Centre in Saint Jean, an achievement he is particularly proud of. The Chief Warrant Officer Osside Profession of Arms Institute is very near and dear to his heart, having been there when the official authority for the Non-Commissioned Members Professional Development Division was transferred from the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School to its command. At the time he was quoted saying “The Chief Warrant Officer Osside Profession of Arms Institute plays a key role in enabling our members to develop the intellectual and leadership skills they will need to meet the requirements of command in an increasingly complex and changing world. I have no doubt that it will continue to offer top-quality training designed for non-commissioned members.”
CWO West was invested to the Order of Military Merit in 2011 and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 2012. He also holds a Master’s degree in leadership from Royal Roads University.
The CAF bid farewell to its 12th CFCWO in a change of appointment ceremony between him and CWO Alain Guimond, who previously held the position of Canadian Army Sergeant Major. CWO West is both the youngest and longest-serving CFCWO to date.
He will be remembered for his dedication to his troops across the country, his professionalism and diplomacy representing CAF and Canada, and his commitment to supporting members and their families, notably through his Charity Golf Tournament held here in Ottawa at CFSU(O)’s own Hylands Golf Course.
Photo: Warrant Officer Ronald Duchesne
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