Beginning his career in the Naval Reserve in 1983 Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer Kevin West worked his way through the ranks to become the 12th Canadian Forces CWO in 2013 and after 35 years of serving his country, CWO West retired and relinquished his duties to CWO Alain Guimond on July 5, 2018West.
“As Canadian Forces CWO, the first thank you has to be to General Lawson, and some may say he is to blame that I am here. Who, five years ago, selected me into the position at the 12th Canadian Forces CWO, which is a great honour,” said CWO West. “Sir, I thank you for your trust and your confidence at that time, and for believing in me as having something to offer the Canadian Forces at the most senior levels. I truly enjoyed being your wingman for two years.”
CWO West also thanked Brigadier Dave Cochrane for his leadership and mentorship, saying it was an honour to serve with him at 8 Wing Trenton during what CWO West described as the “darker days” of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
“I learned so much from him of when we go into a crisis, how to handle ourselves and how to move forward in this organization. He was the right person to bring that wing back from that dark period at that time,” said CWO West.
In addition to Brigadier Cochrane, CWO West also thanked Lieutenant General Meinzinger.
“Serving as your chief in Afghanistan, sir, was one of the highlights of my career. Our days were long and tough but being your battle buddy was simply amazing. You’re an amazing leader, and the RCF will benefit from your leadership,” said CWO West of Lt.-Gen Meinzinger.
And finally, before closing out his speech, CWO West thanked General Vance as well. He had never worked with Gen. Vance in the past. However, he’d heard about him through the grapevine.
“I’d heard from others that General Vance bled of leadership,” said CWO West. “That would be an understatement. You took command of the CAF almost three years ago with a vision and a plan to change things for the better. You said from day one, your priority and our priority needed to be the people and you have worked tirelessly in moving toward that goal.”
“You nailed it as Canadian Forces Chief. You were everything that this job needed to be,” said Gen. Vance of CWO West.
Following the signing of the documents, Guimond officially became the 13th Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer.
CWO Guimond joined the military at the mere age of 17 in Rimouski, Que. He attended recruit school in St-Jean, Que., and finished first in the NQ3 (DP1) combat engineer trade course. Upon completing his first year in the Youth Training Employment program, CWO Guimond signed himself up for another three years in the CAF.
Throughout his 35 years in the military, CWO Guimond worked as a combat diver and a parachutist, taking part in missions such as sabotage exercises, reconnaissance missions, clearing mines, and search and recovery operations.