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Master Gunners

muskrat89

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Do we have any Master Gunners on the board? I‘ve known a few, fired in support of their course (IIRC)but was always interested in knowing more. Does that course still run? Don‘t other trades get on it, occasionally? How long has Canada had its own? I‘m sure any info will be interesting for all of us.
 

Gunner109

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The Mr Gnr crse now runs in CFB Kingston. It was always available to Snr NCM‘s and Armoured Snr NCM‘s. Last I heard it was going to be opened up to a larger group of people. The idea was to have the Mr Gnr do his/her trg in Kingston and then rtn to the Regts vice the School. The thinking behind that was to have the expertise back in the Regt. I am not sure if that is the way it is running now. The Mr Gnr crse is a very specialized crse but in now way is it a career crse, much the same as the IG crse is not a career crse for officers. I have had Commanding officers and RSM‘s that were neither IG‘s or Mr Gnr‘s. Hope this helps.
 

Petard

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This is a damned old thread but certainly the title caught my eye, so what the hoop, somebody might actually do a search and want to find out about this follow up.
I did the the Master Gunner course in its current form last year 2004-2005, it is now called the Army Technical Warrant Officer's program, although on graduation the title "Master Gunner" is still awarded as is the Master Gunner badge.
The course is very academically demanding. I don't care what previous experience someone might have prior to going on the course, they will definitely be pushed out of their comfort zone. The university approach to learning took this old salt some getting used to after being brought up through 25 years of the Army training system. The program has a 13 month duration in RMC, plus a 2 to 3 month (depending on student) pre-course study package (math, physics, chemistry, writing and so on) done at the home unit and/or partially at Kingston. On a good night student's finish about 2300, most night's, and burn a good part of the weekend too; a very busy curriculum.
In spite of the title Master Gunner, the program does not focus on gunnery, I would say weapon system design takes up maybe 1/8th, at most, of the program's time. Instead the program covers a broad range of subjects on the defence industry and is based for the most part on the Officer's Land Forces Technical Staff program, with the ATWO's receiving a bit more on user trial's.  There's a good number of visits to Defence Research establishments both in Canada and the US. The ATWO students are also responsible for conducting an actual user trial; I was paired up with my good RCR bro and we did a trial on the Diemaco EAGLE
Our course had 3 infanteer's (one from ea reg Force Regt), 1 Armoured (12e RBC), 1 Fd Engineer (5e Regt), 1 from the Air Defence, 1 Vehicle Tech, and me from the Fd Arty. So the course is certainly no longer limited to gunner's, I believe the course that just finished had an RMS clerk on it and the next serial doesn't even have any Field Gunner's on it.
Post course there are some problems. JShort is right, the intent was to do something like we used to with the ATWO returning to a field unit to work in a sort of Tech Adjt postion. This is not what is happening and in fact about half the graduates return to a line unit where their new skills actually do not get used that much. This can be very discouraging. I was no exception, I returned to the Arty School where my skills were only marginally put to use during the implementation of M777 (the new Light Weight Towed 155mm howitzer) training, but this has since changed and I now am to take on the specific duties of Master Gunner in the School.
So all in all I would say it is a very challenging and worthwhile course, there are some post course employment troubles but the powers that be are working on that, it is getting better and hopefully before too long we'll see 100% of the graduates being employed in positions where they can bring their new skill sets to bare.
Hope this answers most questions to any poor bored SOB that looked this up ;D
cheers!
 

muskrat89

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Welcome to the boards, Sir. I think we may have crossed paths, somewhere along the way....  :)
 

Petard

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Thanks Muskrat, I can see by your profile that it's quite possible I've seen you somewhere along the trail. By the way 3rd Fd is doing quite well, they have also been actively recruiting a lot of the Reg force members around here that are close or just past their "20", glad to see they're keeping them in the family so to speak.
Just got back from observing some new developments on M777, for part of the trial Reservists made up the majority of the gun dets, they did OK, although I think unfamiliarity made some of them gun shy and hesitant, but good to see that Reservists are being brought into the fold on this new technology too.

It is interesting to note that you used to fire for the Master Gunner course, was that using Artillery wpns? I didn't know they used to do that, they certainly don't now. The present course does have a small arms famil day that is a helluva  good go. Basically the idea is to get the students aware of as many different weapon characteristics as possible, so the day is spent firing live anything from Sten SMG's and Mauser K98's to RPK's, AK 74's etc., but nothing larger than 40mm (grenade launcher).

Cheers

 

muskrat89

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Petard - I may have been mistaken regarding firing in support of... I knew a few Master Gunners, of course, but somewhere in my memory banks is a kernel suggesting that I did something supporting a Master Gunner's course. Hard to say.. I've done a lot of neat taskings over the years, with The School. Granted, I did qualify my initial statement with "If I remember correctly", which tells me it was a fuzzy memory to start with...  :)
 

Gramps

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muskrat89 said:
Do we have any Master Gunners on the board? I‘ve known a few, fired in support of their course (IIRC)but was always interested in knowing more. Does that course still run? Don‘t other trades get on it, occasionally? How long has Canada had its own? I‘m sure any info will be interesting for all of us.

Yes, I am reviving a very old thread but I had not seen this until today.

I have recently been doing some research related to the subject of the Master Gunner and the ATO. Canada's first Master Gunner was S.S Weatherbie, he attended the course in the year 1900 in England and became the first Canadian to successfully complete the course. Recently the Top Candidate award for the ATO course was named the "LCol S.S Weatherbie Award", he was my Great Grandfather.

 
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