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Purple Trades: Definition & Trg Discussion



Yard Ape said:
Confirm that by "Purple trade" you mean an MOC which is not exclusive to one element.  Like MP, Log, etc.
MCG said:
Yes.  A purple trade is not exclusively army, navy or air.  It exists in two or all three of the elements.
Was there any function to introducing Air Force MPs, or was it just for aesthetics? I also wonder about other trades common to all services. Is there any difference in training for a clerk in the Army vs one in the Air Force? If there is no difference, then why assign an element? Why not just tell the individual to dress like the unit he/she is serving in?

:cool: Yard Ape
As an ex green-wearing clerk on an air base, I can tell you that the training at the schools on MOC courses, was adequate for the job. The differences tend to more in individual outlook than in uniform colour.

Uniform colour was once assigned by a cigar-smoking old Artillery major in Trenton (no kidding I watched him at work). He had to calculate the end needs to maintain some magical ratio of blue/green/dark blue after recruit training. These production requirements were then communicated to the recruiting centres, who would offer a job and a uniform to an applicant. Once in one colour, the system was supposed to remain colour blind and indifferent. However, first posting environments tended to set the trend for future employment.

Air Force MPs eh?
I was at Borden for shooting last weekend and there were Air Force MPs a couple of shooting bays down from us and they were practicing with C9s. My platoon had a little discusion about that at lunch and I heard that military MPs have lots of authority and can beat you if they suspect you with something(little egzagerated) so we were told not to bother them. The function of the MPs at Borden is kinf of obviouse, Its an air force base , so they have air force MPs.
I tried my best to answer your question.
"Air Force" MPs have been around since the RCAF where the vast majority of the Air Force Policemen were employed as site security for those items that Canada never had. If there is an "invented" MP uniform it would be the navy one as most MP functions, particularly that of disciplinarian, were filled by the shore patrol, usually specially trained pers of hard sea trades. SP was not their primary duty and they would only fill those functions when required, once their ship went to sea they were back to scrapping rust etc. Once the glad bags came out MPs were eventually posted to every CFB and the duties and responsibilities were made pretty much the same at each base, aside from places like the MP Pls and Bn MPs.

SOF: No we don‘t beat suspects, we are held to the same laws and standards (in some cases even higher standards) as civilian police. As for Borden, it isn‘t an Air Force base, it‘s a CFRETS base, it doesn‘t belong to any element. There is a strong Air Force presence there with 400(?) Wing and the Alphabet school but the primary purpose of the base is to host the various trade schools. As for which bases MPs serve at, they serve at them all. Air Force can serve at Navy bases, Navy MPs can serve at Army bases and Army MPs etc. As has been stated, "purple" trades are not colour coded when it comes to postings, although I do know of a MP field Platoon that only has 4 "Army" MPs in it so perhaps that poetic justice on those that chose Air Force blue and Navy...
In ‘98 I saw an Airforce Logistics Captain taking the BIOC Phase II. She wanted to change her element to land so she would be eligable for a posting which went to army personel in her trade. From this, one can only be left to conclude that there is some difference in training based on element. Any Logistic officers out there who can clarify this?

(BIOC = Basic Infantry Officer Course. The Phase II of this is common to all land officers)
I can attest to a certain amount of colour coding going on within the officers of the purple branches, ie. you‘ll never see someone wearing blue or navy being made CO of a MP Pl. As for other classifications I can‘t really say for sure but I will say that a log officer serving in a service battalion or with a combat arms unit requires a totally different skill set compared to one serving at an airbase. It also makes sense to bring someone through the system throughout their career, imagine the chaos if the CO of a Svc Bn had never served in the field before and didn‘t really want to be there?

Not an expert in this, merely a few observations.
How might the introduction of an element specific course, between QL2 and QL3, affect the ease with which soldiers within these trades can be posted from one unit to another unit of a different element? Would it be the final nail in the coffin of Trudeau‘s unification of the forces?
My guess is it would have zero impact since the various commands have been running environment specific JLC/JNCO courses for years now. I know it‘s great fun to bug the older MCpls who wear blue about how hard it was to conduct small party tasks in a hanger in Penhold while some of us were off doing the Army one and playing infantryman...

It‘s better and worse today. You now go on a course based on where you are currently based. This is good in theory since if you‘re posted to LF then it makes sense to teach someone how to conduct a section attack but then you run into situations where someone takes the Air Force or Navy course and are immediately promoted and posted to a LF base or vice versa.
So far, the discussion has focused on trades such as the MPs and Logistics, which, in my experience (very little in the navy area, I‘m afraid) are fairly similar across the elements. Other trades, however, such as the tech trades in the CELE branch, differ grearly across land and air (no Navy in the CELE branch.) The reasoning behind the partitioning of non-element specific trades (such as logistics and MPs) is unfortunately beyond me.
Originally posted by McG:
[QB]How might the introduction of an element specific course, between QL2 and QL3, affect the ease with which soldiers within these trades can be posted from one unit to another unit of a different element? [QB]

If all soldiers of a given element are expected to have a given common skill set, then soldiers from another element should not be thrown into the mix unqualified. Under the new system, a person should only serve with the element that he belongs to. The other option would be for Borden to run conversion courses for soldiers to switch form one element to another.

:cool: Yard Ape
I canvouch for garb811 when he said earlier in the posts about uniforms and the different bases. We all receive the same training, regardless of your occupational dress. I‘m currently at the naval base in Esquimalt and I can tell you that there‘s only 1 navy MP here!!!!!!!!

I understand  Medics, cooks, clerks, vehicle techs are purple trades.  What are some of the other trades that can be more than one element?  Carpentry?  Engineers?  And does that vary at times with Regs and Reserves?  What about trades such as electricians - ED and EGS techs are only Army and Air, and for Navy they are Naval Electricians, so thats not really tri-trade if you feel like getting overly technical.
Griswald said:
I understand  ..., vehicle techs are purple trades.  

My understanding is that Veh Tech, which belongs to the EME branch, are not purple.  EME belongs to the Army.  That being said, some Veh Tech are in the Air element and wear blue.
I thought the EME branch choose to go all Army (including uniforms).

The engineer construction trades are purple (existing in both air and land elements).
McG said:
I thought the EME branch choose to go all Army (including uniforms).

IIRC, I saw a veh tech, in blue, at the EME Assoc Conf 2003.  They were giving a report on the EME trades in the Air Res.  Things may have changed since then.
Could be that EME is all land except for members of the Air Reserve.
EME is Army owned.Period
At one time in our life,EME (or more accuratly LORE)existed in the RCAF as well.Thats why we have light blue as one of the colors on the branch flag.
After spending 2 years in Borden on PAT,I hav'nt seen a single non-army tech pass through the school,and highly doubt that any exist.
As techs,we can get posted to air or naval establishments as well as land only bases.The only cross over,and it's not even a cross over really is NWT-Naval Weapons Tech-but that is a naval trade all to itself.
If someone can show me a picture of a non-army EME tech,I'll do some digging to explain it and hopefully clear up any questions that exist.The only possibility I could see would an Air Res unit,holding a Army EME tech,and for reasons of uniformity,having them wear a light blue beret with combats(ala a clerk wearing thier unit slip-ons instead of LOG).I know that some Air res units like airfield engineers probably require thier own V-techs.

Arte et Marte
By Skill and by Fighting
I'm in airfield engineers and our veh techs are army, but they wear their own greens.  I believe our EOD guys are army as well. *trying to think*
Your EOD guys would be 043 Cbt Engr.  They are Army.