Friends of 21: Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Coe


.As you may know, 21 Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada – Army Cadet Corps is sponsored by our local Regiment, the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada. We share (most of) a name, we wear the regimental name on cadet shoulder badges. We are allowed to parade at the Cambridge Armoury at the pleasure of our regimental friends. Sometimes, we see members of the regiment in the armoury on Tuesday nights, or we help them with their Stuff an Army Truck event in December. We invite the Commanding Officer, the Deputy Commanding Officer, and the Regimental Sergeant Major to our Christmas Dinner and our Annual Ceremonial Review. But do you know them? Would you even recognize them if they spoke to you on the Parade Square?

As part of the White Hackle, we’re going to help bridge the gap so that cadets are better aware of the leadership at the Regiment. In this edition, we’d like to introduce the Incoming Commanding Officer of the Highland Fusiliers, Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Coe.

Next weekend, LCol Coe will take over command from LCol Mark Poland at the Change of Command Ceremony. Major Coe has worked directly with 21 in his role as the regimental head of the joint cadet band training program in 2017-2018, and he is very proud of the progress that 21 has made in the last few years. Outside of the CAF Reserves, Major Coe is a teacher with the Waterloo District School Board.

White Hackle: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Were you a cadet in your youth?

LCol Coe: Regretfully, I was not involved in the cadet movement as a youth since I did not have friends who were in it and timings for parading did not work for my time spent as a lifeguard and swimming instructor for the City of Cambridge and the St Andrew’s Estates Association.

White Hackle: How did you decide to join the CAF?

LCol Coe: My goal was to always be in the army since I was young. I had 2 grandfathers who served in WW II, and one grandfather was also in the Korean War as the Transport Officer for Canada serving within the regular force responsible to every Canadian vehicle entering Korea. My uncle and father both served with the regular force and reserve summer training respectively. I always wanted to be a Reservist and Teacher together since I knew it would be a natural fit to have both careers to give back to Canada. I joined at 17 and haven’t looked back since. I received my commission at 20 years of age in 1990 and I haven’t regretted one moment.

White Hackle: Tell us about a mentor you had when you were starting your career.

LCol Coe: I have had many mentors along the way, but one of my mentors was the CO who always said that it was important to belong to a first-class organization at least once in your life. It left a strong impression for me to strive to bring great credit to the unit and the CAF to be the best Officer I could be. He was always available to ask questions, and would always offer those impromptu chats that were worth their weight in gold. We are still friends to this day.

White Hackle: Tell us about someone you mentored who taught you as much as you gave to them.

LCol Coe: I have mentored so many young Officers and NCOs over the years that one specifically to talk about is an extremely difficult task. I have seen many former students I have taught that have enrolled into the army, deployed overseas and come back to lead great lives back home here which is great to see. Mentoring everyone below you is critical to guide everyone down the right path.

White Hackle: Tell us what leadership means to you.

LCol Coe: Being a leader means you are setting the example for everyone in the organization. Leadership isn’t about ‘loudership’ and yelling at people to motivate them. Keeping your cool when it seems as though everything else is falling apart is critical for success. Leadership means making sacrifices if need be for the greater good of everyone within the organization.