Major John D. Stewart, CD, ADC
SAC 1973-1978
Cadet Commanding Officer 1977-1978

John David Stewart was a student at the College from 1973 to 1978. After a tour of duty in MacDonald House he was promoted to the exalted ranks of Memorial House. In his final year at the College, John was a Prefect and Cadet Commanding Officer.  He made his mark in debating, drama and earned a reputation as a superb mimic. No master at the College escaped unscathed!  John had the same roommate throughout his time at the College, a student from Peru. He took advantage of this situation to become fluent in Spanish, a skill he has found to be very useful in his professional life.

After graduating from St. Andrew's, Capt Stewart acquired an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto and is in the process of completing his M.A. at the Royal Military College.

Following his undergraduate education Capt Stewart worked in the financial community. He is currently a teaching fellow in the Faculty of Management at the University of Toronto and in 1997, he received the Gordon Cressy Leadership Award from the university.

He has been very involved with the Canadian Armed Forces. Commissioned in 1976, Capt Stewart has served with the militia, which included a two-year tour of duty with the British Army. He is currently a Staff Officer at National Defence Headquarters, providing liaison to armies in Latin America. He has gone to Argentina to advise their army on the setting up of reserve units. His Spanish has served him well! Capt Stewart also serves as Aide de Camp to the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. He was awarded the Canadian Forces Decoration in 1988 and the Confederation Medal in 1992.

In his spare time he serves on the Board of Directors of the Royal Canadian Military Institute and is Vice-Chair of the Ontario Council of the St. John Ambulance.

This year [1998] he donated new claymores to the Corps, which are being carried on parade for the first time today. On the blades of the swords are engraved the names of the one hundred and fifty-one Andreans who gave their lives in World Wars I and II.

 From the 1998 Annual Inspection Program

At the start of June 2003, John wrote:

"I thought I would update you on my pre-deployment training for Afghanistan. Most people, when they take a year's leave from TD Bank Financial Group have fun projects that they embark on, but do they do this?!?!?!?!

My three weeks at Meaford in May went well, each day starting with an hour of P.T. beginning at 5:45 AM consisting of a "nice little run".

This had my heart rate up to 190 plus as I kept up with the younger dogs, but I have improved! It was very hard work, but now I am doing about 2 hours in the gym every day, plus road runs of course, so I am getting back to my level of fitness that I enjoyed in the mid 1990s.

Most of the training was called DLOC, (Deployment Level of Competency) which was all refresher training on the C7 rifle, C9 light machine gun, 9mm pistol, M67 Fragmentation Grenade (hand grenade), M72 LAW light anti-tank weapon, (shoulder fired armour piercing rocket) and its bigger cousin, the Carl Gustaf 84 mm rocket launcher, (again shoulder fired - fun at a weight of 18 kg). We fired all of our weapons for several days, threw the grenades (from behind very thick concrete) and of course fired the rocket launchers at old tank hulls a few hundred meters away. Thus we spent many days on the outdoor ranges, an activity which I have always enjoyed. My rifle and pistol shooting are right back up to par - so I am pleased with that, since that is a skill that will definitely save your life. All of this was review, but there is still an endless list of things that I need to improve on - even though I started doing this 27 years ago as of June 26th!

We also did NBCD training, (which is Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Defense), and practiced the various stages of readiness in NBCD suits and masks and of course, spent time in the "gas hut" being gassed with CS riot gas, donning masks, et cetera. We were also thoroughly trained on the atropine auto-injector, which is like a ball point pen syringe that you stick into your thigh if you are hit with a nerve agent. In addition, we are also issued a diazepam injector for the convulsions from nerve gas. If needed, the trick will be to do all of this in the first minute after exposure, which means keeping an eye on your chemical paper to see if it is changing colour to indicate the presence of gas. Why? Because many of these nasty little nerve and blood agents have no smell or taste! The new decontaminant gel is fantastic and completely saves you from mustard gas, nerve agents, blood agents and other chemical weapons. Other training included:laws of armed conflict, preventative medicine lectures that familiarized us with the medical hazards of urban and rural Afghanistan. (30% of the red dust in Kabul is fecal matter that results from the open sewer system). We also learned about the varieties of cobras, vipers and scorpions, and did a significant amount of mine awareness training.

There are over 2 million mines in Afghanistan which were scattered during the Soviet invasion. Mine Awareness involves recognizing a potential minefield, and dealing with it when you are in one. It is a lot of memory work which concentrates on drills and de-mining methods, and situations such as getting to a casualty who has just been wounded by a mine, and then getting you both out. It is a long an dangerous process, especially since mine fields are usually covered by effective fire - (people shooting at you)! Finally, we spent a lot of time on first aid and treating battle casualties.

The administrative aspects of our DAG (Departure Assistance Group) involved lots of shots for Typhoid, measles, mumps, rubella, menococcal meningitis, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, TB tests, and a test to see what our PG6 protein level was in our blood to see whether or not we could tolerate the malaria medication. After the in-depth dental and medical exams (my cholesterol is finally lower!!!!), we had interviews with the padre to make sure we are stable and happy, completed or updated wills, various forms, and drew all of the kit we will need. Everything from Gore-Tex to mosquito nets, since our deployment is from July to February at least, and possibly longer.

Finally, we had the Battle Fitness Test. This is a nice little 13 Kilometre walk which must be completed in 2 hour and 26 minutes while dressed in full fighting order, helmet, combat boots, weapon (C7 rifle), ammunition, and a 55 pound rucksack on very rough and hilly roads. (I passed - did it in tw o hours and five minutes, then did the fireman carry of someone of equal weight for 100 meters). With all my kit, weapon, et cetera, I was at about 280 pounds for the 13 k. My feet hated me for that.

On May 26th, all 50 of us Reservists who are part of the 1,800 soldier force going to Afghanistan went to Petawawa to join up with the Battle Group from 2 CMBG (2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group). That is when the fun really started - and I will tell you about that in my next email. I am fine and enjoying the training with old friends and have made a few new ones too. All in all a very positive experience."