Brigadier General J. A. Cotter, CD
SAC 1950-1951

James A. Cotter was born on September 16, 1932 in Niagara Falls, Ontario and attended St. Andrew's College from 1950-1951. He completed initial officer training while attending the University of Western Ontario, and upon graduation in 1954, James A. Cotter enrolled in the Canadian Army as an Artillery Officer. 

He was posted to Second Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (2RCHA) which was at that time stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). He moved to Winnipeg with the Regiment in January 1956 and was subsequently posted to the Royal Canadian School of Artillery as a Troop Commander and then second-in-command of the Soldier Apprentice Battery.

He was selected for pilot training in 1959 and on graduation from flying school was assigned to 2 Air Observation Post Flight, Royal Canadian Artillery in Camp Shilo, Manitoba. There he remained until 1961 when he was nominated to attend the Canadian Army Staff College in Kingston, Ontario. On completion of the course in 1963, he was assigned to Headquarters 4 Canadian Infantry Brigade Group at Soest, FRG, as a general staff officer. In 1965, with promotion to Major, he was appointed officer commanding, D Battery, 2RCHA, in Hermer, FRG. On return to Canada in 1967 he was assigned to Headquarters Mobile Command, St. Hubert, PQ as staff officer artillery.

Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1969, General Cotter assumed command of Second Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in Camp Gagetown, New Brunswick. August 1970 saw him on his way to National Defence Headquarters, Ottawa to be the general staff officer responsible for the War Games Section in the Directorate of Land Operational Research for the next two years. There followed two short staff assignments in the headquarters, after which he was promoted to Colonel and appointed Canadian Military Delegate to the Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions talks between NATO and Warsaw Pact Organization in Vienna, Austria. He returned to Ottawa in 1975 as Director of Artillery until being selected to attend the National Defence College, Kingston, Ontario.

In 1978 he was promoted to Brigadier General and named to be the Chief-of-Staff United Nations Forces and Commander Canadian Contingent in Cyprus. In 1980 he assumed command of 1 Canadian Brigade Group, Calgary, Alberta and in 1982 he was appointed Commandant of the Canadian Land forces Command and Staff College, Kingston.

General Cotter was posted to National Defence Headquarters as Director General Defence Policy during the summer of 1984 and retired from the Canadian Forces in 1986.

From the Andrean, Careers in the Forces, Part II and Biographical info provided by General Cotter.