Black Hat Week: Professional Development and Revelry

by MCpl Spencer Richardson and Lt Leland Kirkham


Somewhere within the foggy depths of late November, the soldiers of the Regiment hastily prepared for their annual Black Hat get-together. For all ranks, this was an opportunity to learn, interact, and slowly unwind in preparation for the following week’s revelry. For some, this was a stressful time of briefing subordinates and peers; while for others, it was the perfect opportunity to focus on what really mattered as a professional soldier.


The issue with the way professional development usually occurs is that everyone has a different idea of what that should be. Some think it is learning about Regimental history, some think it has to do with what the new face of warfare will be, and then there are the others who think it has to do with the consumption of copious amounts of liquor… however Lt Dan “I killed that!” Dixon, managed through great effort to focus on all three of those themes during the Black Hat Mess Dinner. The week kicked off with various Squadron briefings, ranging from Regimental history to a thorough run-through of The Society, its funds, and where our money is currently allocated. This brief provided a great amount of clarity for those who are “asked” to donate monthly.


The feature presentations were on Wednesday and Thursday. The first day was a highlight for some, as the maintainers finally saw justice when soldiers were corralled into a small room to be preached to on the benefits of DRMIS. This day also provided soldiers with the riveting experience of tackling new feats in SharePoint and Monitor Mass. As many attendees of Black Hat were told, the most powerful weapon is knowledge; this is slightly different from what the average tanker believes. Thursday saw a myriad of presentations on several topics, where soldiers of the Regiment were given briefings from various Black Hats and CAF members on topics such as DLR’s new projects, the Army of Tomorrow, and the “Apache Pilot Experience”. We even had a guest speaker from the Royal Lancers provide a complete rundown on their version of soldiering and Regimental life. Regardless of rank or position, everyone learned at least one or two things during this week’s festivities.


Although event attendees all learned a thing or two, maintenance will always be a priority for a tank Regiment. Given the heavy demand that the tanks were under just recently with field exercises, DRMIS painted a relatively bleak picture; however, a few dutiful and valorous individuals worked throughout the days of Black Hat to help get the tanks running. The week ended on a high note, as the soldiers were able to watch a fairly normal spectacle of the fabled “Officers’ Post-Mess Dinner Walk of Shame.” Come Friday, as is usual of the Regiment, most were unsure exactly what the future would bring; however, a flexible attitude has always been the hallmark of an Armoured Soldier.