GAGETOWN, N.B. — Big things can come to those with large aspirations, no matter how small a place they come from.
That is just one of the things Lt.-Col. Dwayne Parsons reflected upon this week as he assumed a command post with the Tactics School in Canadian Forces Base Gagetown.
The former 708 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron member in Stephenville, also said his youthful desire to seek a career which presented challenges had much to do with leading him to this new role and responsibility.
"It is a rather humbling experience that army leadership has seen fit to provide me the opportunity to command soldiers and troops in support of training and education of army junior leaders," he said.
The Tactics School is one of the schools under the Combat Training Centre at Gagetown. The 44-year-old Stephenville native is confident his mentors and military experience have aptly prepared him to deal with the pressures of command.
"There is a tremendous sense of excitement at what this command opportunity will do in terms of opportunity and challenges to lead soldiers and leaders well into the 21st century," he said. "It is the opportunity to sort of have an impact and to help shape that army culture, and army leadership, as we go through the next couple of years."
Parsons first enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1990 and, after completing basic armoured officer training, was posted to Calgary. Prior to his posting to the Armour School in 1995, he completed a tour of duty in the former Republic of Yugoslavia as battle group liaison officer.
While at Armour School, he was employed as a tactics instructor and completed his tour as operations officer.
In 2000, Parsons was posted back to his regiment as adjutant and second-in-command of Headquarters Squadron, then promoted to the rank of major in 2002 and assumed command of a tank squadron.
He was attached to the combined joint task force with an American division as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2006, and was employed as senior Canadian planner and liaison officer for operations in southern Afghanistan. After a nine-month tour, he returned to Canada and Armour School and became chief instructor.
Graduated as top student
He was posted to the Middle East from 2008-2009 and completed his joint command and staff college program within the State of Kuwait, receiving a masters of military studies and graduating as top student.
Promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 2009, Parsons was then posted to the Combat Training Centre at CFB Gagetown and was employed as deputy chief of staff of operations and training in support of army individual training, until assuming this commanding officer position at the Tactics School.
He said the division of his military between time in the field and training system should give him credibility as a commanding officer. He also said his previous tenure as chief of staff at the Combat Training Centre has him well versed in the challenges and opportunities of the coming years.
The commanding officer position is a two-year term.
Parsons' parents, Ben and Mary, and brother James still live in Stephenville. His brother Doug lives in Cormack and his sister Amanda (Eastman) lives in Halifax. His wife Judy (Willet) is also from Stephenville.