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Private Dave Robitaille during field training after he joined the Regular Forces

Son of a nurse, youngster Dave Robitaille was looking for adventure. Before his 13th birthday, and for the next five years, Dave was part of the Infantry Units, Army Cadets finishing as a Warrant Officer at 17. What now? Dave immediately joined the Reserves, Cadet Instructor Cadre as an Officer Cadet. By 18 he received his full Officer Commission and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. In 1989 at age 19, Dave joined the Regular Armed Forces in the Medical Branch.

French-speaking Dave trained at St-Jean, Quebec and was transferred to Canadian Forces Base Borden for one year of English studies. Afterwards, Dave was posted to the National Defence Medical Centre in Ottawa for the next four years. In preparation for a Gulf War deployment Dave was sent to Germany to learn the set-up/pack-up of field hospitals. In Dave’s words, ‘the field hospitals were designed much along the line of the television series, ‘Mash’. Luckily, Comrade Dave did not need to go to the Persian Gulf area as the war came to an end.

Dave returned to Ottawa and six months later, chose to pursue civilian life. After some years, he rejoined as a reservist with the Cadet Instructor Cadre and founded the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Medical Corps in Tottenham, Ontario, where he served as the unit's Commanding Officer.

Dave was never disappointed with his time in the service of our country. His initial feeling of disorientation was quickly dispelled by his sense of pride at graduation and the added surprise of his family’s attendance.

Comrade Dave Robitaille (center), Sergeant-At-Arms at Branch 270 Coldwater, leads a Remembrance Day parade in 2016.

When asked to share his most memorable experience, Comrade Dave said, “I did not attend to combat casualties but did attend to accidents. I remember the amputation of a leg.”

Comrade Dave reported that the discipline required in the Forces readied him for life after the military. “Always have a back-up plan and be aware of your surroundings.” For a brief time, Dave was self-employed. Today Dave continues to work in the medical field. During his leisure moments, he pursues his passion for hunting and fishing which he shares with his 16-year old son, Jordan. Dave is our Sergeant-at-Arms and has been married for 22 years to our Ladies Auxiliary Sergeant-at-Arms, Debbie.

No interview would be complete without taking the opportunity of bringing this interview home to Branch 270. Dave’s wish list: attract new members, especially those who have served. Comrade Dave is proud of our Branch presence in the community. “When the public thanks you for your service, you feel you have accomplished something.”

We thank you for your service.

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