CFB SHILO — The 10th reunion for the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery (RCA) will continue at CFB Shilo this weekend.
The first reunion was held in 1985 and one has been held every three years since then — as the banners on the wall of the L-25 Drill Hall indicated.
Paul Gauci, 86, and Gerald Resch, 80, hadn’t seen each other since 1970, but Gauci said they were able to pick up right where they left off.
“Every time we went on a trip somewhere Gerry got sick,” teased Gauci.
The two men served together for 22 years “off and on,” said Gauci, including through the Korean War.
This is the first time Resch made the trip from Victoria for the RCA reunion, while Gauci has made the trip from Gibsons, B.C., at least five times.
David Leclair, whose nickname is ‘Spud’ because he is from Prince Edward Island, travelled from Ottawa for the reunion.
“They had an airborne gunner reunion last night. I’m one of those crazy guys that used to kick the guns back out of the planes and chase them down to the ground afterwards … I killed two birds with one stone — I got to meet up with all the airborne gunners last night, then today I get to meet the rest of the gunners I served with.”
Leclair retired in 1998 after serving for 32 years. He said he misses the days when he was in the regiment.
“It was a lot of fun, the camaraderie, the people you meet, the places you go and all the experiences that you had. We soldiered fought hard and we played hard,” said Leclair.
Rick Wilson, chairman of the organizing committee for the Royal Canadian Artillery reunion, said people travelled from across Canada and also from Germany and the United States for the reunion.
“We did some difficult things together — we did some happy things and some things that weren’t so happy. We established a bond and as time goes on and your service is behind you, you disperse across the country and to different parts of the world. It’s good to get back together. Most people get back together to re-live the old experiences, to rekindle the old friendships and to recharge their regimental batteries,” Wilson said.
Chuck Badowich, 87, of Brandon, served with the RCA for only four years, but he said they were really long years — from 1942 to 1946.
“I served as a signaller. I would have to go to the observation post and communicate corrections the captain gave me back to the guns. It scared the s--t out of you, the shells landing all around you.”
The reunion will continue this weekend with a fire-power demonstration and a reunion dinner and dance scheduled for today. There will be a RCA memorial service and Canada Day celebrations on Sunday, including a beer gardens and on Monday, the weekend winds up with a golf tournament.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 30, 2012