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Platoon Book, a Valuable Resource

Heroes Remember

Platoon Book, a Valuable Resource

When you are, although you are in a position of responsibility over people, you are a part of this group. And with this group you share everything. And, of course, my mother knew a lot of other women because she was very political where she lived at that time in Lakeside, west allied place. She used to send me a lot of goodies and I used to get a reasonable box of goodies about every week. And that was a time to get all together. Some people never got any goodies and you have to know that. You have to observe that as a leader for these people. One of the tools we had as a leader was a platoon book. In your platoon book you had a couple of sheets on everyone in your platoon. You are asking me where you were born and so on, I had that. Were they married? Did they have a girlfriend? How were their parents? Where did they come from? What made them tick? What they liked, what they disliked? You have to have that in order to know your people from the back. And then you explore that afterwards. And your job is to give them at least the means and at least the little tools you could have for them to make them better. And the sharing gives you this connection with people. I’ve got these goodies, you know, it was like having a big picnic and sharing the goodies. And then, of course, you could observe when the mail distribution came. That was another point of focus where you could say, hmm, he got bad news or whatever. Then you have to find out what the hell was his news. You didn’t go direct, you had to find out some other way. Because everyone on the line shares something with somebody else and you try and establish those circumstances where people talk to one or two others more than they would talk to the rest and so on and they’re confident. They share that also. They share their good things. They share their bad things and then you try and find out so that you can foresee that maybe something is going to happen to that person or maybe oops, I have got to take him apart at night. If I can spend twenty minutes of darkness in this bunker, you know, or in this trench and say, “How are you tonight, your girlfriend didn’t write to you this week or something?” That type of thing. Because people get very touchy that way when they are deployed because this is their anchor board. Their anchor board is not there. The anchor board is back home.

As Lieutenant, Mr. Charland speaks about value of knowing a little bit about each of the soldiers in his command.

Claude Charland

Mr. Claude Charland was born February 27, 1929 in Montreal, Quebec. As an only child and born during the Great Depression, Mr. Charland was placed in a boarding school in hopes of experiencing a better life. After obtaining a high level of education, he made the choice to join the military. In 1948, he took part in the Canadian Officer Training Corp and underwent infantry training in Camp Borden followed by additional training in Val Cartier. In 1950 the Korean War started and Mr. Charland became an instructor for francophone officer recruits. In 1951, joining as a callout, Mr. Charland chose to be part of the Korean War. He joined with the 3rd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment and upon retirement held rank of Lieutenant. Mr. Charland holds great pride for his service during Korean War. In 2018 during the Korean Olympics, Mr. Charland had the great honour and privilege to be the torch bearer as part of Team Canada and carried the torch 100 metres through the rink grounds where he had served and played hockey many years before. Mr. Charland retired from the military in 1982 and remains very active in his community.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
May 23, 2018
Person Interviewed:
Claude Charland
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
Royal 22e Régiment
Infantry Officer

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