HALIFAX, N.S. — The Mighty Maroon Machine has a new commander.
The nickname refers to the color of the crest worn on the uniforms of members of the 5th Canadian Division of the Canadian Army.
Brig.-Gen. Stéphane Masson replaced Maj.-Gen. Paul Peyton during a change of command ceremony held Saturday morning at the Royal Artillery Park in Halifax.
Lieutenant General. Jocelyn Paul, Commander of the Canadian Army, presided over the ceremony under clear blue skies and summer sunshine, punctuated by the cries of gulls soaring over nearby Halifax Harbor and the cries of songbirds enjoying of the morning.
Masson assumes responsibility for regular and reserve army units in the four Atlantic provinces and in Ontario. A Department of National Defense press release said its priorities will be recruiting, training and “creating an integrated force of highly trained Atlantic Canadian combat and support units that are ready for operations.” national and international organizations in support of Canadian interests”.
The division is made up of approximately 7,400 regular and reserve soldiers, civilian employees and Canadian Rangers.
Masson comes to the Halifax post from his most recent role as Commanding Officer of CFB Kingston.
He started as a reservist in 1991 and joined the Regular Force in 2003. During his career, he rose through the ranks and held various senior and command positions, including Commandant of the Regimental School Royal Canadian Artillery at CFB Gagetown. He served in four overseas missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan and Egypt. He also served in various roles within NATO.
“I am honored to have another opportunity to command and serve with exceptional Canadians,” Masson said in his address to the assembled Canadian Armed Forces members and their guests.
“To the leaders of Atlantic Canada, federal, provincial, regional and municipal, it is truly a privilege for me to join your team.
The new division commander thanked his predecessor for his professionalism and dedication.
“To all members of the 5th Canadian Division Defense Team – The Mighty Maroon Machine – I am honored to join the team.
To go up
Peyton rises to the position of Chief of Force Development, which is part of the Vice Chief of the Defense Staff in Ottawa.
“Today is not the day I was looking forward to,” Peyton said in her remarks on Saturday. “It was only a year ago that I explained how excited I was to be back in Atlantic Canada (with) the Mighty Maroon Machine. It was exactly where I wanted to be and who I wanted to be with.
Peyton said he told the army commander he was ready to stay with the division for many years to come, but that was not the case.
“My plan fell victim to the incredible success of the members of this division,” said the native of Goose Bay, Labrador. “It’s hard for a leader not to be successful when you’re surrounded by this kind of talent.”
He added that it is reassuring to know that the organization he cares about so much is in the hands of someone who cares just as much.
As part of the ceremony, Peyton was presented with her official service pennant and an eagle feather, presented by Mi’kmaq historian and human rights advocate Don Julien, a CAF veteran during the peacekeeper who conducted a United Nations peacekeeping tour in Cyprus. Julien is now an Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel who continues to work in a community advisory role for the RCMP’s Aboriginal Advisory Group, as well as the Auditor General on Aboriginal Issues.