Ticats Honour RHLI 13th Bn Ceremonial Guard

By: Second Lieutenant Richard Moll, Photos by Evelyn Wilkie

Editor’s Note: Earlier this year, the RHLI was approached by TiCats special event organizers to see if our new RHLI 13th Ceremonial Guard would be willing to mount a pre-game demonstration of their skills in front of the game crowd. Hmmm – let’s think about that one – but not for long! On 10 July, they took to the field. Guard commander Second Lieutenant Richard Moll gives his reflections on the moment:

It was remarkable to see the Guard marching up the field, wheeling beside CFL athletes practicing their pre-game routines. They were very accommodating and patient with us; we were delighted with how easy it was to march of Astro Turf.

The feelings of pre-show anticipation were electric. The troops were all conscious of marching through the crowds in their scarlets with Enfields. The best was when we were in the room assigned to us to wait out, near the FUP (forming-up point). The RSM appeared to wish us all luck. The troops were grateful to have our RSM so pleased and proud to see us in our full dress. Next the CO came in and wished us all well. I could tell the Guard had its “Game Face” on... We were all pumped and ready to go. We filed out to the FUP and watched the stages of the pre-game unfold. We stood and watched the C-130 Hercules pass and the SAR Tech’s canopies open and descend.

I got the sign to give my command. Sgt Brooks stepped off and the Guard fell in beside him and marked time. I gave the “Forward” knowing a SAR Tech had just landed in front of the Guard. He was gathering his canopy as Sgt Brooks and the troops to his left in line advanced on him with drums beating a strong cadence. He looked over his left shoulder as Sgt Brooks proclaimed “Dude, we’re coming through!” He pulled in the last of his canopy just as I finished my command instructing the Guard to wheel to the right in line. It worked like clockwork…no collision! We wheeled to the left two more times and then we advanced towards the Jumbotron. Jason Farr’s voice was in our ears as I yelled out the command “Guard will extend to the enemy 20 yards at the double quick, Poooooorrrrrrrrrrrt Arms… ..EXTEEEEEND! What a thrill it was to see the Guard respond to the command “EXTEND” and see them double down the field yelling WAWWWWWW!

It was a strange feeling to feel the eyes of tens of thousands of TiCat fans. They grew quiet in anticipation as the troops responded to my command: “For Volley, Reaaaa-deee” Then we all saw the huge RHLI Cap Badge on the Jumbotron. It was instantaneous - I could see the troops stand a little taller while the image of their faces was flashed on the screen. The Guard halted, and loaded with precision. The crowd grew more quiet - all anticipated the impending command “Guard will fire a volley at 400 yards” The guard sees itself on the Jumbotron … “Preeeeee-sent” In unison the guard fired a volley. We all noticed the cheerleaders had formed up just in front of the Jumbotron screen. The crowd loved the flash and smoke and the loud crack of musketry, but the cheer leaders screamed when the rifles fired over their heads!

We fired one more volley, shouldered arms and left the field in column of twos with the announcer’s voice over the cadence set by our drummer ... five minutes exactly! As the troops executed rifle drill on the march in files of twos heading to the line of scrimmage exit, the cheer leaders entered the field in front of us. The crowd was cheering loudly as we left the field. It all went by so quickly, but there was little doubt - The RHLI 13th Bn CG all had a blast in our first appearance at Ivor Wynne. Every member said after they could hardly wait to do it all again. What stood out most was seeing the huge Riley cap badge on the Jumbotron. We couldn’t have been more proud to be Rileys on the field of the home-town CFL team right there with our scarlets on “in the heart of the Hammer”!