Commissionaire Norm Marner
Royal Canadian Artillery 1975-1997
Medals and Commendations
Chief of the Defence Staff Coin of Excellence
Canadian Forces Decoration Medal (CD)
Special Service Medal (SSM)
Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal
United Nation Emergency Force Middle East Medal (UNEFME)
Afghanistan Campaign Star Commissionaires Long Service Medal
Middle East (1975)
Afghanistan (Dec 2010-Jul 2011)
Battery Sergeant Major with 10 Field Regiment, Artillery Tactical Group, 38 Brigade
“Commissionaires cleared the way for me to serve in Afghanistan on a special assignment for the Canadian military while guaranteeing my position for seven months until I returned. They supported me and my family 100%.”
Norm’s distinctive Nova Scotia accent remains true despite a career of military postings that have taken him across the country and around the world. He’s a soft-spoken, laid-back kind of guy. Or rather he comes across that way. You’d have to be to do what he does.
Norm retired from the military after 22 years of service; service that placed him as part of the UN Emergency Force in Egypt during the perilous days immediately following the Seven Day War of 1975. In the years to come, ballistics became his area of specialization and Norm’s talents as a drill and gunnery instructor became highly respected and highly sought after. His intelligence, technical know-how and attention to detail put him in the middle of the Cold War conducting Air Defense Artillery Evaluations of the NATO allies. “Our team was accepted and feared. Everything had to be perfect. Those were tense days,” he’ll tell you.
Norm gave back over those years. For most, that would have been enough. But ten years later and comfortably ensconced on a promising career path with Commissionaires, opportunity knocked. He’d been serving as a reservist in his off-hours—Battery Sergeant Major of Regina’s 10th Field Regiment, and the Canadian Forces needed his ballistics expertise. Commissionaires immediately stepped up with a leave of absence and a support program for his family. At 54, Norm left for Afghanistan to serve as training coordinator within the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command’s Counter-IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) Branch. Asked why he chose to go, he offered, “I wanted to complete my military career, fulfill my potential...go at a time in my life and with my experience when I could make the greatest impact.” Travelling across Afghanistan with a team of sixteen, Norm trained coalition troops how to predict, detect and avoid IEDs. And when he’d completed his mission, Chief of the Defence Staff General Walt Natynczyk personally awarded Norm the Coin of Excellence for his efforts—a personal career highlight his family proudly watched broadcast on the national news.
Norm will tell you it’s taken time to find his feet returning to civilian life. Maturity and experience provided him with a sense of comfort in Afghanistan very different from the youthful ‘invincibility’ of the Middle East so many years before. Long distance video calls to his family helped too. Yet back in Regina, he remains somewhat uneasy, ‘situationally aware’ he calls it. As for returning to Commissionaires Saskatchewan and his new position as Director of Client Services, he’s got lots of good things to say. So good in fact that he nominated his employer for two Canadian Forces Liaison Awards: the Special Award for Support to Canada’s Reserve Force and the Most Supportive Employer of Canada Award. Commissionaires won both and continues to support Norm in his duties with his artillery regiment and his career with Commissionaires.
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