After dedicating 39 years of his adult life to the Canadian Forces, the much decorated Chief Warrant Officer Aimé Le Floch retired in October 2010. A month later he and his wife Theresa (who spent 23 years with the Canadian Army with her last 10 years with the Air Force as a nuclear safety officer), had moved in to a place they bought during a house-hunting trip to Lake Cowichan a few months earlier.
The couple now enjoy their life in Lake Cowichan along with the camaraderie of friends and time spent at the local branch of the Legion. Life here is a long time and faraway from the early days of Le Floch’s 39 year career as “a soldier first, a medic second.”
Chief Warrant Officer Le Floch was born in Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba. In 1971, at age 17, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces (CF) in Esquimalt, B.C. “It was because of the quota system that I decided to enlist in Esquimalt instead of Manitoba. . . where quotas were full,” explained Le Floch recently.
Having an older brother and brother-in-law in the navy and another brother in the army was an added incentive for Le Floch to enlist although, as he says “It was always something I wanted to do.”
He began basic training in January 1972 at Cornwallis, N.S. and completed his trades training at Canadian Forces Medical School in Borden, Ont. In 1972 he was posted to 5 Field Ambulance where he remained until 1977 (during that time he did a United Nations tour in Egypt in1973). He was one of many medics who provided medical support, “care to all,” and security during the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Later he was fortunate to have attended jungle warfare school in Australia from 1976 to 1977.
From 1977 to 1979 he was posted to Canadian Forces Hospital in Lahr, Germany and then posted to the 1 Royal Canadian Horse Artillery from 1979 to 1981. After leaving Germany, Le Floch was posted to 55 Medical Company in Quebec City as their unit training advisor. On completion of this posting it was back to school to take the physician assistant course from 1983 to1984. Chief Warrant Officer Le Floch then accepted postings to the Canadian Airborne Regiment as the medical platoon warrant officer from 1984 to 1986. “It was a privilege to be able to serve with this airborne regiment,” remarked Le Floch adding, “Clinic staff consisted of twelve medical staff, two doctors, six nurses and six medical assistants,”
From there he was posted to the clinic at Canadian Forces Station, Masset, B.C. from 1986 to1988.
“Serving at the hospital in Haida Gwai (in Masset) was a good experience, one that I enjoyed very much,” said Le Floch, adding “In the mornings we looked after service people and in the afternoons, the local people.” After leaving Masset it was on to Canadian Forces Hospital at CFB Valcartier where he was responsible for the training and development of medical assistants during 1988-1989.
For the second time, he was back at CFB Lahr, Germany, from 1989 to1992. During this time he was part of a group of medics who helped with the medical evacuations of U.S. soldiers throughout Operation Desert Storm in 1990 (His team helicopter medical unit was there for two months before being pulled out) and humanitarian aid to the Kurdish refugees in Northern Iraq in 1991. He also completed United Nations (peacekeeping with the Blue Berets) tours in Croatia and Bosnia.
In 1992 he was back with 5 Field Ambulance at CFB Valcartier until 1996. He was assigned as a team leader for the operational stress debriefing of personnel in Somalia in 1993. For the first five months of 1995, Le Floch was a member of the Op Phoenix Working Group (restructuring of the Canadian Forces Medical Services). In June 1996 he was transferred to the Primary Reserve, first serving as clinic coordinator at CFB Valcartier Cadet Camp then as regimental sergeant major of 55 Medical Company in Quebec City, Quebec. During that time he maintained his growing connection with the Canadian Cadet Organization by becoming the medical liaison for Northern Region Cadet (RCSU (N)).
Le Floch eventually released from 55 Medical Company and moved to Yellowknife, N.W.T. in the fall of 1998 where he continued as regional cadet medical liaison officer. In the spring of 2001 he accepted a job as regional cadet medical liaison officer for Prairie Region Cadets (RCSU (Pra)). With a move to Winnipeg, he continued to serve as the medical liaison officer for both RCSU (Pra) and RCSU (N). In September 2006 he took over the RCSU (Pra) unit chief warrant officer role.
His position with Northern Region Cadets and then with Prairie Region Cadets was medical liaison officer. He was in charge of processing the medical portion of the applications submitted by cadets who wanted to go to camp in summer or specialty courses and overseas exchange trips.
Le Floch, who spent 15 years working with cadets, sees the cadets as our future. He recently said that support for cadets and veterans is most important and our Legion (Branch 210) supports them.
Among the many prestigious awards Le Floch has received during his long career are the:
• Citation for the Award of a Priory Voice of Thanks in the Order of St. John for Humanitarian Aid to Kurdish refugees;
• Commander-in-Chief Award for the opening of the Sarajevo Airport;
• United Nations medals for Egypt, Bosnia and Croatia and
• Recipient of the Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem.