The official Naming Ceremony for the "Colonel Roger Kenwood St. John, OMM, CD Armoury" took place on 26 April 2014 at the Chilliwack Armoury.
Our former Colonel Commandant from January 2008 to September 2009, Colonel St. John, has been honoured for both his outstanding and distinguished Sapper Officer career and for his contributions to the local community. Col St John’s started his military career in the Militia with the Royal New Westminster Regiment in 1959. During his career he was a Combat Engineer with Airborne and Combat Diver specialties, Construction Engineer, and Firefighter as well as a Staff Officer with National, International, and United Nations responsibilities. Col St. John’s career spanned across Canada and Europe and also included United Nations missions in Cyprus, Pakistan, and Bosnia.
Col St. John had a long history of community service in the Chilliwack area. He commanded CFB Chilliwack in 1993 and was praised for his role as the last Base Commander of CFB Chilliwack where he successfully led the base through its closure. He retired to Chilliwack in 1998 when he took his leave from the Regular Force. Col St. John passed away on 15 Sept 2009.
After retirement from the Canadian Forces Col St. John formed his own consulting company that specialized in emergency management and business continuation planning. He also undertook several mine action contracts for the Department Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Canadian International Development Agency in the Balkans and Africa.
Col St. John was a past President of the Rotary Club of Chilliwack and was extensively involved in community service projects. He was a member of numerous associations and served on the Board of the BC Corps of Commissionaires, Chilliwack Big Brothers, the Fraser Valley Regional District Planning Committee, and the Chilliwack Hospice Society Gala Committee.
Col St John’s widow and both daughters and their families attended the official Naming Ceremony. The refurbished entrance sign to the Colonel Roger Kenwood St. John, OMM, CD Armoury was unveiled by Col St. John’s four grandsons, assisted by MGen P. Wynnyk and CME Col Cmdt R. DesLauriers. Legion Branch 280 provided a colour party escorted by a guard made up of members of 39 Combat Engineer regiment and the Royal Westminster Regiment and a piper from 6 Field Engineer Squadron Band. Last Post and Reveille were beautifully played during the ceremonies by Rotary Band member Paula DeWitt- Krause. A number of speakers provided comments ending with The Late Colonel St John’s widow, Joy St. John. Letters from the Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence were read. A reception followed inside the newly named Armouries.
Among the 250 people in attendance were the following dignitaries: former CME Cols Cmdt MGen J.E. Woods and BGen A.C Brown; James R. Happer (Honourary Colonel 39 Combat Engineer Regiment); Chuck Strahl (Honourary Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal New Westminster Regiment) BGen R.R. Mackenzie (D Comd 3 Div); LCol N. Whittaker (D Comd 39 CBG); and BGen B. Vernon (Ret’d) and CME CWO K.A. Patterson. Mark Strahl, the local Member of Parliament and two Members of the Provincial Legislative Assembly, Laurie Throness and John Martin, also attended. The City of Chilliwack was represented by the acting Mayor, Mr. Ken Popove.