On the 1st of April, 2015, the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering, held a small ceremony to announce the unveiling of the Collins Theatre. Formally known as the Tactics Theatre, the facility has been officially renamed after Chief Warrant Officer Gerald Collins. The Collins Theatre is located in the main CFSME building, J10, on the second floor. The facility provides a learning environment and serves as a teaching aid for CFSME staff and students. The dedication could not go to a more appropriate and deserving candidate.
Chief Warrant Officer Gerald Collins enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces in June 1976 in Sydney, Nova Scotia. It was only shortly after completing his recruit training at the Canadian Forces Base Cornwallis that he was first introduced to CFSME. In 1976, CWO Collins completed his QL 3 training at the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering (CFSME) in Chilliwack, British Columbia. Even during the early stages of his military career, CWO Collins started to become a positive influence on the development of both Non Commissioned Members and Officers.
CWO Collins rose quickly through the ranks, having proven himself as a successful mentor and leader. In 2001, CFSME called him back to Gagetown as the Heavy Equipment Troop Commander. It wasn’t long before he was appointed as the Regimental Sergeant Major of 4 Engineer Support Regiment. In 2005, Chief Warrant Officer Collins assumed the position of the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering Chief Warrant Officer until his passing in 2006.
Like the theatre facility, CWO Gerald Collins was consistently involved in the professional development of all staff and students of the School. Prior to his passing, CWO Collins dedicated his time and energy to the students. He personally ensured that the students had the necessary tools and resources to be excellent Officers and Non-Commissioned Members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
A plaque has been created in the memory of CWO Collins and can be seen in the entrance of the Collins Theatre. It reads, “Chief Warrant Officer Collins was truly an exceptional sapper, gifted with leadership skills, dedication and compassion, that impressed all who dealt with him”. Those words could not ring more true.