January 2008 - September 2009
Colonel St. John was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1944. In 1959 he joined the Royal Westminster Regiment and subsequently enrolled in the Regular Officer Training Programme (ROTP) in 1966 while attending the University of British Columbia. He graduated with distinction in 1969 with a degree in Forestry Engineering.
He subsequently undertook training at the Canadian Force Fire Academy and in 1970 was appointed as the Fire/Crash Rescue Chief at CFB Montreal. In 1972 he was assigned to 1 Airborne Field Squadron in Edmonton, Alberta. This posting included a challenging peace keeping tour in Cyprus in 1974 that was extended by a Greek inspired coup and the resultant Turkish invasion. In 1975 he was promoted to Major and posted to CFB Gagetown as the Commanding Officer of 22 Field Squadron. This was followed in 1977 by his assignment to NATO’s Central Army Group Headquarters (CENTAG) in Heidelberg, West Germany.
In 1980, Colonel St. John returned to Canada to attend Staff College in Toronto. This was followed by his assignment to Headquarters, 1 CMBG in Calgary, Alberta as G4. He was promoted to LCol in 1982 and returned to the Staff College as a member of the Directing Staff. In 1985 he was appointed as the Base Administration Officer of CFB Calgary where he was involved in a number of major projects including the ‘Museum of the Regiments’ and assisted in the provision of military support to the Calgary Winter Olympics. In 1988, he was promoted to Col and posted to NDHQ Ottawa as the Director of Construction Engineering Control and in 1989 he was assigned to Pakistan as the COS of a UN (UNOCHA) humanitarian mine awareness and clearance training mission for Afghan refugees.
In 1991, Colonel St. John was posted to CFB Montreal as the Force Mobile Command Chief Engineer. He was selected in 1993 to attend the National Defence College in Kingston, Ontario and was subsequently appointed as Base Commander of CFB Chilliwack. Base closure was announced in early 1995 and during the closure period he was assigned as the Deputy Engineer/Corps Engineer Brigade Commander of NATO’s Implementation Force (IFOR) in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 1998 Colonel St. John retired from the Canadian Forces and formed his own consulting company specializing in emergency management and business continuation planning. He has also undertaken several mine action contracts for the Department Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Canadian International Development Agency in the Balkans and Africa.
Colonel St. John is a past President of the Rotary Club of Chilliwack and has been extensively involved in community service projects. He is a member of numerous associations and has 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.
Colonel St. John became the Canadian Military Engineer Branch Colonel Commandant on 16 January 2008. He resides in Chilliwack, British Columbia with his wife Joy. He enjoys oil painting, skiing and fishing, and periodically, he treats himself to a game of golf.
Colonel St. John died on15 September 2009.