In 1980, after three years as an Army Cadet, and one year as a sapper with 2 Field Engineer Regiment (Militia) in Toronto, Richard Dickson enrolled in the Regular Forces under the Regular Officer Training Plan. He graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada (Kingston) in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, and was commissioned into the Canadian Military Engineers.
Following completion of Military Engineering training in Chilliwack, his initial postings were as a project officer at 1 Construction Engineering Unit (Winnipeg), where he undertook numerous engineering and construction projects mainly in the Canadian arctic, and at 5e Régiment du Génie de Combat (Valcartier), where he served as a troop commander and squadron 2IC. Returning to 1 CEU as Officer Commanding Construction, he oversaw the unit’s move to Moncton and led the initial 1 CEU deployment to Bosnia in 1996.
Richard’s command appointments included Commanding Officer of 4 Engineer Support Regiment (Gagetown) from 2004 to 2006, and Commander of the Operational Support Engineer Group, CANOSCOM (Ottawa) from 2010 to 2012. He has also held a number of key staff appointments, including: Divisional G3 Engineer with the 1st Canadian Division Headquarters (Kingston); J3 of the Standing Contingency Force Headquarters (Halifax); Director of Army Doctrine (Kingston); and his final assignment as Director of the Canadian Army Land Warfare Centre (Kingston). Additionally, from 2009 to 2014, he had the honour of serving two years as the CME Branch Advisor, and three years as Director of the Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers.
His operational assignments included: the UN Mine Awareness and Clearance Training Program in Pakistan (1989); CO Works and Design Company in Bosnia (1996-1997); J3 Engineer for the QG Force Interarmées de la Région de Montréal during the Ice Storm of 1998; and Deputy Commander, Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) during earthquake relief operations in Turkey (1999). On promotion to his current rank, Colonel Dickson deployed to Afghanistan from October 2008 to August 2009 as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Governance, Reconstruction and Development (GR&D) at Headquarters Regional Command (South) in Kandahar.
Richard is also a graduate of the Canadian Army Command and Staff College, the US Army Command and General Staff Course, and the US Army School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS). Colonel Dickson's academic qualifications include a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (RMCC, 1984), a Masters of Mechanical Engineering (RMCC, 1994) and a Masters of Military Arts and Science (US Army CGSC, 2004).
Richard retired at the rank of colonel and lives in the Kingston area where he can continue to sail and enjoy the Fort Frontenac Officers’ Mess.