Former Red Deer College student Jason Snider decided to join the Canadian Army after talking with an army officer friend at the student newspaper.
He went to the Cormack Armoury on 55th Street straight away to begin his recruitment process in 1990.
He never looked back and has served as a member of the armed forces reserve for more than 25 years, save for a break to finish his university.
On Saturday, Lt-Col. Jason Snider was named commanding officer of the 20th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery in a ceremony at Cormack Armoury for a three-year term.
“When I joined I thought I would be in the military through university and that would be the end of it,” said Snider. “But 27 years later, it becomes part of who you are.
“There are 98 years of history here. We’re standing on the ground that was the A20 army camp that raised forces for the First World War and Second World War. There’s a lot of history there. I want to try to make right by that tradition, honour those that come before you and help the individuals who are here.”
He takes over for Lt-C0l. Jeff Wilson, who completed his three year post as the regiment’s commanding officer. Snider has been the second in command of the regiment since 2010.
The regiment includes the 78th Field Battery in Red Deer and the 61st Field Battery Edmonton.
The regiment is looking towards its 100th birthday in 2020 where it plans to fire a salute at Edinburgh Castle to honour the anniversary.
The regiment is also preparing for a deployment in 2020 to Latvia to support NATO’s effort to ensure security in the area. About five to 10 people from Red Deer will be involved.
“It’s been a long road and it’s my honour to take on that position,” said Snider. “It’s going to be a fun, busy three years. It’s a big job to take on.”
In 2017 Snider served a tour in Afghanistan in 2007. He has been back in Red Deer working most recently as a defence lawyer, and working with the local army reserve.
Wilson, who is from Edmonton, looked back fondly on his time as commanding officer of the regiment.
“The greatest thing here is all the different citizens here,” said Wilson. “You have soldiers from all around the province that are part of the regiment. You get to find them, recruit them and train them and take them to the field.”