CO's Address - January 2018

Over the past year the regiment has seen a significant increase in personnel.  With the improvements in the army recruiting process we will continue to see this unprecedented growth and expect to see the regiment at full strength within 2 years.  As well, with the new addition to our vehicle platforms, the TAPV, arriving as early as next spring, this is exciting news.  These two key factors will allow us the flexibility to train with multiple sub-sub units as well as the ability to have personnel deploy with our regular force counterparts in the same platforms, with the same skills.  The draw on our NCO cadre, however, will be tremendous.  The responsibility to train our soldiers falls on our NCOs.  I have great confidence in their steadfast commitment to this regiment and the soldiers and I fully expect their continued reliability and professionalism to get the job done!  This group of superior soldiers will continue to carry the majority of the burden on behalf of all the entire regiment. 


We will also see over the next years and beyond a more unified working partnership with our regular force colleagues, specifically the Lord Strathcona’s Horse, as we look to integrate our training, drawing on their experience and providing our capabilities.  I have no doubt this regiment will build on the successes it saw under the leadership of my predecessor, LCol Troy Steele and continue to be the go to regiment - “Alberta’s Regiment”.


LCol Shawn Thirlwell - Semper Alacer!  

Commanding Officer

Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Shawn Thirlwell, CD Commanding Officer (CO)

LCol Thirlwell grew up in Sherwood Park, AB where he started his military career in the Army Cadet Program in 1976. In 1978 while waiting to carry on his secondary schooling he joined the Canadian Armed Forces Militia as a trooper as one of the first of seven recruits to form the detached “B” Squadron of the South Alberta Light Horse in Edmonton. In 1980 he was enrolled on the first Combat Leader’s Course offered to reserve personnel and later posted to the Area Training Detachment. Then late in 1980 he transferred to the Supplementary Reserve List to focus on his studies in Engineering at the University of Alberta.

After a 15 year sabbatical from the military, LCol Thirlwell applied in 1995 and was accepted into the Direct Entry Officer program, where he was enrolled as a 2nd Lieutenant in the same B squadron which had now been rerolled into a tank squadron. After his Armoured “tank” Troop Leader Training, he was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned command of a “Saber” troop.

Through the late 1990s LCol Thirlwell was introduced early to the world of protocol as he was appointed as an Aide De Camp to the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta. The learning curve was extremely steep for a 2nd Lieutenant.

In 1997, he went over to England as part of an Officer Exchange Program with the South Hampton Officer Training Corps to observe their general military training program as well as to observer their Cambrian Patrol training efforts. Later that year in October he was tasked to lead a dismounted Reconnaissance patrol in the high level international Cambrian Patrol Competition held each year in the United Kingdom. Although LCol Thirlwell’s team was a composite (armoured, infantry and artillery personnel) group of young reserve soldiers with only a couple of years experience, they competed at an equal level with elite regular units from around the world. His team not only completed the competition but they achieved a Bronze Level and each member received the Army Commander's Commendation.

In 1999 he was promoted to Captain and over the next 5 year he moved through the various squadron headquarter rolls such as the Battle Captain and Squadron 2ic and then in 2005 he assumed command of “B” Sqn and the field sqn (C sqn). After attending the Canadian Land Forces Command Staff College in Kingston he was promoted major in January 2010. In Sept 2014, LCol Thirlwell was finally taken out of the field and the squadron and moved into regimental headquarters as Regimental Second in Command.  On the 9 September 2017, he was promoted Lieutenant Colonel and assumed command of “Alberta’s Regiment”.

LCol Thirlwell spent 33 years with the Canada Post Corporation as his civilian career, starting as letter carrier in 1983 and retiring as the Manager of Production Control and Reporting where he was responsible for the operational planning and costs management for the Edmonton Mail Processing Plant. He is married to Maureen and is the father of two children, Lucy and Peter. He and Maureen currently reside on a small acreage north of Camrose where if he is not out with the regiment you’ll find him elbow deep in some kind of a historical vehicle.

The Regimental Sergeant-Major

Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Charles Howie, CD Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM)

CWO Howie was born in Gimli, Manitoba in 1968. He enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1988 with ‘B’ Squadron, South Alberta Light Horse as a trooper.

CWO Howie performed various regimental and extra-regimental non-commissioned officer duties as he progressed in rank. In 1993, he deployed with the Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry to Pakrac, Croatia as part of UNPROFOR Op Harmony, whereby he was employed as Weapons Detachment Commander for 2 Platoon, ‘A’ Company. CWO Howie was appointed Squadron Sergeant Major, ‘B’ Squadron South Alberta Light Horse in 2005 and promoted to MWO the following year, immediately following the completion of DP4 Armoured Sergeant Major Course. In June of 2008, he began training with JTF-Afg HQ 5-09, in the position of Task Force Kandahar G3 ISTAR Ops, where he was deployed from February right through to November 2009, and as a result, being awarded Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM) Commander’s Commendation. Upon repatriation, he was appointed Headquarter Sergeant Major (HQ SSM) SALH until his appointment to RSM in July of the next year.

In March of 1998, CWO Howie, received his Carpentry Journeyman qualification from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and the Alberta Apprenticeship Board. From July 1996 until his departure for TF 5-09 in June of 2008, CWO Howie was employed with Artistic Stairs Inc in Edmonton, Alberta in the capacities of Shop Foreman and Production Manager. In March of 2010, CWO Howie began employment with Flint Transfield Services within the Alberta Oilsands as Infrastructure Operations Superintendent and in Jan 2012, hired as Infrastructure and Logistics Manager, Suncor Energy Inc, where he remained until Feb 2015. Returning to Edmonton environs, CWO Howie is employed by Sandhills Manufacturing as the Production Manager / General Foreman for the rail and moulding division.

CWO Howie continues to live on his acreage near Onoway, Alberta with his wife Lisa and their three children. His hobbies include restoring period furniture, ice fishing and reading Canadian WW1 history.