The Command Team

Commanding Officer

Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Mike Onieu, CD

Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) Mike Onieu joined the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in 1993 in Regina, Saskatchewan (home of the Roughriders).

He attended CMR St. Jean and graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 1998 as an Armoured Officer posted to Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) in Edmonton, Alberta.

LCol Onieu has served four tours on Regimental duty in various line and staff positions: Tank Troop Leader in C Squadron, Regimental Training Officer, Assistant Adjutant, Battle Captain and Second in Command A Squadron, Officer Commanding B Squadron and Regimental Second-in-Command.

He has deployed on operations with the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group in Kosovo as the tank troop leader in 1999, the 1st Battlion Royal Canadian Regiment Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team in Afghanistan as the Operations Officer in 2009, and with MONUSCO HQ on Operation CROCODILE in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo in 2014.

His service outside the Strathcona’s includes postings to The South Alberta Light Horse in Medicine Hat as the Regimental Support Staff Officer, the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Center in Wainwright as Exercise Plans Officer and then Adjutant, 3rd Canadian Division Headquarters in Edmonton as G3 Operations, and the Chief Force Development Group in Ottawa. Most recently, he served as the Base Commander of Canadian Forces Base Suffield.

LCol Onieu is a graduate of the British Joint Command and Staff College’s Advanced Command and Staff Course. He holds a Masters in Defense Studies from King’s College London and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Royal Military College of Canada.

LCol Onieu returned to The South Alberta Light Horse as the Commanding Officer on 18 October 2020.

LCol Onieu’s immediate family includes his amazing and talented wife Carolyn, their son Edan and their daughter Aurora, a Siamese cat and one very rambunctious dog.


The Regimental Sergeant-Major

Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) M.A.R. Chenier, MMM, CD

CWO Marcel Chenier, who began his military career in 1989, is originally from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.

After completing basic training at Canadian Forces Recruiting School Cornwallis, and trades training at Combat Training Centre Gagetown, he arrived at the Armoured Regiment of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians).

A career “Strathcona”, over the next thirty years, CWO Chenier has served in every Squadron within the Regiment, and in all capacities, typical of an armoured soldier. These included all crew positions, as well as crew commander of numerous Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV’s), Troop Warrant Officer, Squadron Quarter-Master, Squadron Sergeant-Major, and Technical Quarter-Master Sergeant.

His postings include the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps School (RCACS), where he was employed as an Instructor on courses ranging from DP1 (recruits) to DP4 (sergeant-majors), and covering all aspects of gunnery, driving and mechanics, crew commanding and leadership. He also spent time with the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre (CMTC) as an Observer Controller Trainor (OCT). where he assisted in the mentoring and development of soldiers and senior leadership. CWO Chenier was both promoted to his current rank, and appointed as the Base Regimental Sergeant-Major (BRSM) of CFB Suffield in June 2019. At the end of this tenure, he component transferred from the Regular Force to the Primary Reserve and was appointed as the RSM of the South Alberta Light Horse effective 10 September 2022.

CWO Chenier’s operational experience is a mix of international and domestic Aid to Civil Power deployments, such as: Op MARQUIS in Cambodia 1993; Op CAVALIER in Bosnia 1994; Op ASSISTANCE to the Winnipeg flood of 1997; Op PALLADIUM in Bosnia for 1997, 2000, and 2002; Op GRIZZLEY G-8 Summit in 2002; Op PEREGRIN for BC wildfires in 2003; Op ATHENA in Afghanistan 2009; Op LUSTRE of the Manitoba flood of 2011; Op LENTUS 13-1 for the South Alberta flood of 2013; and Op LENTUS 18-03 for the BC flood of 2018.

CWO Chenier is married to Erin, and they are blessed with three children who are all either tenaciously stubborn or stubbornly tenacious, only time will tell.


Past Commanding Officers of The South Alberta Light Horse

and its Predecessor Units

LCol James Walker

First Commanding Officer

15th Light Horse

1905

LCol A.H. Bell CMQ, DSO

Commanding Officer

31st Battalion, C.E.F.

1914-1918

LCol F.C. Jamieson, ED

Commanding Officer

Special Service Squadron

(19th Alberta Dragoons)

1914-1915

LCol G. de S. Wotherspoon, DSO

Commanding Officer

29th Canadian Armoured Regiment

CASF (South Alberta Regiment)

1943-1945

LCol P.W. Higgs, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

(29th Armoured Regiment)

1954-1957

LCol C.D. Williams, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

1958-1960

LCol N.R. Ray, CD

Commanding Officer

South Alberta Light Horse

1960-1964

LCol R.W. Ainscough, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

1964-1968

LCol J.D. Heine, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

1968-1972

LCol E.M. Moore, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

1972-1975

LCol C.J. Meagher, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

1975-1982

LCol B.F. McKinley, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

1982-1984

LCol B Moore, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

1984-1988

LCol H.L. Fraser, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

1988-1993

LCol R.B. McKenzie, MMM, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

1993-1996

LCol B. Hodgson, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

1996-2000

LCol N. Douglas, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

2000-2003

LCol Tom Putt, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

2003-2005

LCol M.W. Johnson, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

2005-2008

LCol W.A. Lockhart, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

2008-2011

LCol CC Michaud, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

2011-2014

LCol T.G. Steele, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

2014-2017

LCol S.E. Thirlwell, CD

Commanding Officer

The South Alberta Light Horse

2017-2020

Past Regimental Sergeants-Major of The South Alberta Light Horse

WO 1 W. Ross, CD

1954-1958

WO 1 M. Clelland, CD

1958-1960

WO 1 T. Buchanan, CD

1960-1964

WO 1 J. Paterson, CD

1964-1968

CWO A. Arelis, CD

1968-1974

WO R.B. McKenzie, CD

1975-1976

MWO W. Hieb, CD

1976-1978

MWO R.B. McKenzie, CD

1978-1980

CWO R.B. McKenzie, MMM, CD

1980-1984

CWO J. Hamill, CD

1984-1987

CWO A. van Rooyen, CD

1987-1991

CWO J. Bray, CD

1991-1996

CWO J. Szram, CD

1996-1997

CWO S. Ballard, MMM, CD

1997-1998

CWO T. Smith

1999-2002

MWO J. Bray, CD

2002-2003

CWO A. Thomas, CD

2003-2005

CWO W. Young, CD

2005-2006

CWO Thomas, CD

2007-2010

CWO C. Howie, CD

2011

CWO B. Talty, CD

2012-2016

CWO C. Howie, CD

2016-2018

CWO G.D. Olsen, CD

2018-2022