The Rotary Club of Medicine Hat was delighted to welcome the "new" base commander of CFB Suffield, Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen Burke.
LCol. Burke (who preferred to be addressed as Stephen), began by giving us a short bio of his more than 20 years serving in the Canadian military and some of his recent assignments.  He has been the base commander at Suffield for just under a year and now that we are coming out of our COVID hibernation, he is happy to be out in the community and rebuilding the relationship between the base and its surrounding neighbors.
He gave a brief history of the base, from its inception during the Second World War, to its role in the issues around the Cold War and the more recent rise of regional insurgency's.  The base is a large isolated area, and as Stephen described, an incredibly rare and valuable asset for military training.  He presented some fascinating aerial photos of the base, and how it has changed over the years.  Only the hanger is the same (sort of).
CFB Suffield main purpose is support DRDC/BATUS and CAF.  There are approximately 225 military personnel and 590 civilians who are employed at the base, which makes the facility a large (if not the largest) employer in the area.  Staffing is a key issue with them, and they support a payroll of over $58 million dollars annually.
LCol. Stephen spoke about the relationship between the property and other stakeholders, such as the oil and gas industry, wildlife management and recreational area's.  He spoke about the future, which is certainly subject to change but has many upsides for the area.  He answered a few questions and was thanked by President Melanie.
A great talk, we wish Stephan and his staff all the best in the future.