BCD Change of Command, 2016
Vernon, British Columbia – 3 April 2016
On 3 April 2016, the British Columbia Dragoons (BCD) marked a change of command in a Sunday ceremony at the unit’s Vernon Training Area. In a parade presided over by Colonel David Awalt, Commander of 39 Canadian Brigade Group, and attended by local dignitaries, members of the regimental family, and serving armed forces members, Lieutenant Colonel Mike McGinty succeeded Lieutenant Colonel Andy McQuilkin as Commanding Officer of the Okanagan’s army reserve regiment.
LCol McQuilkin, formerly of the 44th Field Engineer Squadron in Trail, BC, came to the BCDs after overseas deployments as a Canadian officer attached to the British Army in the Falklands, Germany, and Northern Ireland, a UN tour in Syria’s Golan Heights, and a term with the Joint Task Force that was assembled for Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Games. He took command of the Dragoons at the conclusion of the regiment’s six-year involvement in Afghanistan, in which reservists from the Okanagan volunteered to assist with Canada’s efforts to restore stability to that war-torn country. Upon the conclusion of his two-year term in command of the BCDs, LCol McQuilkin’s next tasking will be as director of Joint Task Force Pacific’s Regional Liaison Program.
His successor, LCol McGinty was commissioned in the British Army upon graduating from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in 1987. After serving three tours as a troop commander, he qualified as a pilot and flew Lynx, Gazelle, and Apache attack helicopters. He has two years of counterinsurgency experience in Northern Ireland, deployed twice on UN tours in Iraq and Bosnia in the mid-90s, and has commanded numerous helicopter operations in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2006, actions for which he was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Conduct. In the summer of 2014, he retired from the British Army to transfer to the Canadian Army’s Primary Reserve, serving as a liaison and planning officer for domestic operations in British Columbia prior to the start of his term in command of the British Columbia Dragoons.