Black Velvet 2012

LCol Dennis Levesque was the chief organizer and PMC again this year. The event was held at the Armour Heights Staff College Officers Mess with guest arriving at 1500. Attendance and payment was ably handled by the squadron secretary, Ms Alison Compton. The bar was open but many attendees made the pilgrimage to the punch bowl containing the Black Velvet beverage which seemed to be better than ever. During this hour a guitar and flute duet provided enjoyable background music.

After meeting and greeting, the 44 guests sat in the dining room for an event briefing by the PMC and received a detailed synopsis of squadron activities over the past year by the DCO Major Glen Lovsin. A staff study regarding the future of the squadron was also discussed.

During the meal the head table consisted of LCol Dennis Levesque, Major Glen Lovsin, Hon Col (MGen) Brock Horseman and CWO John Quilty. The salad course was served buffet style. Following the salad, the buffet was open for a choice of trout or steak, whichever the guest had pre-ordered. The food was excellent.

The PMC then directed members to the foyer where the 400 Squadron Pipes and Drums gave a musical demonstration which not only entertained attendees but also drew the attention of any and all other users of the mess.

Guests returned to the dining room to find the supper dishes cleared away and the port glasses in position. The Port was piped in by Pipe Major Terry Cleland who was saluted with a glass of scotch in the traditional way by the Head Table. The Port was passed and the Loyal Toast was proposed by Major Yves Bolduc. The Toast to Our Fallen Comrades was given by LCol Dennis Levesque. 

Order of the Black Velvet Award
Captain Barry Stewart introduced this year’s recipient of the Order of the Black Velvet: none other than the Deputy Commanding Officer, Major Glen Lovsin! The citation, read by Major Yves Bolduc, was accompanied by a slide show.

“Major Lovsin has long projected the steely confidence and cool demeanour that 400 Tac Hel pilots are known for. Controlling thousands of moving aircraft parts in close proximity to the ground is fraught with risk and demands the ability of a pilot to stay calm under pressure. As an officer, through all the key squadron positions he has filled, our Deputy Commanding Officer consistently displayed an unflappable steadiness under pressure that has been a calming influence to all of those around him.

During a recent Army training mission, keen, young, impressionable soldiers were given their first exposure to helicopter operations. Both excited and terrified, many looked to the pilots for reassurance as they climbed aboard, seeking to see the focus and professionalism a Tec Hel pilot displays when ready for action. Glen was there and did not disappoint! The trainees observed with awe the unflappable, unassailable, imperturbable and ultimately, the un-wakeable Master of Aviation, Major Lovsin.

For single-handedly setting back the confidence of the Canadian Army in the abilities of the Royal Canadian Air Force by decades, Major Glen Lovsin has demonstrated his eminent suitability for induction into the Order of The Black Velvet.”

The steely-eyed Deputy Commanding Officer was taken unawares. The evening wound up with some questions and answers about the future of the Black Velvet event and the members returned to the foyer and bar for further conversation.