The Powassan District Union Public Library is honouring and recognizing Canadian Armed Forces personnel during National Veterans' Week with a special event at the library. Frank Longo, programming and communication coordinator at the library, has been able to set up a live Zoom event with an officer at 22 Wing/CFB North Bay. Capt.n Gareth Carter will speak Nov. 9 as a lead up to Remembrance Day and talk about historic aspects of Canada's military in addition to what he has seen and experienced during his 32-year career in the military. Carter is currently a standards officer with 22 Wing's Operational Support Squadron Standards Cell. He is also operationally qualified as a mission crew commander at the Canadian Air Defence Sector. Longo was able to secure Carter's Zoom appearance while thinking about what the Powassan library could do for Remembrance Day. His online search led to a Canadian government program where veterans speak to Canadians during National Veterans' Week and Longo was given Carter's contact information. When Longo reached out to Carter, he said the officer “was very excited to talk about his experiences,” Carter is no stranger to talking in a public forum. Among his audiences in the past have been elementary school children where he explains the role of Canada's military. Carter's career has taken him to many parts of the world as well as serving in Canada. In 1992 Carter was qualified as a weapons director and six years later he was a Canadian “Top Gun” when he graduated from the Fighter Weapons Instructor Course. During those years he held various postings, including stops in North Bay and Cold Lake, Alta. In 2002 he was posted to NATO's Airborne Warning and Control System base in Geilenkirchen, Germany, where he carried out weapons-related work. Carter returned in 2006 to North Bay where he was trained as a Canadian air battle manager so he could deploy with the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry to Kandahar, Afghanistan. While in Kandahar he was the Tactical Air Control Party-Air Liaison Officer on a Task Force known as 1-08 from March to September 2008. Carter stepped out of weapons control for a brief time when he returned to North Bay and entered the world of surveillance when he was posted to fly with the United States Air Force at its Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, OK. Carter returned to Canada in 2014 where he taught weapons control at the military's School of Aerospace Control Operations in Cornwall. He was an instructor there until 2017 when NATO came calling again, this time to a posting in Poggio Renatico, Italy, where he was a Fighter Controller/Allocator for NATO's Deployable Air Command and Control Centre. In the four years during this posting at the Control Centre, Carter did training deployments which took him to Norway, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and Greece. Part of this deployment meant Carter was in Italy during COVID-19 until his return to North Bay for a third time in 2021, where he has been working at 22 Wing's Operational Support Squadron Standards Cell. Longo says if people want to see Carter's Zoom presentation they can email the library at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will provide the link. The presentation is not limited to residents of the Municipality of Powassan and can be seen by anyone with the Zoom link information. Longo says there will be an opportunity to interact with Carter with questions and using the chat mode. However, the public is asked to let Carter complete his presentation first before asking questions. People are also asked to have their mute button on so Carter's presentation is not interrupted by sounds coming from people's homes. Longo, who is working at the library through the Young Canada Works at Building Careers in Heritage Internship Program, says Powassan residents with no access to the internet can go to the library Nov. 9 and watch the 6:30 p.m. presentation there. With Remembrance Day drawing closer, Longo has also set up a small book display at the library with a military theme. “We have books at the library that make for a perfect read at this time of year,” he said. “The books give people a small sense of what military people have experienced.”
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget