Nathaniel Browne ’14 (Culver) is taking a slightly different path to serving in the military; and it goes through Kingston, Ontario. That is the home of the Royal Military College of Canada, the Canadian version of the United States service academies.
Browne may be the first Culver cadet to attend the Royal Military College of Canada. But it doesn’t seem like an unusual decision to him, though, because his family has a long history serving in the Canadian armed forces. “Someone from every generation has served since World War I,” he explained. “I wanted to keep that tradition going.”
Browne was born in Toronto. His mother, Dr. Lisa Ronback Browne, is originally from Montreal and his father, Alex Browne, is from Toronto. Most of his extended family now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. His brother, Theo ’15, was born in the United States.
Nathaniel has had a special fascination with the military since he was young. Browne got his first taste of it during Woodcraft Camp, where he received a Gold C. As a new cadet in Battery C, while others were complaining about the military training, “I thought it was pretty cool. I had a blast.”
Browne reports later this week to begin his training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean, Quebec. There will be approximately 550 recruits in his class, he said. After that, the first-years will transfer to Kingston for the academic year. Following the academic year, he will return to Saint-Jean to complete the Basic Military Officer Qualification course.
Browne said one of his required summer training programs is second official language training. For him, that will be French. He will also receive additional training in his assigned area, which is the infantry.
This is the major difference in the RMCC and the American service academies, he said. All the Canadian service branches filter their officers through the RMCC. They go through the Regular Officer Training Plan, which is similar to the American ROTC. While several Canadian universities offer ROTP, he said, the Royal Military College adds extra requirements. In order to apply to the RMCC, he first had to apply and be accepted into the ROTP.
If he had not been accepted into the RMCC, he could have attended a university that offers ROTP then transferred later, Browne said. His infantry specialization training comes during his two-month assignments each summer. That training takes place on one of the military bases across Canada.
Over the course of his four years, Browne said there will be opportunities to meet with his Culver friends at West Point. The RMCC has an exchange program where selected students attend West Point for one semester. There is also the Sandhurst Competition, which is military skills competition among several military service academies and ROTC programs that is hosted by West Point.
After graduation, Browne said his service obligation includes five years of active duty and seven years as a reserve officer.