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Master Warrant Officer (MWO) (Retired) Barry Westholm, CD joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1982 as a member of the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RCEME).
He remained with RCEME until 2009 when he applied for, and was accepted to, a senior position within the newly formed Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU) as the Regional MWO and Sergeant major of JPSU Eastern Ontario Region. The JPSU was designed to be the CAF’s response to a requirement for consolidated support for ill and injured CAF members and their families while serving, transitioning or released (veterans).
As a founding member of the JPSU, MWO Westholm bore witness to the JPSU’s development from inception in 2009 to 2013 as the Regional MWO/Sergeant major of the JPSU’s most populous Region, one supporting 500 personnel over an area of 5000 sq/km. As the initial inadequacies of the JPSU became apparent, and new challenges appeared on the horizon, MWO Westholm provided a strong voice to take early corrective measures, however by 2013, the JPSU had descended to a point where control of the unit and proper support of the injured and ill posted to the JPSU became impossible.
In February 2013, MWO Westholm resigned in protest from the CAF to bring Attention to a tragedy developing in the JPSU. This tragedy was regarding the JPSUs increasing inability to provide satisfactory support to injured and ill members and their families.
From 2013 until the present time, MWO (ret’d) Westholm petitioned the CAF, the CAF Ombudsman, Members of Parliament, the Canadian Senate, media and others in an attempt to bring Attention and assistance to the JPSU and the persons it was meant to support.
In his role as an advocate, MWO (ret’d) Westholm uses his military training and experience to provide one-on-one counselling, support and guidance to serving and released military members and their families. He often liaises between injured members, military families and larger organizations (such as Veterans’s Affairs Canada (VAC), the CAF and various Provincial Institutions) and most recently as a witness on the Standing Committee for Veterans Affairs.
MWO (ret’d) Westholm accumulated a diverse range of technological, field, deployment, leadership and operational experience – he deployed on several missions to include:
NATO (W-Germany) 1987- 91.
United Nations, Operation Marquis (Cambodia) 1992.
United Nations, Operation Cauldron (Haiti) 1995.
Disaster Assistance Response Team, Operation Central (Honduras) 1998.
Aid to Civilian Powers, Operation Recuperation (Ontario) 1998.
Canadian/New Zealand Military Exchange – CANZEX (New Zealand) 1999.
United Nations, Operation Danaca (Syria) 2006.
He also had an equally diverse postings to include:
RCEME (Land) – Field: 4 Combat Engineer Regiment.
RCEME (Land) – Combat Service Support: 2 Service Battalion.
RCEME (Combat) – Airborne: Canadian Airborne Regiment.
RCEME (Air) – Air Force: 427 Tactical Helicopter Squadron.
RCEME (Strategic) – NORAD: CFB North Bay.
CMP (Casualty Support) – JPSU: Garrison Petawawa.
In 2012 MWO (ret’d) Westholm received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work with Soldier On, a CAF organization promoting recovery through specialized sports for ill and injured soldiers, sailors, airmen and women.