By Tina Ray/ParaglideJuly 1, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Canadian Armed Forces Brig. Gen. Nicolas Matern, deputy commanding general of operations, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, will soon bid farewell to Fort Bragg.
Matern, who first arrived to Fort Bragg in 2007, is set to leave July 15. He will assume the responsibility of Chief of Staff for Operations for Canadian Forces, Expeditionary Command, in August.
"I am sad to be leaving," the general said. "Every good thing has to come to an end."
Matern said his time here at Fort Bragg has been phenomenal, and the biggest lesson learned here has everything to do with staff management.
Matern's time and his role at Fort Bragg have seemed to carry great significance.
Joint operations have been crucial because the conflicts that Allied Forces are facing today require teamwork to try to resolve them." After all, he added, America, Canada and Mexico all share the same continent and have security needs.
Matern called the tour spent in Iraq, in which he filled the position of deputy commanding general,
coalition and infrastructure for Multi-National Corps - Iraq, mindboggling, interesting and rewarding. He said he learned a lot from the experience about orchestration of staff and staff management.
Haiti, said Matern, was different from Iraq because Haiti was a humanitarian disaster while Iraq is an ongoing, armed conflict. But, finding his native French invaluable in French-speaking Haiti, he added, "it didn't take me very long in Haiti to start making inroads and to help the coalition."
On a personal note, Matern said he has become accustomed to milder winters in North Carolina and will miss the weather. He said he will also miss the hospitality that he and his Family - wife, Sonia Thibault and children, Olivier, Kira and Jasmine - have enjoyed.
The hardest challenge about moving to America was transitioning the children from French schools into an English environment, Matern said.
"In the end, it worked out fine. So, it was great," he said.
According to biographical information, Matern is a native of Quebec. He joined the Canadian armed forces in 1977 through the Royal Military College of Canada. He has served in mechanized infantry, light and special forces in Europe and Canada and has risen to become a commanding officer of a light infantry unit and Canada's premier Special Forces Unit - Joint Task Force 2.
Matern has the distinction of being the first Canadian officer employed as deputy commanding general with the XVIII Abn. Corps and Fort Bragg. His replacement is scheduled to be Brig. Gen. Christian Juneau, acting commander of Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.
Matern said he will miss Fort Bragg when he leaves. The people here at Fort Bragg have become "extended Family, he said. "That part is locked in my memory and will remain with me for decades to come, hopefully."