The Supplementary Radio System was the forerunner of today's military communications intelligence system. It was a small and close knit group of personnel who served much of their time in small and isolated communties such as Masset, Gander, Inuvik, and Alert. Because of the nature of their work, the members could not talk much about what they were doing except in each other's company. This contributed to building a special solidarity that still exists today.

SUPPLEMENTARY RADIO SYSTEM OLDTIMERS' ASSOCIATION

From the early eighties and through the nineties the CFS Leitrim/CFSRS annual reunions were jam packed, noisy, smoky and, no doubt, the best night of the year. Fantastic times were had by everyone that attended. The yearly reunions were held in Leitrim's small all ranks mess with modular tents attached at the north end to accommodate the extremely large crowds. Facilities and times have certainly changed. CFS Leitrim now has a much larger, more modern mess with a gymnasium attached capable of accommodating large crowds with ease.

The birth of the 'Supplementary Radio System (SUPRAD) Oldtimers' Association originated as a result of the CFS Leitrim reunions. Several of the more senior and retired (well, let's say older) members of the trade experienced problems and voiced discontent with standing in crowded spaces for prolonged periods. In 1994, a committee was formed (known as the Gaggle) to organize an Oldtimers' Reunion for retired and more senior personnel. In order to avoid any conflict with CFS Leitrim’s' annual reunion, the first gathering was held at the Hylands Curling Club, CFB Ottawa (South) in June. The initial group numbered forty-five people, mostly from the local area, who enjoyed a barbeque and quiet social evening. After three years, the popularity of the Oldtimers' reunion grew from 45 to 85 and then 145 pers - we outgrew that facility. Because of the unbelievable response and interest, mailing and E mail address lists were created covering the entire country.

With the demise of the Canadian Forces Supplementary Radio System, the Director of History was approached to allow our group to be referred to as the SUPRAD Oldtimers' Association. On their recommendation and with the approval of the Commander of the newly formed Canadian Forces Information Operations Group (CFIOG) we were authorized to use the former CFSRS crest and motto on lapel pins. The addition 'Friends Forever' as the SUPRAD Oldtimers' motto was incorporated and put on the bottom of the pins. The committee decided to create a “Lifetime Membership Plaque” to be hung at the entrance to Leitrim’s' Mess. The plaque is in the shape of a tree with the members each having an individual plaque with their name engraved on it and displayed as a leaf. There are presently four hundred and thirty eight Lifetime members. In addition, we currently have a SUPRAD Old-timers Association mailing list containing six hundred and twenty three names/addresses/email addresses of old-timers we are proud to keep in touch with. Our “In Memory” list contains four hundred and thirty nine names of fallen comrades [not all are members]. All deceased lifetime members have a cross on their membership plaque.

The large increase in numbers necessitated the search for a new site to hold our functions. Leitrim’s' new mess and attached gym was exactly what we needed. With the blessing of the Commanding Officer and Leitrim Staff we were able to relocate our festivities to the much larger, more comfortable establishment. In concert with the CO, PMC and Mess manager, an agreement between Leitrim and the SUPRAD Oldtimers' Association was struck. Our group rented the mess while Leitrim retained full operation of the bar. This proved to be a very lucrative and most worthwhile venture for both parties. On our side, the SUPRAD Oldtimers' Association was able to organize the function with minimal charge for expenses (i.e. The caterer, some prizes and a few free drinks). The number of attendees increased to 190 - 200 pers for the next three years.

Our millennium bash was the best to date with a full weekend of activities. Two Hundred and ninety people responded to our annual notice. On Friday evening we hosted a Meet & Greet at Leitrim’s' Combined mess with snack trays and pizzas for all - approximately 200 people showed up. Saturday AM we held a fun golf tournament with great participation. Later that morning we enjoyed a trip to the Rideau Carleton Raceway and Slots where a few actually got lucky and won some money! On Saturday evening, the Operations Officer and Operations Chief organized two operations tours. A chance for the Older generation to observe today’s modern equipment and how operational procedures have changed. On completion of the tours, we had a Hip-o-Beef dinner with all the trimmings followed by a dance/social. On Sunday morning at 10:00 AM a brunch was hosted by the Manotick Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. This final event was very well attended (206 pers) and gave everyone the opportunity to bid a fond farewell to our visitors from out-of-town. The weekend was an overwhelming success.

This 2013 Reunion was held June 21 – 23. CFS Leitrim no longer hosts an annual reunion but does host the Friday evening of our reunions. The evening activities commence at 1500 hours with the usual open house to all serving and former members of the trade as well as civilian and military personnel from other trades that have served within CFIOG

SUPRAD OLDTIMERS' REUNION 2017

SUPRAD REUNION WRAP-2017 can be found here.

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Webmaster - Jim Troyanek, ex RCCS/Cdn Forces.

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