National Defence and the Canadian Forces

4 Cdn Division
4th Canadian Division

31 Canadian Brigade Group

Operation Yellow Ribbon

Honorary Colonel Peter Young, CD

Honorary Colonel - Colonel Peter Young

LCol Peter Young started his military career with the Waterdown High School cadets affiliated with the RHLI. In 1962, the RHLI formed ‘B’ Company in Waterdown and he joined the RHLI Militia. He rose to the rank of Sergeant and then in 1968 was commissioned. He served his whole reserve time with the Rileys eventually being promoted Lieutenant Colonel and appointed Commanding Officer from 1982 to 1986. After stepping down from command, he served with the Militia Officers Training School in Toronto until leaving the reserves in 1993. He continued his association with the RHLI with the Regimental Senate, and as a member of the RHLI Museum and RHLI Veterans Association. He was appointed Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in May 2012 and Honorary Colonel in May 2015.

On the civilian side, LCol Young was a police officer. He served for a short time with the RCMP and OPP. He then spent 25 years with Peel Regional Police, heading up the Marine, Tactical, Morality, Training and Recruiting as well as managing several bureaux and divisions. He rose to the rank of Superintendent before moving to New Westminster, BC as their Chief of Police in 1996.

He has a Teaching Certificate from Hamilton Teachers College and an MBA from the University of Toronto. He has sat on a number of boards in Ontario and British Columbia including the Mississauga Red Cross, Sir Sandford Fleming College, Sheridan College, Peel Memorial Hospital and the Justice Institute of BC. He was a member of the Rotary Club for many years. He chairs the Thirteenth (XIII) Regiment Foundation, is a life member of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and belongs to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the OPP Veterans Association and the International Police Association. He is also a member of the Hospitaller Order of St John. He and his wife reside in Hamilton.

LCol Young has sailed his boat on both the east and west coasts of North America as well as through Central America and the Caribbean.

He and his wife enjoy competing nationally and internationally in old west style shooting under the auspices of the Single Action Shooting Society. They travel across Canada and through the United States competing and teaching range safety courses on behalf of SASS. He sits on the governing committee for Wild Bunch Action Shooting™.

Honorary Lieutenant Colonel Donald Cranston

Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel Donald Cranston

Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel Donald Cranston was born in Kingston and grew up in Ancaster. HLCol Cranston graduated from Queen's University with B.Sc. (Hons) and MBA degrees.

At Queen's, HLCol Cranston was a member of the Queen's Golden Gaels Football Club (Vanier Cup Champions 1978) and the Queen's Rowing Club (OUA Champions 1982).

During his university years, HLCol Cranston served with the Fort Henry Guard. In 1984, as Guard Captain, he was responsible for the joint parade with the United States Marine Corps at 8th & I Barracks and Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington D.C. He maintains a connection with Kingston through the Fort Henry Guard Club of Canada.

After graduating in 1985, HLCol Cranston started with Arthur Andersen as a Staff Consultant, responsible for Information System project rollouts to institutional clients. In 1987, he moved to Burns Fry Ltd as a Registered Representative covering private client and institutional clients.

In 1990, HLCol Cranston became a Vice-President with Coleford Investment Management Ltd. In 1995, he was a Founding Partner of CGOV Investment Management, an investment management firm managing private client and institutional assets.

HLCol Cranston is past Board Member of the Anglican Foundation of Canada, the Portfolio Management Association of Canada, and Bermingham Construction Ltd. He is currently on the Board of The Canadian Battlefields Foundation and the Friends of Fort York, and has been a member of the Senate of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry since 2013.

HLCol Cranston is an avid reader of History, especially focusing on the United Empire Loyalists in Upper Canada, and the Canadian Army since Confederation. He enjoys golf, canoeing and skeet shooting.

He lives in Toronto, and is married to Megan Hill, and has three children: Sarah, Wesley and Owen.

LCol JP Hoekstra

Commanding Officer - LCol Jan-Peter Hoekstra, CD

Lieutenant-Colonel Jan-Peter Hoekstra joined the RHLI as a private soldier on 19 March 1981. By April 2003 he was an acting Master Warrant Officer as one of the most active and respected non-commissioned officers in the Regiment. He took his commission on 04 Sept 2003 and was promoted immediately to captain. Since then, he has had a very active domestic and international career.

He was detached from the RHLI from 2006 to 2009 to work with the Land Force Central Area (now 4 Canadian Division) CIMIC (Civilian-Military Co-operation) Detachment where he developed strong skills promoting co-operation between civilians and the military in deployed operations. In that time, from 2008-2009, he deployed to Afghanistan under OP ATHENA as a CIMIC Liaison Officer.

Returning to the Rileys in 2009 after his tour, he was appointed Officer Commanding "B" Company from 2009-2010, before being detached to 31 Canadian Brigade Group as Team Leader with the Influence Activities Cell. He was promoted major on 01 April 2011, and concurrently held the job as Officer Commanding quot;Cquot; Company in Burlington.

He took a short break from the RHLI and 31 CBG to serve as instructor at the Kenyan Army Staff College from Sept to Oct 2011. In Aug 2012, he was appointed Guard Commander for the Canadian Forces contingent at the 70th anniversary of the raid on Dieppe, France, a raid where 197 Rileys were killed, and hundreds wounded and taken in captivity.

From Oct 2012 to Apr 2013, he deployed yet again this time under OP SOPRANO to South Sudan, with the National Support Element as the Operations Officer and Adjutant of Task Force South Sudan.

In June of 2012 he was appointed Deputy Commanding Officer of the Regiment as well as retaining his duties with the 31 CBG Influence Activities Cell. Concurrently with all this, he took his Joint Command and Staff Program Parts 1 & 2 from 2012-2015.

From Oct 2015-Apr 2016 he deployed under OP IMPACT in Baghdad as Deputy Chief of Operations in the Joint Operations Centre at Forward Operating Base Union III. As a result of this and his deployment to Afghanistan, he is the first Riley since World War 2 to be awarded two General Campaign Stars: GCS-Southwest Asia and GCS-Expedition. He also has the Canadian Forces Decoration, and medals for UNMISS and NSE (South Sudan) and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal.

In his civilian career, he is Head of History at R.H. King Academy with the Toronto District School Board. He is married to Catherine Thornton, with six children from ages 17 to 28. He holds a BA in Christian Education from Redeemer Reformed Christian College, a B.Ed degree from Brock University and his Honours Specialist - History from York University. In his spare time he enjoys fitness, military history, bicycling, camping, and strategic gaming.

He now becomes the RHLI's 54th Commanding Officer.

Regimental Sergeant-Major CWO Dan Ruiter, CD

Regimental Sergeant-Major CWO Dan Ruiter, CD

Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Dan Ruiter joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's) as a private on June 4th, 1990. A year later, he took part in Ex Thunderbolt '91 attached to C Company, 1 RCR.

In June 1992, he was promoted corporal and took an overseas deployment to Cyprus as part of Op SNOWGOOSE Roto 59 with the 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery.

Promoted master corporal in August 1994, he was made a section commander with the Argylls. He was promoted sergeant in November 1996, warrant officer in November 2001, just 11 years into his career, and master warrant officer in September 2008.

In 2005, he deployed to Afghanistan as part of the Cover Team for Human Intelligence, National Command Element, All Source Intelligence Centre, Kabul and then at the HQ as the G3 Ops Warrant Officer in Kandahar.

He served in many roles with the Argylls including Company Sergeant Major, Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant, and at ATC Meaford.

In December 2012, he transferred to The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry as Company Sergeant Major of the Administration/Battalion HQ Company, and in June of 2013, was appointed Drill Sergeant Major. He is now promoted Chief Warrant Officer and appointed Regimental Sergeant-Major.

He is a life insurance agent and mutual fund dealer in civilian life, with Primerica Financial Services Limited. He lives in Hamilton with his partner Michelle Lynn Smith and their child Kailey Alexandria Ruiter.

He is the 30th person to hold the appointment of RSM of the RHLI, a position first established in 1900.


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