Every February, Canadians are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present.
Claude “Ollie” Cromwell joined the Canadian Armed forces in 1979 and served in numerous conflicts overseas. He retired in 2019 after 40 years of service.
Claude “Ollie” Cromwell was born in Digby, Nova Scotia, and moved to Montréal as a young teenager. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1979 and began a long career in military logistics. If our men and women in uniform are not effectively supported with the required resources, they cannot fulfill their duties—a fact that makes the logistical trades vital.
Serving across Canada
Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Cromwell’s military career would see him serve across Canada in places like Calgary, Alberta; Summerside, Prince Edward Island; Kingston, Ontario; Edmonton, Alberta; and the Ottawa, Ontario area. He also took part in domestic operations such as assisting in the aftermath of the massive ice storm in eastern Canada in 1998, contributing to security efforts for the G8 Summit meetings in Alberta in 2002, and fighting forest fires in British Columbia in 2003.
CWO Cromwell would also serve overseas. He was posted in Lahr, West Germany, with Canada’s NATO forces in Europe (1984-1990) and took part in international peace support efforts in the Golan Heights (1983), Cyprus (1993), Kosovo (1999) and Afghanistan (2006). As well, he was named Camp Sergeant Major for the Canadian Armed Forces contingent at the Nijmegen Marches in the Netherlands in 2012. As the Task Force Sergeant Major of the Disaster Assistance Relief Team (DART), CWO Cromwell deployed to Nepal to help provide humanitarian relief after a major earthquake (2015).
Through it all, he rose through the non-commissioned officer ranks while also remaining active in the curling clubs and community service organizations where he was posted. Over the years, CWO Cromwell has received numerous awards, most notably being inducted into the Order of Military Merit as a member in 2017. He retired from the Canadian Armed Forces as a Divisional Sergeant Major within Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel) Group in 2019 after 40 years of distinguished service.