Story by SGT Youtoy Martin on 06/19/2017Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington After completing a two-year assignment as I Corps' Deputy Commanding General for Operations, Canadian Brig. Gen. Dany Fortin and his wife Madeleine Collin, are headed north, back to their home country.
Members of I Corps said goodbye to Fortin during a brief ceremony June 13 at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash.
"It's a bitter sweet day for all of us at I Corps as Brig. Gen. Fortin and his wife Madeline return to Canada as Dany continues to assume roles of greater responsibility in his Army," said Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky I Corp commanding general during his remarks. "I would like to extend a special thanks to our teammates in Canada for continuing to send us their best officers to serve in America's I Corps, and Brig. Gen. Fortin is a shining example of this."
Fortin said Canadian general officers have been embedding in I Corps since 2008. His predecessors, he said, paved the way for success in his assignment as the I Corps DCG-O.
"They have established this relationship with the Corps," Fortin said. "Regardless of who the commander or key staff are, there is a bit of institutional memory here."
Fortin said the assignment was an honor and great learning experience.
He came to I Corps as a newly promoted general and within a month he was off to his first training exercise with the Corps headquarters, one of many in his tenure throughout the Pacific Region.
"It is an incredible privilege to have been selected by my country to come here, and a tremendous opportunity to develop my warfighting skills," Fortin said. "I never would have had that opportunity to work at that level of warfighting in Canada and have so many repetitions, which I've had over the course of my two-year assignment."
Fortin said he fostered and shared great relationships with his American teammates and quickly found himself feeling like a fully-integrated member of the unit despite being a member of a foreign military.
At times, he said, he forgot he was a Canadian officer and not a member of the U.S. military.
"I believed in being a part of the team that is the US Army, and adding value to the training and readiness," said Fortin.
One of Fortin's goals while assigned to I Corps, was to develop his skills and master his craft as warfighter.
On many occasions, former I Corps Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, called on him to lead the team on several exercises to provide guidance on his behalf, commanding the Corps during command post exercises. Experiences Fortin said he might not have had in his native country.
"It's not that I wouldn't have been entrusted with that responsibility back home, but I would not have had that kind of opportunity back home to work at that level," Fortin said.
Fortin said his time at JBLM led not only to professional opportunities, but to the development of treasured relationships.
When he arrived at JBLM he and his wife knew no one, he said. But he soon met people who he would come to see as great friends and neighbors who welcomed and accepted him as a member of the team and the community.
"Two-years later as we are about to leave we have so many good friends from the Corps and across JBLM and we will miss them," said Fortin. "We've learned a great deal from this experience not just professionally but personally. We learned a great deal being here on base with great friends and we look forward to reconnecting with them as we go the four-winds."
In two-weeks Fortin and his wife will celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary on the road, as he said they often do. They look forward to his next assignment in Canada, which brings them closer to family.
Fortin said this was the first time they had to be away from their daughter Gabrielle, who stayed home in Quebec, Canada some 3000 miles away to attend college.
"Being so far from our daughter was more particularly harder for my wife, than me as it often is," said Fortin. "We look forward to reconnecting, we will only be about four-hours from her and other family in my next assignment."