This May, a Moose Jaw student graduated from the nationally recognized Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in Kingston Ontario. The institution is highly selective and has an acceptance rate of just over 10%.
Officer Cadet David Francesco Cozzi graduated on Friday, May 19th with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and has received a Commission Script in the name of His Majesty to forward his career by training to be an Aerospace Control Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
“I came from a military family, and I was born in Wichita Falls (Texas, USA) because my father was posted there. The first time I lived in Moose Jaw was in 2008, and I attended elementary school at St. Michaels,” says Cozzi, whose story resembles many who serve in our community through 15 Wing Moose Jaw.
“I consider Moose Jaw my hometown because I have spent a lot of time there and always had great memories, great military and non-military friends. Moose Jaw is small but cozy, and it was as if I had always lived there.
“At the end of high school, I still wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life, but I always wanted to help others and people in need,” Cozzi explains as he reflects on his inspiration to join the RMC.
At that time, he attended Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, which is a civilian university.
“After my first year there, I realized I wanted to do more. Having more challenges, making better friends, and doing more exciting things in my life, but mostly ‘helping.’ So, I decided to follow in my father's footsteps and join the CAF.
“I decided to pursue a psychology degree at RMC. I chose this path because military members, families, and civilians going through difficult times need to ‘talk and be listened to’.” Cozzi was not certain about his career path initially but found a love for psychology which was affirmed after each class he took.
As well as loving the psychology courses, Cozzi also admired the RMC where he was now studying.
“RMC is a family where civilian and military personnel take care of you and help you overcome difficulties that life presents you day after day. I loved the professors and all the material that was taught.”
“After graduating in psychology, in the long term I would like to continue this path and my studies to offer better psychological support to families and military members.”
For the immediate future, Cozzi is enjoying a few days with family before being posted at 22 Wing in North Bay, Ontario. Here, he will begin his training as an Aerospace Control Officer.
“RMC is not a typical university where you can manage your life solo, but it is an institution where you can receive a lot of support and help,” explains Cozzi as he describes life at the RMC. At RMC life is not all sunshine and roses.
“There are different challenges like learning a second language (English or French) before graduating, getting in physical shape so all members can pass the physical fitness tests every semester, studying military subjects, studying for university courses, military exercises, and much more.”
He describes the experience as challenging but affirms that with this challenge comes room for growth.
“RMC is a structure that opens your mind and offers numerous possibilities for the future, with lots of support along the way to help you succeed.”
For anyone interested in studying at the RMC, Cozzi gives some insights into life in this new setting.
“Finding a balance between military activities and study is not always easy,” he explains. “Usually, in the first year, you arrive at RMC in August (before the academic semester starts). The first month is dedicated to military training and team cohesion, learning the ranks and the rules of the CAF and RMC. We do a lot of sports to pass the physical fitness tests.
“During the academic year, we have about five weekends where we do military training and wear uniforms all week. Initially, everything seems complicated, but thanks to the support of the military and civilian staff, the balance between military life and study is balanced.”
Always thankful and appreciative of those who offered support along the way, Cozzi reflects on his time spent in Moose Jaw.
“First of all, I have to thank the City of Moose Jaw, my friends, and my teachers at St. Michael's who all welcomed me like a child born and raised there from the first day I arrived. At Moose Jaw, I always felt at home and safe.
“I would also like to thank the Moose Jaw Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) who worked hard to help military families posted there. The 15 Wing MFRC also played a fundamental role in my life as a child in the military.”
The MFRC works closely with the military and helps support active personnel mentally, socially, physically, and financially to better help them on their mission to protect Canadian values.
“I also want to thank 15 Wing and CFB Moose Jaw and all those who work there who have always seemed to impress my dad and keep him smiling throughout his time there.
“Thanks to my fantastic hockey coaches, and to all my family for the support they have always given me during my time at RMC, and of course thanks to all the friends that I have made along the way.
“In closing I definitely agree that Moose Jaw is genuinely a ‘friendly city.’”