Captain Wayne Johnston enlisted as an infantryman in 1973 with The Royal Regiment of Canada. Rising through the ranks Captain Johnston was promoted to Master Warrant Officer in 1986. Over the years he held several positions ranging from Infantry Section Commander, Company Sergeant Major to Drill Sergeant Major. Amongst his many qualifications, Captain Johnston earned his parachutist wings in 1975. Captain Johnston has served with several regular units, including 3rd Canadian Mechanized Commando in Baden Germany, 2nd Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, and the 1st Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment.
In the early 1990's Captain Johnston was appointed the Company Sergeant Major for Mike Company, 3rd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment during its 10/90 phase. Captain Johnston has been awarded the Canadian Peace Keeping Medal, the Non Article 5 NATO Medal (Balkans), the 125 Anniversary Medal, the Queens Golden Jubilee Medal, the Queens diamond Jubilee Medal, the Canadian Decoration with 2 bars, a Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation and a Land Force Commanders Commendation. In addition he has been awarded a Knight of the Order of St George.
Commissioning from the ranks as a Logistics Officer in 1995, Capt Johnston took command of 47 Field Engineering Squadron, 32 Combat Engineer Regiment, of 32 Canadian Brigade Group in Toronto. From 1999 – 2004 he was employed full time as the Adjutant, Training Officer, Recruiting Officer as well as Officer Commanding of the Training Squadron. He was awarded a Commanding Officers Commendation for his attraction and recruiting efforts. As the Recruiting Officer he grew 32 Combat Engineering Regiment exponentially making it the largest Reserve Engineer unit in the nation.
Captain Johnston deployed with the NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina in March 2004 as a Liaison Officer attached to Multinational Task Force South East. During his tour he received numerous accolades for his professional excellence and strong abilities as a facilitator, these included two Commanders commendations.
In September 2006 Captain Johnston was asked to perform what is considered one of the most difficult and stressful tasks an officer can be called upon to perform, that of being an Assisting Officer to a wounded soldier and their family.
The physical and emotional ordeal experienced by Captain Johnston while in Germany as an Assisting Officer spurred him to found the national acclaimed charity Wounded Warriors Canada. It is through his vision and outstanding leadership that some $C5 million to date has been raised supporting existing programs that tend to the wounded and their families. His direct efforts have brought considerable honour to the sacrifices of our wounded heroes in the eyes of the Canadian public. This heightened awareness has proven to be of great benefit to Canadians in understanding the challenges of the wounded and their families.
In 2008 Captain Johnston volunteered to fill the unenviable position of Repatriation Officer for the fallen. Without question the job of Repatriation Officer is the most emotionally stressful, demanding tasks to befall any officer in the CF. Captain Johnston proved an inspired choice; he performed this most gruelling task in an outstanding highly professional manner. While the loss of a CF member is difficult especially to the immediate family and unit Captain Johnston was always mindful of the loss and treated each and everyone with extreme due diligence and tact. Never one to fail in this most important national task Captain Johnston always flawlessly brought home the fallen with the upmost poise, respect and dignity befitting our fallen heroes. His commitment to uncommonly high standards in all matters pertaining to the Repatriation of the fallen has brought great honors and benefit to the Nation during particularly difficult circumstances. In November 2009 he was recognized by HRH the Prince of Wales with an audience by "royal command" - a rare occurrence indeed.
After this sterling service Captain Johnston in 2012 left the position Repatriation Officer. The job of Repatriation Officer came at a heavy cost and sacrifice as Captain Johnston has been diagnosed with a severe mission related Operational Stress Injury due those duties. (PTSD) As is typical of him he has not let that deter him from his focus on assisting those with injuries, and his firsthand knowledge of these concerns has provided him with the ability to understand and interact with those who suffer from OSI's. He has become a tireless advocate in getting people not only within the CF but outside to talk openly about mental health. In 2013 he left Wounded Warriors Canada to focus on advocacy for injured veterans. That said he continues to sit on the board of Wounded Warriors Weekend Foundation (**a separate entity from the charity.)
On 30 April 2014 he was released from the CF and is now enjoying retired life. Captain Johnston is married, his wife Clare who hails from Kent, England, is a retired oncology nurse who worked at The Princess Margaret Hospital. They reside in Brooklin Ontario with their three cats. Wayne's interests include veterans advocacy, military art and WW2 aviation history, classic movie collecting, adding to his extensive wine cellar, and he also collects classic automobiles - being a proud owner of a pristine 1966 Ford Mustang and a stunning 1974 MGB GT. He also an avid 'powerboater'.. in the summer - of course!
Wayne will be accompanying/leading our Canadian Bomber Command September 2020 Tour to England!