Episode 16

Episode 15: Colonel Bernd Horn (Ret)

Published on: 17th January, 2023

For more than 30 years Colonel Horn, OMM, MSM, CD, PhD, served in the Canadian Armed Forces, including more than 10 years of regimental service with operational combat arms units.

In 1993 he was posted to the Canadian Airborne Regiment as the Officer Commanding 3 Commando. At the time of 9/11 attacks he was the Commanding Officer of First Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment.

From 2007-2009 Colonel Horn was the Deputy Commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) and later would act as the director of the CANSOFCOM Education and Research Centre (formerly known as the Professional Development Centre).

During his career Colonel Horn also earned a Masters in War Studies and later a Phd, in addition to various honours awarded by the Governor General.

Colonel Horn released from the CAF in 2016 but continues to serve CANSOFCOM as the command historian, a position he fills as a civilian.

In this episode Colonel Horn and I discuss the focus of much of his academic work - the history of Canada's special operators. From the WWII First Special Service Force, to the little known Canadian SAS company, to the Airborne Regiment and the standing up of JTF2 - we cover it all.

You can find Colonel Horn's works published by Dundurn Press and Double Dagger Books.

Show Notes

2:10 - Always wanted to serve

4:40 - Joined RCR in 1983

5:55 - The Airborne Regiment: Canada’s Cold War Commandos

10:37 - Discipline issues coming to a head in Somalia

15:10 - Academic pursuits

19:00 - Deputy Commander of CANSOFCOM

20:00 - What is SOF?

24:00 - Churchill invented SOF?

30:28 - The myth that SOF is more expensive than conventional forces

32:57 - Why do SOF operators need to look different?

32:25 - SOF want to look special

43:30 - Canadian SAS?

47:20 - Canadian Airborne Regiment

49:30 - First Special Service Force

53:00 - JTF2

57:10 - From RCMP SERT teams to JTF2

1:05 - General Hillier stands up CANSOFCOM

1:14:07 - Prototypical SOF operator? 

1:16:40 - Canadian SOF culture and keeping a low profile

1:21:52 - Unleash the Dogs of War, new book published by Double Dagger

Under Reserve thanks Colonel Horn for his time, and his service.

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About the Podcast

Under Reserve
Life on the bench, at the bar, and on the beat.
Under Reserve is a show about law and law enforcement. Vancouver lawyer Dan Coles sits down with the individuals who shape and enforce the law domestically and abroad. From judges and lawyers, to police officers, politicians and soldiers - Under Reserve explores the stories behind extraordinary people who took an oath of service and who uphold the rule of law.

Learn more at www.underreserve.ca or Instragram @underreservepodcast

About your host

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Dan Coles

I am a trial lawyer and partner at mid-sized law firm in downtown Vancouver, B.C.

I am an advocate for freedom of the press and other media. I regularly appear in court as counsel for national and international news organizations. I assist journalists in obtaining access to court exhibits and I oppose publication bans, sealing orders, and in camera court proceedings. I obtain and resist injunctions.