Major-General J.I. Fenton, OMM CD
Major-General James Ivan Fenton was born at Owen Sound, Ontario on 21 September 1950 and was raised on a farm in Bruce County. He entered the Canadian Armed Forces under the Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP) while attending university and was commissioned as a Lieutenant into The Royal Canadian Regiment in 1972. Concurrently, Major-General Fenton graduated from York University at Toronto. His subsequent Regimental service would all take place with 3rd Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment (3RCR), initially at Petawawa, Ontario and later at Winnipeg, Manitoba and Baden Soellingen, Germany.
Major-General Fenton’s first operational deployment occurred during the summer of 1976 when he was a platoon commander with 3 RCR at Kingston, Ontario during Operation GAMESCAN 76, the CAF security operation mounted in support of the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Promoted Captain, he deployed overseas with 3 RCR to Cyprus during Operation SNOWGOOSE as Intelligence Officer, 1976 – 1977. Major-General Fenton continued to rise steadily through the ranks and on 28 June 1989 was appointed Commanding Officer of 3 RCR while the Battalion was stationed overseas at Baden Soellingen, Germany. His tenure of command lasted until 10 July 1991. In 1993 Major-General Fenton achieved a Master of Arts degree in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada at Kingston.
Among staff appointments held by Major-General Fenton during his career were: G3 (Chief of Staff) with 1st Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group at Calgary, Alberta; G3 of the Force Mobile Command (FMC) Division and SSO Operations Training at FMCHQ Montreal; and a member of the Operations and Training Staff on the Joint Staff, NDHQ Ottawa. From 1995 – 1999 as Strategic Operations Staff Officer at NDHQ, he led the staff team responsible for the CF response to domestic emergencies and was additionally responsible for CF Liaison with the RCMP in matters related to counter-terrorism. Major-General Fenton was the CF staff lead during the Red River flood of 1997 and the eastern Canada ice storm in 1998. Later in 1998 he led a joint Defence and Foreign Affairs liaison team to the Central African Republic in anticipation of a UN peacekeeping mission in that country, Operation MINURCA. Major-General Fenton would eventually be invested as an Officer in the Order Of Military Merit (OMM) for his work during the ice storm and in the Central African Republic.
Promoted Colonel, from 1999 – 2001 Major-General J.I. Fenton served as the Base Commander at Petawawa. From December 1999 – June 2000 he was deployed overseas operationally as the Commander of the Canadian Task Force in Kosovo during Operation KINETIC. Promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General he served as Commander Land Force Western Area (LFWA) from 2001 – 2004 at Edmonton. During this appointment Major-General Fenton also served as Task Force Commander of military forces mounting security for the Alberta G8 Summit at Kananaskis in 2002; and in 2003 he was the Task Force Commander in support of the British Columbia Forest Service during large-scale forest fires in B.C. Promoted to the rank of Major-General, he was appointed as the Director of Operations for the NATO Headquarters at Brussells, Belgium. After 35 years of exemplary service, Major-General J.I. Fenton retired from the Canadian Armed forces in 2007.
Following retirement from the military Major-General Fenton has remained extremely active as an educator, executive coach and mentor. From 2007 – 2010 he served as a leadership coach and mentor for senior military officers and public service executives attending the National Security Programme. Since 2011 Major-General Fenton has coached executives both from the public service and from industry, and has also instructed on MBA courses for Cape Breton University.
Major-General Fenton is an active member of The RCR Association and has been President of the Association’s Ottawa Branch. He is also a member of the NATO Veterans’ Organization of Canada.
Major-General J.I. Fenton is married to Suellen (Sue) Greene. They have two children, Christopher James and Angela Susanne, and two grandchildren.
Major-General Fenton was appointed as Colonel of The Regiment of The Royal Canadian Regiment on 18 June 2015 in a ceremony taking place at Gagetown, New Brunswick.