Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Brand joined the reserves as a private soldier with the The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (RHLI) – a regiment his father twice commanded. He received his basic parachute qualification in 1975. In 1979 he was commissioned from the rank of Warrant Officer to Lieutenant and appointed to command the RHLI AVGP platoon, when that armoured vehicle was first issued to the reserves in 1980.
In 1984 he was promoted Captain and transferred to the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada (QOR of C) and upon completion of the Airborne Indoctrination Course, served as a QOR airborne platoon commander. Later that year he was promoted Major and appointed Officer Commanding, 60th (parachute) company. In 1990 he was also appointed Deputy Commanding Officer. He served in various airborne roles for a total of 8 years and conducted several SUE’s with 3 Commando CAR, UK 10 Para and various US SF units.
In 1992 he was promoted LCol and appointed Commanding Officer QOR. During his command the QOR was consistently one of the top units in Toronto Militia District and noted for a high level of fitness and field orientation. In 1994 he was privileged to command a 140-person QOR contingent supporting the official government D+50 commemorations in Normandy and was able to parachute into Drop Zone November as part of the 11-plane, British-led, mass drop of 1300 paratroopers. He turned over command in 1995 and was appointed Senior Staff Officer Infantry and later G3 Reserve Advisor at LFCAHQ, where he served until 2000, at which time he was appointed Liaison Officer with the Canadian Forces Liaison Council (CFLC) and tasked to coordinate reserve employer support within the Greater Toronto Area.
In December of 2003 Brand volunteered for full-time military service and deployed to the West African country of Sierra Leone as the Canadian Task Force Commander for Roto 6, OP SCULPTURE, in support of the UN authorized and British-led, International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT) which first deployed to Sierra Leone in 2000 in response to an invitation by the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) to assist in the reconstruction and training of the new army after an 11-year civil war. IMATT training teams work alongside their Sierra Leonean colleagues in the MOD and RSLAF headquarters and sub-units in Freetown. During his 6-month tour of duty Brand was the Staff Officer 1 (SO1) Freetown Garrison Brigade and senior IMATT infantry brigade advisor. His area of responsibility included the capital city of Freetownand all areas in the Western Sector.
His duties included the coordination and execution of all light infantry battalion training, liaison with UNAMSIL (UN forces) and the SLP (Police) forces within the Western Sector, coordination of RSLAF support to national contingency plans concerning key point security in the capital region including the Special Court, Presidential and VP Lodges, State House, Parliament, and other key government installations. Due to the absence of a Canadian Embassy in Sierra Leone he acted as the senior Canadian representative to the Canadian Embassy in Guinea. Brand also coordinated the rebuilding of 3 schools, charity events and clean water supply initiatives.
In 2006 he was appointed Detachment Commander. He is tasked to train and deploy a team of CCPLO’s to support Domestic Operations within the 32CBG Area of Interest in conjunction with Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) and local Community Emergency Management Coordinators (CEMC).
In October 2008 LCol Brand volunteered for full-time service again and deployed to Afghanistan that December where he served in the NATO HQ in Kandahar as the lead planner for the US expansion effort. He returned to Canada in late August 2009.