G.E. (Joe) Sharpe joined the RCAF in 1965, attended Royal Roads Military College in Victoria B.C. and graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in 1969 with a degree in Applied Science, a course mate of Romeo Dallaire. He served in the Canadian Armed Forces (CF) for the next 32 years in various operational (air defence all weather fighters), instructional and joint staff positions, including as Wing Commander of 17 Wing Winnipeg. He served on the Joint Staff during the first Gulf War and as the Air Component Commander during the Winnipeg Flood in 1997. He was a distinguished graduate of the CF Command and Staff College and National Defence College. Sharpe served an academic secondment (Senior Fellow) with the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security. He completed his military career as a Brigadier General, serving on the air staff as the DG responsible for air force development.
Sharpe chaired the Croatia Board of Inquiry that investigated the medical problems suffered by CF soldiers returning from peacekeeping operations in Croatia – problems that subsequently proved to be largely due to post traumatic stress disorder. He chaired the Special Review Group commissioned by the CDS to exam issues surrounding CF leadership during the Croatia deployments. Post retirement he served as the deputy chair of the Afghanistan Detainee Board of Inquiry.
Sharpe also served as a special advisor to the CF/DND Ombudsman on Operational Stress Injuries, specifically post traumatic stress disorder. He works with Defence Research and Development Canada (Toronto) on various research projects dealing with the human in command and works with Dr Allan English on research into command and control, leadership, and military culture, and is a frequent lecturer at the Canadian Forces College dealing with command and leadership issues and mental health. He chaired the CF/VAC/RCMP Mental Health Advisory Committee until it was dissolved by VAC. He currently supports Senator Dallaire on issues dealing with veterans’ mental health.
He served for five years as the Honorary Colonel for the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Studies in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and remains involved with the CF assisting various organisations with their strategic planning activities. He was appointed Colonel Commandant of the Canadian Forces Military Police Branch in October, 2010.