Faces of the 5th Canadian Division

Each week, the 5th Canadian Division will profile a #5DivSoldier that helps keep the #MightyMaroonMachine going while remaining #StrongProudReady for any and all challenges.

Beaupré, Petty Officer 1st class Nicole

Petty Officer 1st Class Nicole Beaupre at the 100th anniversary of Camp Hill Veterans Memorial hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia on September 20, 2017. Photo: ©2017 DND/MDN, Canada.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”  - Mahatma Gandhi

Hometown: Trenton, Nova Scotia

Years of Service: 27 years

Home Unit:  5th Canadian Division, G8 (Financial Policies & Procedures)

Who is your role model?
This is a hard question to answer. I have had many role models throughout my career that inspired me to be the sailor I am today. On my personal side it was my mom. Throughout my childhood, volunteering and giving back to those in need was part of our family life that I have carried forward into my own family.

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I knew in Grade 7 that I wanted to join the Canadian Armed Forces. The recruiters came to our school for Career Day, that night I went home and told my mom that I was joining the military. The following week I joined the 397 Trenton Air Cadets and immediately after graduating from high school I was off to CFB Cornwallis for Recruit School.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
I have spent most of my career on training bases or with the Navy. When I was posted to the 5th Canadian Division, I was welcomed and immediately accepted as part of the family even though I am in a Navy uniform.

What is your most memorable experience?
I have been able to see the world throughout my career. I have visited 23 countries and lived in Germany for four years. It has all been quite a memorable experience. For the past six years, I have been involved in an amazing volunteer outreach program with Camp Hill Veterans Memorial. As the coordinator for the program I seek volunteers to help support the events held at Camp Hill, which consist of 6 ceremonies throughout the year and two garden clean-up days. This has been one of my most rewarding experiences in my career.

Why have you stayed in the CAF?
Being in the CAF is who I am, I have never considered it my job, it is a part of me.

What message would you like the Canadian public to know about the Canadian Army?
If you are looking for a career that is challenging and fosters personal growth, opportunities to travel the world, build a close network of family and friends and potentially make a difference in someone else’s life through humanitarian aid, safety and security, then the Canadian Army is the place you want to be.

 

Fudge, Corporal Kristopher Bruce

Corporal Kristopher Bruce Fudge, from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Newfoundland Regiment, trains with the 5th Canadian Division combat shooting team at the 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown range and training area on August 18, 2017 in preparation for the 2017 Canadian Armed Forces Small Arms Concentration.

"This is such an amazing experience. I would recommend taking part in Canadian Armed Forces Small Arms Concentration to anybody who wants to improve their marksmanship skills."

Hometown: Roberts Arm, Newfoundland

Years of Service: 4 years

Home Unit: 2nd Battalion, Royal Newfoundland Regiment, Corner Brook, Newfoundland

Who is your role model? 
Sidney Crosby. Sidney Crosby is my role model because he’s a great hockey player, has great work ethic and is from the East Coast.

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I joined to have an excellent job that permitted me to continue working on my university degree.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
Getting a chance to participate in so many different exciting events/competitions. For me, the Canadian Armed Forces Small Arms Concentration is one of my most memorable moments.

Why you have stayed in the CAF?
The Canadian Armed Forces gives me the opportunity to continue improving myself physically and mentally.

 

Gravina, Trooper Jeff

Trooper Jeff Gravina, an Armoured Reconnaissance crewman from the Prince Edward Island Regiment, participating in Exercise STRIDENT TRACER 2017, a large Army Reserve combat training exercise held at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown from August 18-27, 2017. Photo: 14 Wing Imaging Services. ©2017 DND/MDN Canada.

"There are a lot of real people. The Army is made up of a lot of real people."

Hometown: Kensington, Prince Edward Island

Years of Service: 1 year, 3 months

Home Unit: The Prince Edward Island Regiment (RCAC)

Who is your role model?
My parents, Adam and Sara Gravina, inspire me a lot.

My role model in the Canadian Armed Forces is Warrant Officer Chad Wilkie of the Halifax Rifles and an instructor on my Armoured Reconnaissance crewman’s course, because he is enthusiastic and passionate about teaching us the proper ways and ensuring that we are efficient.

What do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I am an Armoured Reconnaissance crewman, a war fighting function that uses vehicles to gather information, often in enemy territory. There are a lot of complex tactics and strategies that are used to operate while remaining undetected.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
The people you meet and the experiences that you have at work. You meet people that you wouldn't normally get an opportunity to. There are people on my course that I have really gotten to know in an in-depth level while working in close quarters together. They are all-around just really cool people.

What is your most memorable experience?
The courses that I have taken thus far because that is where all of these great people and great experiences have come together whether in barracks, in the classroom or on our off time.

Why you have stayed in the CAF?
It is a great job, it pays well and there are a lot of different work opportunities.

What would you say to someone that is considering a career in the CAF?
Give it a try, give it your best shot. Really push yourself to do the best you can and at the end of the day. It is definitely a worthwhile experience. It is not all fun and games, it is stressful at times but when you go through those stressful times you get to the end of it, you realize how exciting the experience really was.

What would you like the Canadian public to know about their Army?
There are a lot of real people. The Army is made up of a lot of real people.

Gray, Captain Sarah

Captain Sarah Gray, Armour Officer with The Halifax Rifles (RCAC), plans during Exercise STAGED RESPONSE in May 2017 in Truro, Nova Scotia. Photo: Warrant Officer Jerry Kean, 5th Canadian Division Headquarters. ©2017 DND/MDN Canada.

"I am currently the Course Officer for Development Period 1 Reconnaissance Crewman at 5th Canadian Division Training Centre. This course is challenging as it teaches young soldiers how to operate as a member of a crew, from shooting the C6 General Purpose Machine Gun to driving the LUVW [Light Utility Vehicle Wheeled] tactically. Teamwork and crew cohesion is an essential aspect of this course and will carry on in their careers as crewmen and women.

 The best advice I can give to any young person in Atlantic Canada, especially if they are going to school, is to consider the Army Reserve as an employment option. As a student, this was the best job I could have asked for. I have had full-time summer employment, great leadership and management training, benefits such as tuition reimbursement and a flexible schedule to attend classes. If I had to do it all over again I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Hometown: Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia

Years of Service: Four.

Home Unit: The Halifax Rifles (RCAC) (Royal Canadian Armoured Corp)

Who is your role model?
I have had several role models whom I looked up to throughout my career. The most recent one I have come to admire is Major (Retired) Sandra Perron, the first female infantry officer in Canada. Her story, to me, is a lesson in leadership – even when facing adversity or change, we must take care and look out for one another. She paved the road for women in the combat arms and I am grateful to learn from her experiences to become a better leader and soldier.

Previous Deployments:
None.

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I joined the Canadian Armed Forces, in particular the Primary Reserves with The Halifax Rifles (RCAC), because I was an Army Cadet for seven years and learned to love the military lifestyle. I am currently the Battle Captain for Reconnaissance Squadron where I plan training in garrison and in the field as well as take care of personnel administration.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division (5 Cdn Div)?
My favourite part about being in the Army in 5 Cdn Div is the challenging and diverse training we get to do. We will be receiving our new vehicle platform, the TAPV [Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle], sometime this year which will bring an exciting new challenge to the Armoured Reconnaissance Reserve regiments in Atlantic Canada. Being in the Canadian Army has also motivated me to take up graduate studies (Masters in Public Administration and Juris Doctor).

What is your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience has been attending the Worthington Challenge over the past 2 years. The first year Primary Reservists were invited to compete 5 Cdn Div won top LUVW crew in Canada. It was a rewarding experience watching our team work so hard and getting the credit they deserved.

Why have you stayed in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I have stayed in the CAF because I love my job and the work we get to do. There is always something new to learn and a new challenge to take on. I couldn’t have asked for a better part time job as I transition into going to Grad school in the fall.

Hirwa, Corporal Aime
Corporal Aime Hirwa

Corporal Aime Hirwa is a Rifleman with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Newfoundland Regiment. Photo: ©2018 DND/MDN Canada.

"One of the perks I personally cherish is doing training that I would normally pay to do, but instead, I get paid to do it."

Hometown: Born in Kigali, Rwanda, now calls St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador home

Years of Service: 4 years

Home Unit: 1st Battalion, The Royal Newfoundland Regiment

Who is your role model?
My role models would have to be my parents. My mom and dad are the hardest working people I know. They were not born in fortunate families, but they worked hard to make sure that my siblings and I have a comfortable life. They immigrated to make sure that our upbringing is better than theirs and we have access to great education and more opportunities than they did growing up. My parents taught me to be patient, and that you’re only as good as how hard you work at something.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
Being part of the Canadian Army has allowed me to have a lot of great experiences. I get to meet new people and travel all around Canada. I get to work in different atmospheres, which makes it exciting and engaging. One of the perks I personally cherish is doing training that I would normally pay to do, but instead, I get paid to do it. I also get to be part of something meaningful that is bigger than myself, where I feel a sense of belonging.

What is your most memorable experience?
There are lots of those, but the most recent would have to be, being selected to be part of the Ceremonial Guard in Ottawa this past summer.

Why you have stayed in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
I see my future in the Canadian Army. I’m currently studying psychology at Memorial University and hope to be able to pursue law, and become a legal officer in the Canadian Armed Forces.

What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History month means a lot to me because it educates younger generations on the history of the struggles that people of colour have had to face throughout the years. It also gives us an opportunity to look back and acknowledge the progress that has been achieved and evaluate what can be done to reach an even better society where we do not let our differences divide us.

Matheson, Sergeant Natalie

Sergeant Natalie Matheson, a Mobile Support Equipment Operator from 36 Service Battalion (Sydney Detachment) prepares a vehicle for a task on July 31, 2017 in Sydney, Nova Scotia. ©2017 DND/MDN Canada.

“There is never a shortage of learning in the CAF, that’s the best part. You’ll never have to become complacent with what you’re doing; because there is always another opportunity waiting for you, you just have to push yourself and you’ll achieve success.”

Hometown: Glace Bay, Nova Scotia

Years of Service: Ten

Home Unit: 36 Service Battalion (Sydney Detachment)

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I joined the CAF to give my life a change of pace and give myself more challenging experiences. I am a Mobile Support Equipment Operator and I’m currently an instructor at 5th Canadian Division Training Centre (Detachment Aldershot).

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
The best part of being a part of the Canadian Army is having the ability to improve myself both on a personal and professional level. I also have an excellent opportunity to train the fresh minds coming through my trade and to help improve them as soldiers and people in general. At the end of the day it’s a very rewarding feeling.

What is your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience, I would have to say there isn’t just one for me. Anything that involves hands-on training (especially in a field setting, taken from your daily routine, working with your platoon with a great level of morale) those are the best experiences for me.

Why you have stayed in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
It keeps me motivated to keep pushing farther for myself, the mentality and of course knowing that the unlimited amount of experiences you can gain is just an arm’s reach away.

Meikle, Sergeant Corey
Sergeant Corey Meikle of 3 Intelligence Company

Sergeant Corey Meikle of 3 Intelligence Company, Halifax, Nova Scotia. ©2017 DND/MDN.

“It’ll all work out… ”
This quote speaks to the tenacity and ingenuity of us Reservists in overcoming obstacles in creative ways to ensure that tasks are completed and the commander’s aim is met.

Hometown: Fall River, Nova Scotia

Years of Service: 12 years, 7 months

Home Unit: 3 Intelligence Company, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Who is your role model?
A series of fictional characters who exhibit the best traits of humanity relative to the environment they are in.

Deployments:
Operation LENTUS 17-1 IC Intelligence Support Team

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
At the time it was the best part-time employment option available, because of the diverse training opportunities and range of experiences that could be had. Part of me wanted to offer service to the country, and the reserves offered that.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
The work ethic: “Do your job, do it well, and carry on.”
The work environment: One that is professional and caring of the soldiers in it. Promotes professionalism overall and works to overcome individual deficiencies.

Why have you stayed in the Canadian Armed Forces?
Job security, pay and benefits. When the employment situation arises, the rewarding experience of instructing and training Intelligence Operators.

Moss, Corporal Jordan

Corporal Jordan Moss from 37 Service Battalion inspects a Light Over Snow Vehicle during Exercise NORTHERN SOJOURN, which occurred in Labrador from March 2 to 8, 2018. ©2018 DND/MDN Canada.

"The sky is the limit for opportunities."

Hometown:  St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Years of Service: 3 years of part-time service with the Army Reserve

Home Unit: 37 Service Battalion 

Role on Exercise NORTHERN SOJOURN: Light Over Snow Vehicle (Snowmobile) maintainer.

Civilian Job: Industrial Engineering Technology student at the College of the North Atlantic.

Who is your role model?
My grandfather, who was a Chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces in the 1950’s at Camp Aldershot in Nova Scotia. He always told me stories about being in the Army and I wanted to carry on the family tradition. That’s why I joined.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division? 
The best part about being in the Canadian Army is the people that we work with. During my career, I have met a variety of people from all different backgrounds and we got to share experiences from all different perspectives.

What is your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience in the Canadian Armed Forces was my training course at the Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers school where I got an excellent balance of technical knowledge and leadership experience. 

Why you have stayed in the CAF?  
Civilian employers really love seeing military experience on a resume because you stand out amongst other potential candidates. We get leadership experience and top notch training that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.

What message would like the Canadian public to know about the Canadian Army?
The sky is the limit for opportunities. You can go as far as you want and you can go anywhere you want to go. Just do it!

Murray, Master Corproral Jesse

Master Corporal Jesse Murray, a Combat Engineer from 4 Engineer Support Regiment, shows a new member how to detach the 25mm cannon from the turret. © 2017 DND/MDN

Watch your thoughts for they become words
Watch your words for they become actions
Watch your actions for they become habits
Watch your habits for they become character
Watch your character for it becomes destiny
- Lao-Tze

Hometown: Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia

Years of Service: 9 years

Home Unit: 4 Engineer Support Regiment, based in Oromocto, New Brunswick

Who is your role model?
My biggest role models would have to be my two grandfathers, the one on my father’s side who served in the First World War and was present at Vimy Ridge, and also my grandfather on my mother’s side who was in the Second World War and who took part in the liberation of Holland and many other great feats earning him an oak leaf. Also I would like to mention my uncle who served from 1959 to 1985 with the Airborne Regiment serving in Cypress and many other locations during his time.

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I joined the CAF to make a difference in this world and country, fight an enemy that destroys ways of life at home and outside this great country. I am a Combat Engineer who loves to share his knowledge and better the next generation of soldiers.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
The best part about being in the Canadian Army is being part of a military that is known for greatness in the battlefield and has earned respect around the world. Being a part of 5th Canadian Division is rewarding because we support the whole division and have plenty of opportunity to pass on great leadership principals and truly affect the younger generation of soldiers in a positive way.

What is your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience in 5th Canadian Division was being a part of Phase 4 2014 training and actually influencing young officers in complex engineering tasks and passing on excellent leadership principles that I know they won’t forget.

Why you have stayed in the CAF?
I love my country and the people I work with and for. My son lives in Canada and what better person to protect his way of life then his dedicated father?

What message would like the Canadian public to know about the Canadian Army? 
We are here for you and will sacrifice ourselves and our comforts to protect yours. We love our country and the people in it. It’s not about payment, it’s about deeds and pushing through challenges.

Odartey-Wellington, Captain Felix

Captain Felix Odartey-Wellington, Public Affairs Officer for 36 Canadian Brigade Group rappels from a tower on September 13, 2017 at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown in New Brunswick during a training exercise.‎ Photo: Tammy Williams

"There are so many opportunities in the Canadian Armed Forces. Explore and find your own path to a fulfilling career."

Hometown: Sydney, Nova Scotia

Years of Service: 7

Home Unit: 36 Canadian Brigade Group Headquarters, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Who is your role model?
My father, Major-General Neville Alexander Odartey-Wellington (Ghana Armed Forces).

Deployments:
Exercise TRADEWINDS 2016, Jamaica

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I’m a Public Affairs Officer (PAO). I joined because I grew up in an Army environment in which the Canadian Armed Forces is highly regarded. It made sense to join the CAF when I immigrated to Canada from Ghana.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
Great training opportunities, great comrades, great seeing what the exciting things that the various trades do in my role as a PAO.

What is your most memorable experience?
Graduating from the rigorous Reserve Basic Public Affairs Officers course.

Why you have stayed in the CAF?
The Reserve Force alternative in the CAF allows me to pursue my passion for military life while actively handling my responsibilities and interests as a Communication professor at Cape Breton University. My experience as a PAO makes it possible for me to bring real-world communication experience to the classroom. 

Omari, Captain Sasha
Captain Sasha Omari

Captain Sasha Omari of 84th Independent Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on March 5, 2018. Photo: ©2018 DND/MDN Canada.

"You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building one another up, instead of tearing each other down.
-Anonymous"

Hometown: Fredericton, New Brunswick

Years of Service: 10 years

Home Unit: 84th Independent Field Battery, Royal Canadian Artillery

Who is your role model?
My mother. Although she recently passed, she was a very strong and independent woman who overcame so many obstacles throughout her life and had such an optimistic and contagiously humorous personality. I was beyond fortunate to have her in my life.

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
During my last year of university, I really wanted a career that would challenge me in every way possible. I decided that joining the CAF would be my best career choice and I joined just a few months post-graduation. I joined as an Artillery Officer and I am currently employed as the Battery Captain of 84th Independent Field Battery.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
The best part about being in the CAF is the relationships that you build with others and most importantly, the teamwork. The 5th Canadian Division has excellent soldiers and leadership, which has created an undeniable sense of comradery, loyalty and integrity throughout the Atlantic Region.

What is your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience was when I completed the Battle Fitness Test with an injured leg during Basic Training. Finding the inner strength and determination to complete the test is something I occasionally look back on and think, “wow, that was so painful, yet I found the strength to finish.” Having my course mates and course staff proud of me for finishing was such a proud and uplifting moment.

Why you have stayed in the CAF?
I have stayed in the CAF because I feel like I’m part of the team. A team needs to be very dynamic and requires many diverse qualities to function efficiently and effectively. I personally love the feeling of contributing to the overall success of my team.

What message would like the Canadian public to know about the CAF?
I would like the Canadian public to understand that the CAF is a diverse and distinguished organization that strives to not only fulfill the requirements for operational tasks but to also meet the needs of the soldiers and strongly supports the welfare and morale of CAF members abroad.

Piercey, Corporal Devon

Corporal Devon Piercey of 2nd Battalion, Royal Newfoundland Regiment

"Always strive to be better than the best."

Hometown:  Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland

Years of Service: 2.5 years

Home Unit:  2nd Battalion, Royal Newfoundland Regiment

Who is your role model?
Corporal Brian Pinksen. He was the first soldier of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment killed in action since the end of the First World War and he gives me the motivation to train to be the best every day. He made the ultimate sacrifice to protect Canada and he will never be forgotten.

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canandian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I joined to serve and protect the country and the people. I know while I make sacrifices, people at home will be safe from all the dangers in the world.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
The adventure and ability to learn new skills that I can pass on to new recruits.

What is your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience is a night shoot during my Infantry Weapons Detachment course. It was an amazing display of destructive power by the C6 Machine Gun in the sustained firing role.

Why you have stayed in the CAF?
The constant ability to travel all over Eastern Canada and meet new and exciting people.

What message would like the Canadian public to know about the Canadian Army?
The Canadian Armed Forces is hard work and can be dangerous but it is the best opportunity to have an exciting and rewarding career, one in which you feel like a part of something bigger than yourself.

Portilla-Villalon, Second Lieutenant Mayte

Second Lieutenant Mayte Portilla-Villalon, Armour Officer with the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s). Photo: 5th Canadian Division. ©2018 DND/MDN Canada.

"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking."
Gen. George S. Patton

Hometown:  Moncton, New Brunwick

Years of Service: 3 years

Home Unit:  8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s)

Who is your role model?
One person that I admire is Major (Ret’d) Sandra Perron, who became the first female Infantry Officer in the Canadian Army.

I also look up to the Veterans I volunteer with in the area.

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canandian Armed Forces (CAF)?
Volunteering with the Canadian Army Veteran Motorcycle Unit Dunkirk gave me the opportunity to meet many Veterans from the area.

Listening to their stories about their training and operations really made me interested in the CAF. After doing some research and learning about the Primary Reserve, I knew this was the best opportunity for me as I was still attending university at the time.

I joined the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s), an Armour Reconnaissance Unit in Moncton, in 2015 and have been an Armour Officer there since then.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
The best part about being a member of the Canadian Army and the 5th Canadian Division is the job security. More importantly, meeting people from all kinds of backgrounds and with different perspectives, but working together for a common goal. It can be a very rewarding aspect of the job.

What is your most memorable experience?
Definitely one of the best experiences that I’ve had so far was meeting Major (Ret’d) Sandra Perron during the annual Defence Women’s Advisory Organization meeting in 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown.

Why you have stayed in the CAF?
I have stayed because I really enjoy working in a challenging environment that encourages you to learn and better yourself on every course, exercise and operation.

 Putting together a plan and then seeing your team executing the mission successfully is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had and is definitely what pushes me to continue my career in the CAF.

What message would like the Canadian public to know about the Canadian Army?
When the general public thinks about the Army, they tend to visualize scenes from the war movies. There is that, of course, but the Army is also so much more. There are so many possibilities and career paths from the infantry soldier, to the Intelligence Officer, or the cook; I think that most people don’t realize this.

 A career in the Forces is an incredible opportunity for anyone, whether full-time or part-time. You have good benefits, as well as a sense of pride, which you can’t get from other jobs.

Ross, Sergeant Ian James Taylor

Sergeant Ian Ross (left), an armoured reconnaissance patrol commander from the Prince Edward Island Regiment identifies targets for artillery fire during Exercise STRIDENT TRACER 2017, a large Army reserve combat training exercise held at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown from August 18 to 27, 2017.

"Come prepared, come fit, hit the ground running and don't stop until the job is done."

Hometown: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (Downtown)

Years of Service: 7 years

Home Unit: Prince Edward Island Regiment

Who is your role model?
My brother, who is currently serving with the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, because he served in Afghanistan and encountered a lot of challenges during and after his deployment. Despite all these challenges, he persevered, was promoted to the rank of Major and has held some very respectable commands over the years.

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I originally joined the CAF based on the mentorship that my brother provided me and I chose to stay in because of the friends that I have made over the years and the influences that they have had on me.

I am an armoured reconnaissance patrol commander. In combat operations, armoured reconnaissance soldiers operate in front of the brigade they support, often times in enemy territory where they tactically observe and gather information about the enemy that is useful to the Commander when planning for potential battle. My role puts me in charge of a patrol (two  vehicles) and I am responsible for coordinating their tactical and administrative movements.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
The Army becomes a second family to you which includes all of the good and the bad parts of being a family and regardless, we stay together through thick and thin.

What is your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience is when I deployed by UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to do a long range patrol in Fort Pickett, Virginia on an exercise.

Why you have stayed in the CAF?
The CAF provides a great atmosphere and positive influences for personal development.

What would you say to someone that is considering a career in the CAF?
Come prepared, come fit, hit the ground running and don't stop until the job is done.

What do you want the Canadian public to know about their Army?
The Canadian Army hands down provides the best training that you will find anywhere else in the world. We get better training than any other military in the world.

Safire, Second Lieutenant MacKenzie

Second Lieutenant MacKenzie Safire from 36 Combat Engineer Regiment in Shearwater, Nova Scotia. Photo: ©2016 DND/MDN Canada.

"The skills you will learn, experiences you will have and the relationships you will build are unlike any other part-time job I know. No matter what your interest is in, there is a place for you in the Army Reserve. Just give it a try!"

Hometown: My hometown is East Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia

Years of Service: I’ve been a member of the Army Reserve for three years.

Home Unit: I am currently serving with 36 Combat Engineer Regiment (20 Engineer Squadron) in Shearwater, Nova Scotia.

Who is your role model?
It is hard to name just one; I have many role models. Each has qualities that I look up to, from personal role models, such as my parents who have taught me the value of hard work, perseverance and compassion, to influential school teachers who have shown me examples of leadership, dedication and pursuing excellence.

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I joined the CAF because I wanted a job that would afford me the opportunity to be challenged and be able to participate in domestic and international missions, of which I hope to participate in the future.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division (5 Cdn Div)?
I believe the best part about being in the Canadian Army is the exciting nature of the job. I feel as though I’m always learning new skills and am involved in a dynamic work environment. I believe the best part about being in 5 Cdn Div is that I get to stay on the East Coast. I’ve lived in Nova Scotia for my whole life and consider myself lucky to live and work in such a beautiful region of Canada.

What is your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience thus far is Remembrance Day. Although I have always participated in Remembrance Day commemorations and ceremonies, now that I am a member of the CAF, it means much more to me to participate.

Why you have stayed in the CAF?
I have stayed in the CAF because I enjoy the continual learning associated with training and the challenging dynamic work environment.

Is there a Black Canadian from any point in history who has inspired you?
One Black Canadian that stands out as an inspiration to me is Viola Desmond. Viola Desmond’s actions to refuse to sit on the balcony of a movie theatre in New Glasgow and instead sit on the main floor, which was for ‘whites only’, challenged the racial discrimination and segregation that was still very present in Canadian society.

She displayed great courage and strength by standing up for what she believed was right. She was an exceptionally strong woman and a civil-rights pioneer in Canada. Her actions and courage are an inspiration to me.

Do you have family members who serve/have served? If so, did they influence your decision to join the CAF and how?
My uncle Sergeant Phillip Safire has served in the CAF for many years. Although he did not play a direct role in influencing my decision to join the CAF, I do feel that seeing a family member being a member of the CAF made me think actively about joining the CAF.

Why do you feel Black History Month is important to observe in Canada?
Personally, growing up in a biracial family, Black History Month was always observed. We used this period as a time for learning about the past, celebrating accomplishments and discussing goals for the future of equality in our society.

Today, I believe that Black History Month is important to observe in Canada because it is important to remember that for many years people were treated differently and discriminated against because of the colour of their skin.

I believe it’s important to observe Black History Month so that the sacrifices made, injustices experienced and adversity that people had to overcome to earn and exercise their basic human rights are not forgotten.

We have come very far towards creating a more equal and accepting society in Canada, but it is still important to remember that the work is not complete. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination still exist and by reflecting on the past as we do in Black History Month it serves as a reminder to not repeat that past again.

Tell, Master Corporal Remo

Photo: ©2017 DND-MDN, Canada

"In the CAF, no two days are the same, there is always something that challenges you as a soldier and you work anywhere in the world with fellow Canadians and people from different countries around  the world."

Hometown: Sydney, Nova Scotia

Years of Service: 11

Home Unit: The Cape Breton Highlanders

Previous Deployments:
Afghanistan 2010 Op Athena

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I was always interested in the Army and I was looking for a career that would challenge my abilities, physically and mentally.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
As a reservist, I get to pursue two really cool careers: an Infantry Section Commander with the Cape Breton Highlanders and a nurse at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital. The CAF education reimbursement program also helped cover my tuition in university. As well, I can train as a reservist while attending university in my community. The CAF has given me many qualities and experiences that civilian employers are looking for.

What is your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience is deploying to Afghanistan and working with people from different cultural backgrounds.

Why you have stayed in the CAF?
I continue to serve in the CAF because I like the camaraderie and want to continue to serve my country.

Walcott, Sergeant Melissa

Sergeant Melissa Walcott at the Canada Army Run in Ottawa, Ontario on September 20, 2015. Photo: Zoomphoto.ca

“The military is a great career that includes benefits, stable pay, family support, education and experiences like no other. There truly is something for everyone!”

Hometown: Pugwash, Nova Scotia

Years of Service: 20 years (6 reserve, 14 regular force)

Home Unit: 5 Canadian Division - Headquarters

Who is your role model?
From a professional side, Lieutenant-Colonel Eleanor Taylor. As a previous Officer Commanding of 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, she showed me how to earn respect, maintain confidence and lead effectively. LCol Taylor is strong, courageous, kind and fair. I was honored to have worked under her command in 2009 and am happy to be part of the Division Headquarters with her currently.

From a personal side, my kids, husband and family are what keep me going. They show me every day that life is worth living, how to enjoy it and that when things are difficult, you still have to keep going. They are what keep me healthy and strong.

Previous Deployments:
Afghanistan 2007

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I was looking for a challenging job. With the military, I was able to get an education while being employed to serve our country. Currently I am an Army Communications and Information Systems Specialist, but I started my career in the Reserve as an Infantry Soldier and a Medical Technician.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
The people. Some of my truest friends, support system and role models have been those I have met in the military.

What is your most memorable experience?
Being selected by the Commander of the Canadian Army to be an honoured guest for the Army Run 2016. Having the support of my Chain of Command and being recognized for something I worked and trained hard for was really an amazing experience.

Why you have stayed in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
The experiences and opportunities. I have had many firsts while being in the military and there are so many things I would have never done in the civilian world.

Wheeler, Captain Robert

Captain Robert Wheeler gives a tour of the 5th Canadian Division Training Centre to members of the Canadian Women’s National Hockey Team at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown in Oromocto, New Brunswick on June 11, 2017. Photo: ©2017 DND/MDN Canada.

“There is truly no life like it. The opportunities are endless and the skills I have learned are plentiful and a positive influence to any employer.”

Hometown: Meadows, Corner Brook, Newfoundland

Years of Service: 36

Home Unit: 2 Battalion Royal Newfoundland Regiment

Who is your role model?
Gen (Retired) Rick Hillier, another proud and successful Newfoundlander.

Previous Deployments:
Operation ATHENA Roto 3, Kandahar in 2007

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I wanted to be a team player with something bigger and the reserves was a perfect fit.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
In the beginning it was a part-time activity and it quickly became my focus which eventually led to some very interesting training opportunities that have created many fond experiences and great friends.

What is your most memorable experience?
NATO tour in Afghanistan, 2007 was a life changing experience. It was very humbling and rewarding to be a part Task Force 107, Operation Athena.

Why you have stayed in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
The Army Reserves has been very rewarding to me and all the skills I have learned I want to give back to the next generation of young soldiers.

White, Corporal Renée Marie

Corporal Renée Marie White in training on June 2015 in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Photo: provided by Corporal Renée Marie White.

"Examine your current situation: if you’re making more than $25 an hour in an exciting and dynamic job, and have more than 4 weeks paid leave with full medical, dental and a great pension then keep doing what you are doing."

Hometown: North Bay Ontario and currently Halifax

Years of Service: 6

Home Unit: 36 Combat Engineer Regiment, Sydney, Nova Scotia

Who is your role model?
Sergeant Wendy Melee. Sgt Melee has been a positive role model to me because she has not only provided me with training, but she has been instrumental by helping me through some difficult times. She has given me the best advice and encouragement. When she says “you’re the bomb!”, it always makes me feel better.

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I’m a Clerk in 36 Combat Engineer Regiment. I joined for stability, great benefits and pay, and excellent training.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
Pay, benefits, and training opportunities that give you highly sought-after skills in the civilian workplace such as team work, leadership, self-motivation and attention to detail.

What is your most memorable experience?
Always Remembrance Day.

Why you have stayed in the CAF?
I found the CAF fulfilled the motivations that drew me to join in the first place. There has also been great friendships, as well as a culture that values fitness and a healthy lifestyle.

Williamson, Lieutenant-Commander Kelly
Lieutenant-Commander Kelly Williamson

Lieutenant-Commander Kelly Williamson, Senior Public Affairs Officer, 5th Canadian Division Headquarters during her deployment to Operation RENAISSANCE in Nepal in 2015. Photo: ©2017 DND/MDN, Canada.

"Always be yourself … but take risks, be brave and never be afraid to make mistakes. We often learn more from failure than we do from success and adversity should motivate and encourage people to find creative ways to get the job done."

Hometown: St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Years of Service: A lot…trust me…ok: 21

Home Unit: 5th Canadian Division Headquarters

Who is your role model?
Besides my parents for obvious reasons …
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She was one of the longest-serving British Prime Ministers of the 20th century and nicknamed the Iron Lady for her uncompromising principles and leadership style; and Vice-Admiral (Retired) Nora Tyson of the United States Navy. I had the honour and pleasure to support Vice-Admiral Tyson during Exercise RIMPAC [Rim of the Pacific] 2016. It was an inspiration to learn from her and watch her effectively lead a combined, multinational coalition with partners from more than 26 nations.

Previous Deployments: 
Ex RIMPAC 2004 & 2006 Afloat; Operation HESTIA (Haiti) 2010; Operation ATHENA (Afghanistan) 2011; Operation NANOOK 2012 (Churchill, Manitoba); Operation RENAISSANCE (Nepal) 2015; Ex RIMPAC 2016 as Coalition Staff; NEPTUNE TRIDENT 2017-1 (West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea).

Why did you join and what do you do in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)?
I joined the Canadian Armed Forces because I am a patriot. I initially served in the Royal Canadian Navy as a Maritime Surface Warfare Officer. I sailed in Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Algonquin where I earned my Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate and Naval Officer Professional Qualification. I then sailed in HMCS Vancouver where I served as the Above Water Warfare Director but I always had a passion for people and storytelling and had always wanted to serve as a Public Affairs Officer.  In 2009, after spending time as the Flag Lieutenant to the Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific, I transferred into the Public Affairs Branch. I have been a Public Affairs Officer since 2009, and now work with diverse teams to effectively communicate with Canadian and International audiences about the Canadian Armed Forces.

What is the best part about being in the Canadian Army / 5th Canadian Division?
Being part of a mission-focused team of consummate professionals.

What is your most memorable experience?
There are so many incredible experiences, it’s hard to choose just one. In 2010, my deployment to Haiti taught me to be resourceful and to find ways to get the job done under very austere conditions. During my deployment to Nepal, I worked with an incredible team of soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen, and civilian partners and witnessed the strength and resiliency of the human spirit. We were in Nepal to provide relief from a major earthquake and found ourselves caught in a major 7.8 aftershock two weeks later.

Finally, the capacity building, community engagement and outreach we undertook in West Africa as part of NEPTUNE TRIDENT 2017-1 can only be described as spiritually rewarding. It was inspirational to meet with people throughout West Africa and in particular in Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast working to make their countries a better place. These deployments taught me to be grateful for everything we enjoy and sometimes take for granted as Canadians, and to work to leave the world a better place, one person at a time.

Why you have stayed in the CAF?
The people, the challenge and the satisfaction of serving Canadians.

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