Training to make a difference

Article / April 12, 2016 / Project number: 15-0158

This is one of an ongoing series of first-person articles written by Reservists about their training in the Canadian Army.

Gagetown, New Brunswick — The thick brush, sweltering heat and ravenous mosquitoes are a far cry from the air-conditioned environment of my bank job. So, too, is the C7 rifle cradled in my arms as my section makes its way on a navigation exercise in the field.

Welcome to my world as a candidate on the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) course, which I took from June 30 to July 29, 2015 at 5th Canadian Division Support Base (5 CDSB) in Gagetown, New Brunswick. I am a member of 1st (Halifax-Dartmouth) Field Artillery Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery.

I have always been driven to help others and to make a difference. When I learned what the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF’s) Reserve Force had to offer, I was smitten. For my military occupation, I chose to become a Resource Management Support clerk because that complements my career in the banking industry.

I reported for training at 5 CDSB with a mixture of excitement and apprehension, not knowing what was going to happen, and that feeling never left because each day brought up something new.

The most important aspects of the course were the various drills, which helped incite discipline and teamwork. There were drills for making your bed, drills for physical training, drills for parade and drills for weapons handling. Being a mom of two, I’d like to believe I have self-discipline, which I did have to some degree before training, but not as much as I do now.

Despite being the oldest of 51 candidates, the challenges we faced eliminated personal differences and forged strong bonds between us. For example, the week on the navigation exercise, each person got to lead a team from one location to the other using a map and compass, and relying on another team member to track distances covered. It was hard enough to do this in the daytime through swamps and harsh terrain. It was even more challenging to do it at night, with no light.

After this course, I plan to continue on my journey in the CAF by taking another course: the Basic Military Qualification (Land) in St. John’s, Newfoundland in the summer of 2016. This course will help me develop the skills required for all Canadian Army personnel, regardless of trade. I am looking forward to this new experience and I am ready for whatever is thrown my way because of all I have learned so far.

I can confidently say it takes discipline, courage and determination not to give up. I am a much stronger person now that I’ve had this experience and can work with my head held high knowing that I came and conquered one of the biggest and most rewarding obstacles of my life. I am ready to make a difference.

By Private Jennifer Hynes, 1st (Halifax-Dartmouth) Field Artillery Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery  

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