Canadian Army provides focus for female Artillery Soldier

Article / March 5, 2014 / Project number: 14-0014

In honour of International Women’s Day on Saturday, March 8, we will be publishing one profile a day from March 3rd to 7th to celebrate the dynamic, skilled, community-minded and accomplished women of the Canadian Army.

Kabul, Afghanistan— Joining the Canadian Army gave Captain Anne Pham the direction she needed.

“It gave me focus and drove everything,” said Capt Pham.

She was taking a variety of classes at the University Manitoba and didn’t know what to focus her attention and energy on. In 2006, while still a student, she joined the reserves to help pay for her studies, and discovered that a military career suited her.

Though trained as an artillery soldier, she is working out of trade as a Task Force Staff Information Management Officer in Kabul, Afghanistan.

I manage all the information in theatre: network and paper information. I oversee the repatriation project. Canadian soldiers have been stationed in Kabul since 2011, all information generated on computers, papers and servers needs to be accessed and documented for historical and archiving purposes,” Capt Pham explains.

Afghanistan is the hot thing of our military generation. I am happy I got my chance; I caught it just in a nick of time. I feel good, I feel fulfilled that I was able to contribute. ” 

When not on overseas deployments Capt Pham serves in Shilo, Manitoba with the 1st Royal Canadian Horse Artillery.

She grew up in the communities of St Lezare and Winnipeg, Manitoba where much of her family still lives so she is happy to be only a few hours away from them.

When she joined the military, she says she would have described herself as naïve and very open minded at the same time.  She has grown through her seven years of service.

Professionally, I learned a lot of management and leadership skills. What I knew, those skills became refined. I am more comfortable and more natural. I realized a lot of potential I never thought I had,” said Capt Pham.

Capt Pham eventually continued her university studies and is currently one year away from completing a Bachelor of Environmental Sciences.

She describes the Canadian Army as very modern in the sense that women have been in combat arms roles such as artillery since the 1980s. Her camp in Afghanistan is a very heavily American camp.

It’s still so new to them that women can apply to anything. It is huge surprise, a shocker, like they don’t understand it, don’t get it yet,” describes Capt Pham as the reaction some American soldiers have when they find out her trade.

Many militaries all over the world are considering allowing women to apply to all occupations, but she describes it as a social and societal disparity not just a military decision.

Women in the Canadian Army are still a minority in combat arms trades such as armour, artillery, infantry and engineers, making up just 2.4% of the regular force and 5.6% of the primary Reserve.

For any girls or women considering a future in the military Capt Pham  suggests not getting in the bad habit of doubting and setting limits for themselves.

Push yourself in unknown territories, you will learn how much further they are than you thought.  Never stop testing your limits, be smart about it and once you realise your limits respect them. Never doubt yourself.” 

By Samantha Bayard, Army Public Affairs

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