Supply Technicians in short supply: Corporal Kory Fraser on why it’s a great job

Article / July 27, 2018 / Project number: 18-0025

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By Michelle Savage, Army Public Affairs

Edmonton, Alberta — Always “magically getting things,” Supply Technicians are the logistical wizards of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

Supply Technician Corporal Kory Fraser says that many in his field become so familiar with the trade that they can procure things with uncanny speed. Efficiency is an important characteristic of this occupation. “Every logistic and maintenance trade plays a part in keeping the unit running like a well-oiled machine and that is how we do our part,” said Cpl Fraser.

Cpl Fraser is a Supply Technician with 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

Supply Technicians are responsible for ensuring that all three elements of the CAF are fully supplied. Supply Technicians order, deliver and keep track of a vast inventory of CAF items – everything from the uniforms the Army, Navy and Air Force members wear, to the weapons they use, to the fuel for the vehicles they drive. Supply Technicians are an essential part of every operation and exercise.

Like many of today’s young people, Cpl Fraser was unsure of what career to pursue. It was not long before he realized that a career with the CAF gave him a sense of pride and purpose that he could not find elsewhere.

A self-proclaimed “base brat,” Cpl Fraser, who was born in Belleville, Ontario, frequently moved as a young child before his military parents retired when he was 11. He spent the majority of his childhood in Westlock County, Alberta. When he was 19, he joined the Canadian Army as an Armoured Crewman.

Two years later in 2011, he left the Army in pursuit of a well-paying job in the oil fields of Alberta. While the money was good, the job left him wanting more and he made the decision to return to the Army – this time as a Supply Technician.

“I made good money in the oil fields and saved lots due to the oil camp life, but I dreaded going back to work every time after my weeks off and soon realized I had actually liked the military way better. I felt pride once again when I sent off my resume to rejoin when I was 25,” Cpl Fraser said. “I could care less about the money. Being happy with what you do is more important to me.”

As for his decision to become a Supply Technician, Cpl Fraser followed in the footsteps of his parents, who were both in the logistics trade in the CAF. “I actually listened to them the second time around,” he said with humour. His father, Sergeant (Retired) Stephen Fraser, was a Cook with the CAF for 21 years.

His mother, Sergeant (Retired) Gayle Fraser, worked as a Supply Technician, a Communications and Electronics Technician and a Resource Management Support Clerk and her 27 years of career knowledge has proved useful to her son.  “I had a walking textbook to answer some of my questions, although a lot has changed in the trade since she was a Supply Tech.”

This diverse trade is always looking for new recruits. Cpl Fraser believes that one of the reasons why the trade is in demand is because people have a misconceived notion of what Supply Technicians do. “I notice that when lots of people hear Supply Tech they assume we just stay on base and issue clothing and rations to people, when in fact that is only a fraction of what we do both at home and abroad.”

“When we are in the field on exercise, we get challenged because they prepare us for the possibility of having to do our jobs with limited supplies and we’re trained for the possibility of taking over a combat role while being a Supply Tech at the same time,” said Cpl Fraser.

Learning never ends for Supply Technicians and they are given the opportunity to take courses throughout their careers.  “We also receive various vehicle qualifications and even weapons qualifications. We are also trained in Convoy Operations which teaches us proper and safe procedures, as well as engagement procedures, when transporting supplies through potentially hostile environments.”

There are diverse jobs for which Supply Technicians can train, such as providing the vital service of packing parachutes for CAF parachute companies as well as for The SkyHawks, the CA’s elite parachute demonstration team. Known as parachute riggers, each rigger must jump with a parachute that they have packed themselves as part of their training.

Cpl Fraser believes that strong organizational skills and a sense of responsibility are important qualities that a Supply Technician must possess. “You could potentially be working with weapons and other expensive items,” he notes. He also believes that a strong work ethic is valuable because of the fast work-pace those in logistics often face.

Quick facts about becoming a Supply Technician in the Canadian Armed Forces:

  • Recruits who wish to become Supply Technicians must have at least completed Grade 10 or an accepted alternative.
  • Supply Technicians begin by honing their core skills with 15 weeks of Basic Training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.
  • Supply Technicians must then attend the Canadian Forces School of Administration and Logistics in Borden, Ontario for 60 to 70 days. There, they cover topics such as Supply Operations, Military Correspondence and Loan Procedures.
  • Supply Technicians then hone their skills until they prove themselves deserving of Specialty or Advanced Training.
  • Specialty Training comes in the form of on-the-job training and formal courses on subjects such as Control of Hazardous Material, Special Packaging and Instructional Techniques.
  • Advanced Training includes courses on Military Contracts, Material Management and Internal Audit Procedures.

Learning to drive supply-related vehicles, the satisfaction gained from organizing chaos and starting each day with purpose are some of the elements that Cpl Fraser likes about the world of supply. He also takes pride in helping out his fellow soldiers.

“I enjoy working with other supply techs from other units,” he said.  “And I enjoy the pat on the back and thank-you that comes with being able to issue something to someone who has a high need for it.”

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