Army life perks: the Canadian way

When one contemplates enlisting in the military, it usually brings on ideas of blood and death, but that’s not all there is to the Canadian Armed Forces. An education or career with the military can hold countless benefits and opportunity for advancement physically, mentally and financially.

A rich heritage and unique training style sets the Canadian Forces apart from other countries in terms of the sense of citizenship and honour we instill in our soldiers. As retired MWO Leon Chamois states,  Canadians don’t boast a “flag waving, chest thumping,” sense of national pride. Where the United States like to voice they are the best country in the world, Canadians don’t share those attitudes.

“We know we are the best country in the world, but we don’t advertise it,” said Chamois.

Currently the curator of The Military Heritage Museum of the Three United Counties in Cornwall Ont., Chamois has served in the reserve and regular force corps in varying ways and positions since he joined at 17, over 30 years ago.

According to him, the Canadian military serves the nation and the body politic rather than controls it. In some countries, the military controls the politics and if they deem necessary, takes it over and reforms it in some cases. This creates armies that command control from anyone, wherever they go.

“We don’t do that, we don’t see civilians that way. We are there to help them,” said Chamois.

For that reason, Canadian soldiers on humanitarian and peacekeeping missions, like NATO or the UN for example, tend to interact better with the locals than soldiers from other countries.

Key traits taught by the forces are teamwork and camaraderie. When you spend a few years with a group of soldiers or in a military community, trusting bonds are forged that last a lifetime.

As a military wife, Natasha Woodford claims that “If you live on base, it’s usually easy to meet others who understand what it’s like and there are programs for kids and families too.”

Her husband Cpl. Kyle Woodford RCAF, can’t help but agree.

“Constant personal development and opportunities to experience other cultures,” he said, are some of the perks to his military career.

A career in the military can be a lot of things to a lot of people and, while a difficult decision to make, many who have experienced it would recommend it to anybody. It provides opportunity for constant learning and financial security while giving you chances to see parts of the world that you probably could never afford to travel to.

“See it as an adventure and profit from the experience, enjoy the experience and be realistic about the experience,” said Chamois.