Karine Chayer: RMC, a life of home and military
OCdt Eliza Bruce, 27472 (IV), CWBO, e-Veritas correspondent
- What is your fondest memory from your days in the military college?
“I will never forget my summer of Second Language Training at Royal Roads, 9-2 o’clock every day in Victoria was a great time. My friends and I took part in triathlon training for fun, and I took sailing lessons at RRMC because there was a lagoon available to us on the site. Also my summer in Moose Jaw stands out, and really surpassed my expectations with the exposure to Air Force shows and operations. All 5 years at the college were the best ones of my life, and you might not realize while you’re in it just what a great chance it is to live the college life with all its opportunities and privileges.”
- What was your area of study/trade/involvement/bar positions/squadron?
“My student number is 19619, and I started out in the Forces as a pilot in engineering, but I soon VOT’d to MP in the Air Force, then transferred to Army to increase my chances of being posted with Sébastien, so we were married right after grad. I started out in 1 Squadron Vaudreuil, did my BMOQ in Chilliwack, lived in the Mega for 2 years during renos at CMR and was a CSC, and moved back to the college and carried the positions of DCWC and CWC. My grad parade in 1995 was the last one before the college was closed, so it was a mixed feelings ceremony. I spent 3 years on the water polo rep team and competed against other colleges. After that, since I had my black belt I joined the Tae Kwon Do rep team at the college and then CISM team. I had the chance to travel around the world to participate at World Military games and international competitions.”
- How did your career develop after graduation?
“I did my basic military police officer course in Borden and after that I spent few years in Valcartier with the 5 PPM where I had my 2 boys. We were posted to Borden and I came back to the MP school as an instructor for 2 years. After I had Roxanne, it was hard to be in the military and get posted in the same place as my husband, so I joined the MP Reserve company in Quebec for few years, had my fourth child, and finally retired from the Forces when we moved to Gatineau since I was busy with family. When my children attended an English elementary school with immersion, where I volunteered, the principle suggested I take up teaching, so I did some substitute and supply contracts. It was wonderful working in the same school my kids attended and the part-time really worked out since that was when Sébastien was away from home often. I really enjoyed being involved as a supply teacher in an elementary school for the last 10 years.”
- What is your personal goal in your current position accompanying BGen Bouchard to this posting?
“When Sébastien got the offer to come here, we were so glad to have the opportunity. We understand the military college language so we saw this chance to be involved at RMC with the eyes of parents also, with him as a leader, me as a ‘mom’ figure. It is all about the interests of the cadets, and we don’t see this as just a business, but as daily interactions that require emotion, hard decisions, and we always act as a team. During our stay in Aylmer for 10 years he was only really home for about 5, so now is the time to enjoy being together here. Everything in his career is about team commitment between us, and we want to be part of all the life at RMC.”
- Seeing a full house at the Commandant’s residence is new for many of us—what is it like having your entire family living here with you at the college environment like?
“We really appreciate living under the same roof right now, and cherish every single day, interacting in the mornings, sharing our moments. The past separations and responsibilities have made it all the more meaningful, and we want to show the college that we’re not special, just normal and authentic people. We do not forget where we come from, and we want to try our best to help things continue to improve.”
- Since you’re very busy days since arrival, what are your current observations of the RMC atmosphere and student body?
“It is important to myself and Sébastien to be present; that is the only real way to get at the pulse of a people. We go for walks in shacks and around campus all the time not to find things wrong, but just to be available to talk and listen. When we open ourselves up to such occasions, we learn from the cadets. By going to the CDH, showing up to clubs and sports practices, etc., we can have informal discussions that would not be possible otherwise. Making sure the cadets realize we’re accessible is vital to the success of our working relationship.”
- What are the next landmarks you look forward to the most in the near future?
“Just to be involved in the ordinary ‘day in the life’ of the students here, to never refuse an invite, and not close any doors. I anticipate just being there to talk, receive opinions, and to be a normal part of college life. We are very proud to be part of RMC, and we believe in the system it represents and operates, and we want to make it better so the Officer Cadets believe in it too.”
- Do you have a piece of advice or personal maxim to share with the Officer Cadets?
“Enjoy and take on all the opportunities the college will offer you. Everything is there, but you are the one responsible to grab hold of them. Trying doesn’t cost that much.”