24175 Lieutenant (Navy) Natalie Mailhot-Montgrain, Class of ‘09, majored in Electrical Engineering
Varsity Fencer, Kingston sushi connoisseur
(Another in a series of articles coordinated by 26659 Danielle Andela – e-Veritas Sr. Correspondent)
Graduating as a Naval Technical Officer (the term used for Combat Systems Engineering Officer and Marine System Engineering Officer), I did the usual route of training ashore at CFNES in Halifax, was swept away for my next training phase on board HMCS CALGARY to get my BMOQ on the other side of the country (phase 6 as we call it). Wherever the ship goes, you go, learning how the ship’s engineering plant works in real time. In 2011, I had my first ever non-training posting; ensuring technical policies were abided and selected as a representative of the West Coast fleet for various conferences and expos in Canada. I deployed a few times with HMCS OTTAWA on anti-narcotic missions in the eastern Pacific Ocean and was heavily involved in HMCS WINNIPEG’s post FELEX reactivation (the 80’s technology upgrade for our HALIFAX Class Ships). Since spring 2014, I have been the Deputy Marine Systems Engineering Officer at the Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton. To put it simply, my job is all about management regarding marine engineering and personnel.
All the time I spent with great friends whether in class, at fencing, in the mess, just around the campus, downtown, wherever. Even when there were times I struggled and frustrated beyond belief, I never felt alone. RMC always brought me a sense of belonging and will always continue to do so.
Word of advice for Fourth Years:
Some of you will be Basic Military Officer Qualified by the summer’s end; others won’t be for another 2-3 years. Nonetheless, you are junior and there will be times when you won’t have all the answers and know where to find them. That takes time and experience. The last thing is to get frustrated. Listen to your NCO’s, learn from others’ mistakes, and move on. What you foresee now in your military career may not be what you want in 5 years’ time. Keep an open mind when dealing with arising situations or curveballs in life.
Word of advice for the rest:
Finding your balance. Between extracurricular activities, sports, clubs, school, having a life outside school, living the college experience. “I wish I had a better leadership position” “I wish I played a varsity sport” or “I wish I socialized more often” should not be questions to recap after grad. It’s easy to get cynical at times…don’t let that get in the way of taking advantage of your time at RMC.