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Questions Regarding Becoming Female Officer

George Wallace

Army.ca Dinosaur
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We had our Sqn Comds, SSMs, Battle Capts, and OR Staff in the HQ building; while all our Troop Officers shared offices with the Troop NCOs down at the hangars.  The Troopies (Tprs and Cpls) worked on the hangar floor. 


Army.ca Veteran
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E.R. Campbell said:
It was certainly going on 50 years ago!

Hilarious. I assumed so.

E.R. Campbell said:
rifle platoon commanders and even most support platoon commanders had a 6 foot folding table in the platoon locker area, and they shared that with their platoon sergeants.

Well I suppose some things have changed haha. We have 3x platoon offices downstairs in the company lines with 4-5 desks / computers, and just around the corner is the rest of the stores area with platoon cages. Depending on who is running the show, the office can become a bit of a clubhouse full of Ptes/Cpls surfing the Facebook and Autotrader. When I moved downstairs, we kicked the troops out and made it an actual workplace.

I've been lobbying to have the LAV Capts move downstairs working side-by-side with the Coy Tpt Sgts in the LAV barn but no one seems to understand why a LAV Capt might want to be involved with the LAV fleet... :facepalm:

E.R. Campbell said:
I wanted my troop commanders to be focused, mainly, on their soldiers, and on their kit, and on the troop level training and maintenance tasks ... that's best done away from an office.

Indeed. As I have told our current Platoon Commanders (who are now positioned upstairs :pullhair:), you can't lead from the Command Post.

George Wallace said:
We had our Sqn Comds, SSMs, Battle Capts, and OR Staff in the HQ building; while all our Troop Officers shared offices with the Troop NCOs down at the hangars.  The Troopies (Tprs and Cpls) worked on the hangar floor.

That's a similar set-up to how we were in my 2nd year as a Pl Comd, except instead of being in an HQ building the OC/2IC/LAV Capt/CSM/etc were upstairs in a coy HQ office... mind you, our building is rather large, they may as well be on the other end of the base at that point. It sure was nice to get downstairs and away from that area!

Rick Goebel

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There isn't only the question of how far away from the troops you are but also how close to higher you are.

I spent most of my first 15 years in the reserves in a building that housed only the rifle company I was in.  This could be a bad thing since, when I was Company 2 I/C, I was also OIC Armoury, Unit Fire Prevention Officer, Unit Safety Officer, Unit Security Officer and more.

On the good side, BHQ was a half hour drive away and District HQ was an hour drive away.  We didn't get a lot of visitors.

My remaining 16 years were mostly spent in an building that usually had BHQ just feet away and District HQ just up the stairs.

These were way different experiences.


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Jarnhamar said:
Lots of great advice here for you. 
Just understand that there still are a lot of biased people out there, some keep it to themselves and some don't. When an officer makes a mistake it seems like it's 10 times worse then when an NCM does. When a female in the CAF makes a mistake it seems like it's 20 times worse (people's reactions). 
Female officer in the infantry? I'm going to guess that it's pretty damn cut throat.

Don't get too stuck on a romanticized version of what being an infantry officer will be. You could very well get your first platoon and everyone hates you just because they're dicks like that.


Jarnhamar makes good points.  The CAF is not a gender-neutral environment yet.  There are still members that don't believe women should serve in the military in ANY capacity, let alone the combat arms, but they are much less vocal about their views than they were in decades past.  Harassment and discrimination are generally more subtle and insidious in today's military.

That being said, over my decades of service, I've known other women in almost every trade and classification.  Each woman's experience is unique and I would hesitate to generalize based on any individual. To a certain degree, the overall experience depends on the luck of the draw, whether you luck out and have superior training staff, leaders, and peers, or draw the short straw and have to deal with the chauvinists, misogynists, or the just plain stupid. Most of us deal with a mixture of the good, bad, and great.  And it's the great people that keep you in uniform.

If you really want to do it, do it.  But go in with your eyes open and realistic expectations.  Joining the combat arms isn't easy for anyone, and is likely to be even harder for as a woman.  But for those it suits, it is a challenging, rewarding career.

Good luck!