Outstanding work ethic leads to Sailor of the Year award

Navy News / March 13, 2018

By Sub-Lieutenant M.X. Déry

Dentistry and naval communications have little in common, but according to Canadian Fleet Pacific’s 2017 Sailor of the Year, Leading Seaman Rosalie Houle Carrière, the experience gained from the journey is what’s important.

While she has dreamed of being a dentist since she was 12, her desire to gain work experience and travel made her join the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve in 2010 as a naval communicator.

“The goal of being a dentist is in the back of my mind,” says LS Houle Carrière. “But that doesn’t mean the road to getting there is a straight line.”

The 25-year-old from Trois-Rivières, Que., grew up speaking French and learned English in an immersion program, language skills she would put to use when travelling around the world in Canadian warships.

As a teenager, LS Houle Carrière joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and after high school joined Naval Reserve Division HMCS Radisson while completing her pre-university degree at Cégep de Trois-Rivières. With college complete and qualified as a naval communicator, she joined HMCS Regina on Operation ARTEMIS in 2013. The shift from her experience on Great Lakes deployments aboard HMCS Moncton, a maritime coastal defence vessel, to a Halifax-class frigate deployed on a major operation, was jarring.

“The platform is very different, the atmosphere – it’s like a town floating on the water,” says LS Houle Carrière. “You might not see someone for two months; the maritime coastal defence vessel is more familial.”

That first major deployment was unexpectedly extended when Russia invaded Crimea and Canada committed Regina to Operation REASSURANCE.

In 2016, she went to Esquimalt, B.C., to serve in HMCS Whitehorse, a change that was difficult.

“It is far from family,” says LS Houle Carrière, but adds that she loves the West Coast and its lovely weather. “They lost my shovel in the move, but I wasn’t too concerned.”

At every opportunity, she returns home to Québec to see family, friends and her nieces and nephew, save last Christmas when she volunteered for duty to allow others to go home.

Last year, while extremely busy at work transferring communications equipment from one hull to another, LS Houle Carrière joined the Saint John’s Ambulance Brigade in Victoria. She wanted to become part of the community and use the first aid skills she has acquired over the years.

“First aid as a Good Samaritan is being present at an event and being able to save that person by providing aid until the paramedics arrive,” says LS Houle Carrière.

She had first-hand experience of that at the Oak Bay Tea Party in 2017, when two parachutists required medical attention after hard landings. Pete Thompson, the superintendent of the Victoria division of Saint John’s Ambulance, said LS Houle Carrière was part of the team that helped provide first aid.

“She was a star among them,” he says. “She’s a great team player, and her attitude is one of always wanting to learn.”

He was impressed by how much she managed to volunteer despite her deployments. “She is always positive; she is bubbly like a glass of ginger ale.”

Petty Officer Second Class Eric Healey, senior naval communicator aboard HMCS Nanaimo, is the one who submitted her name for Sailor of the Quarter; unsurprisingly he had nothing but positive things to say. “She has an outstanding work ethic. She is one of those people you have to pull away from work.”

Every year, Canadian Fleet Pacific recognizes sailors who perform their duties above and beyond the high standard that is demanded of them. LS Houle Carrière has shown that she is the Sailor of the Year, in and out of uniform.

Courtesy of Lookout Newspaper