Three young Newfoundland and Labrador Reservists from all three disciplines; Army, Navy and Air Force, unite to share their stories, giving readers a glimpse into why they chose to do what they do; serve their country
They are but three of the 900 Reservists in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and they are young; between the ages of 25 and 20. Still, all three are strong in the resolve that serving in the military is an honourable choice and an enviable profession.
Master Corporal Meaghan Frank (Army), Leading Seaman Sarah Squires (Navy) and Aviator Brody Ghent (Air Force) all say the military has given them the confidence to go after their dreams. But more than that, it’s given them the opportunity to make this province proud by serving their country.
Part 2 OF 3
At 21 years of age, Brody Ghent says he feels the Military has been where he was always meant to be. “It feels right,” he shared as he adjusted his poppy “just so” for the photo shoot.
After two-and-a-half years in the Air Force Reserves, Ghent knows protocol.
“It’s not just about shining boots or ironing a shirt. It’s how to stand, where to put your eyes, where the hand goes in a salute; there’s a right, and a wrong way. You learn that stuff pretty quickly. And I really enjoy the structure. I enjoy the routine. And I’ve embraced the lifestyle and the culture of life in the Reserves,” he shared.
Ghent, who had a grandfather on his father’s side who served as a radio technician in the Navy, says he always felt that life in the Military would be something he’d be interested in.
“Growing up part of my life in an outport, you were always on the go and you were always with friends. It didn’t matter the age or the gender, if you were from there or if you were just visiting or passing through you belonged. If you were in that community, you were part of the group. Instantly. That’s what being in the military is like. You instantly belong.”
Ghent has always enjoyed the physical aspects of life, from rugby to running to working out in the gym. The Military is great for anyone who enjoys staying fit, he shares.
“I always enjoyed being active, especially once I became a teenager. I always thought it was cool to be part of something bigger, like the Reserves. I wanted to do it since I was a teenager. I’ve always liked airplanes and travelling so the Air Force Reserves seemed like a great fit.”
Ghent actually first found out about the opportunities the Reserves offered when he was in Grade 10.
“It was career day, and I brought home the information to Mom. I told her what I wanted to do with my life. Being in the media and following the news, and seeing what happens around the world, she wasn’t – at first anyway – excited about my decision. But once I explained that my interest was in the Reserves, and that, besides training and volunteer postings, I could be home, she warmed to the idea. But since going away for Basic (training) she’s really embraced my decision and my family seem really proud of me, which makes things easier.”
Ghent did his BMQ (Basic Military Qualifications) in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. Besides having to cut his long, curly, unruly locks (he actually chopped it too short at first, shocking his family by getting buzzed bald before he flew away), there was other shocks to the system. “It was over the summer, from May to July, and it was really warm. The first three weeks you are trying to get into the groove of how the Military works; the schedules and the timing. But the most challenging was learning how to shine boots. That’s still hard,” he says with a laugh.
The rest came easier, he shared. “The studying and the physical – which I loved – was part of what I expected. But keeping everything clean and organized was something that took getting used to,” he shared with a sheepish grin.
Being in the Reserves has brought him to CFB Bagotville and CFB Borden. He also performed general duties at the 44th G7 Summit that was held this past June in La Malbaie, Quebec.
“I was putting up tents, helping out the engineers and the carpenters and the electricians; anything that had to be done that wasn’t trades specific, I did.” And he loved it.
“There’s a real sense of purpose and camaraderie in the Military. You have a common goal, and much of the same training. That’s what I loved about Basic (training) and what I love about the Reserves and the Military in general. Everyone has the same goal at the end of the day. And everyone deserves, and gets, respect. There’s no unimportant jobs, roles, or people.”
‘It’s a Great life’
Ghent has “a nice few friends” in the Military. “While I wanted to (join) for a while, others I know joined later because they saw the opportunities offered. Many thought it would be a great experience, and it really is.”
Ghent says he gets many questions about the Reserves and the lifestyle, and he is always quick to share his thoughts on life in the Military.
“I get a lot of questions and interest from people at gatherings. I always say, ‘If you are thinking about it, try it.’ It’s a great time and a great career path. I would suggest it.”
Ghent says he plans to “keep going” in the Military, eventually joining the Regular Forces. “At first, I joined the Reserves because I wanted to stay close to home. I love Newfoundland. I always have, and always will. But while I wanted to stay close to home, there’s so much choice.
‘Role for Everyone’
“At one point, there was an opportunity in Alert. I love that you can get a choice with some postings or deployments. It’s a great life, especially when you are young. Great pay, great life, so many opportunities.”
And the Military really is for anyone, he says. “There’s a role for everyone. No matter your dream, or your goal, it can be fulfilled in the Military,” he says.
Ghent says he has an eye to the future, and that future has Military in it, though he’s not sure where he will end up living as the years pass.
“I love this place, but when you get into the groove of things you realize it’s not as scary to leave home. If you are in the Military, no matter where you are posted, you always have a connection to home. That never leaves you.”