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 3 OF 3
Meaghan Frank may have been born and raised in Truro, Nova Scotia, but she’s very quickly embraced life in this province.
For one thing, her fiancé is from the wet coast, so that family connection helps. Her brother has also made this province home – for now – as he is currently attending Memorial University. But being part of The Royal Newfoundland Regiment has instilled a certain home-grown pride in her soul as well.
‘Sense of Pride’
“I’ve made it a point to learn the story, the Regiment’s heroic advance at Beaumont Hamel on the morning of July 1, 1916. I’ve learned so much about the Newfoundlanders going over the top (of the some 800 Newfoundlanders who went into battle that morning, only 68 were able to answer the roll call the next day) – the brave who lost their lives and the few who made roll call the next day. The significance of the Forget-me-not flower. My fiancé’s grandfather is a World War II veteran and I’ve heard lots of his stories and it gives me a great sense of pride.”
Frank should be proud. She’s currently the only female infantry soldier in the Regiment. There’s more than one reason for this young woman to receive a pat on the back, of course. With seven years of university under her belt, she continues with her schooling as well as with her commitment to the Reserves.
“I’m attending MUN working on my honours in psychology,” she says.
Frank, who did her BMQ (Basic Military Qualification) in Halifax, has done much travelling since joining the Reserve at the age of 20.
“I’ve done the majority of my training in Gagetown. I did my trades training there and then did my PLQ (Primary Leadership Qualification) Leadership course in Aldershot, Nova Scotia.”
Frank says she’s had the privilege of attending training exercises in Labrador and enjoys getting to travel around the island portion of the province as she helps with recruiting.
‘Challenge to Myself’
Why did she decide the Military was for her? “I decided to join as a challenge to myself. I was already in university when I joined but I thought it would open up some doors and give me unique opportunities and really give me the chance to challenge myself.”
Has it? Most certainly, she shared. “It’s very mentally and physically challenging but I’ve also grown a lot as a person and I’ve gained a lot of confidence as a person, even just public speaking.”
When she first joined, she never dreamed she could ever speak in front of a crowd. “I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do any pubic speaking, but now I can go out in front of hundreds of people and help with recruiting activities. It doesn’t bother me anymore, I’ve gained so much confidence in all my abilities,” she says with pride.
Frank would recommend this life to anyone. “I would say if you are considering it, definitely do it. Even if this life isn’t part of your consideration for your future, if it isn’t in your plans at the moment, or if you are not sure, do it, try it. If there’s even part of you that thinks this might be for you, do it. When I first got in I didn’t know if I would like it. I thought I would try it, and if I didn’t like it, I would get out, but here I am six years later.”
Seeing as she’s the only female infantry soldier in the Regiment, does she have any thoughts on how things could change?
“The Military is one of the only jobs in the world that you are paid on your rank, not based on who you are or what you do. There’s not that many females in my trade, I’m the only female infantry soldier that they have right now in the Regiment. There’s not necessarily many women around to hold up as a role model, but I know you can do anything that you put your mind to. I’m living proof of that.”
‘You Can Do Anything’
Seeing how she’s breaking into new territory as a woman, what does her parents think of her life’s path?
“My parents were very supportive. They’ve always been supportive of anything that I’ve done. When I said I was thinking of joining they said, ‘If that’s what you want to do, then we support it 100 per cent’ and they tell me how proud they are of me for serving and they tell me that all the time.”
While her mother’s grandfather was in the Military, there’s no other role models in her family when it comes to a life lived in the Reserves. Still, she knows she’s made the right choice and she actively helps in recruiting activities.
“I love to go out recruiting and I love to talk to high school students. Many of them don’t know much about the Military and they don’t realize what the Military can offer them. The more we get out and the more we talk to people, the more interest we get. There’s a really big push now to get the facts and the information out there.”
Any plans for her future? More of the same, she shares. “I’m hoping I can get a job with the Military and be a Military psychologist and if not I’d like to work with veterans and first responders and help them.”
Any plans for Nov. 11th? “I will proudly be downtown at the War Memorial.”