RCN Sailor Profile: AB Morgan Olizarvitch
Current role: Naval Communicator
Hometown: London, ON
Years of Service: 3.5
Home Unit: HMCS Fredericton
Why did you join the Royal Canadian Navy?
I joined the Royal Canadian Navy because of the opportunities it provided me at the time for schooling. I joined the Naval Reserve in the middle of my Grade 11 year in high school and was very encouraged by my family and family friends to do so, as there were many benefits for someone about to go into university. I am part of a rather large military family and I could see all the benefits this type of career could have, all while maintaining a relatively regular lifestyle
How important is your job to you and why?
My job is unbelievably important to me, and in many ways I was not expecting it to be. You don’t realize when you join the navy that not only are you signing up for an amazing career, you’re signing up for a family hundreds of people strong. My job also allows me to be proud of myself; I am only 20 years old and have been serving my country for three and a half of those years.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your time as a member?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced during my time as a member is being so far away from the family that supported me so much through the entire process. My mom especially. I moved out rather early to go to basic training and then university, and then took a posting on the east coast. It’s hard to know what to ask your mom before you move across the country, and I can’t exactly go over and steal a pot or pan when I don’t have the right size for what I’m cooking.
How did you overcome this challenge?
It’s an ongoing challenge, one that results in a very large amount of video chats. On labour day weekend last year I was portaging a canoe with friends near Peggy’s Cove when all of a sudden my phone started ringing and it was a video call from my mom, there was a family reunion going on back home and the only way I could be there was through that call. I have quite a large family, and being passed around the whole circle answering the same five questions takes a fair amount of time, but it was the best part of my weekend.
What is the best part about being in the Royal Canadian Navy?
The best part of being in the Royal Canadian Navy is the life experiences I would never get in any other career. Travelling to so many different countries and getting to see cultures I couldn’t possibly imagine otherwise.
What is your most memorable experience
My most memorable experience was meeting my now best friend and roommate at basic training. During Naval basic you are taught how to handle and shoot weapons like the C7 rifle, and have a final shooting test towards the end of basic. Me and another girl from my section both struggled, and had to retake the test. Picture two 17-year-old girls in the prone position beside each other, crying with rifles in their hands, and giggling because of how silly this scenario is. Sometimes you just need a friend beside you and the navy will always provide that.
Why have you stayed in the Royal Canadian Navy?
I have stayed in the Royal Canadian Navy because I fell in love with my trade, I fell in love with serving my country and wearing this uniform. I was a part time sailor and decided to leave university to pursue this unknown adventure full time because I get to be proud when I step into work every day.
What is the most unique thing about yourself, outside of the Navy?
Outside of the Navy I read a lot of books, I have recently filled up my current bookshelf and am going to build myself a new sturdier one that won’t sag with all the weight of the books.
How would you describe the availability of opportunities for women in the Royal Canadian Navy?
The availability of opportunities for women in the RCN is incredible, there is a spot for us anywhere and everywhere. If you’re willing to reach out and ask for something and really work for it, there’s nothing you can’t do.
What advice would you give new female recruits?
To a new female recruit, I would say be one of the women that is excited to see more women in the CAF. The male dominated atmosphere can be tough sometimes, but if you’ve got your girls by your side I promise you will be unstoppable.