RCN Sailor Profile: LS Ashley Fletcher
Current role: WEng tech Armament
Hometown: Bass River, Nova Scotia
Years of Service: 5 years Infantry in Army reserves, 9 years in Navy
Home Unit: HMCS Montreal
Why did you join the Royal Canadian Navy?
I joined the Royal Canadian Navy because I was influenced to do so by my family. I joined the Army reserves when I was in high school and worked with them for five years on class B contracts. Eventually it became harder to get contracts, so I decided that going into the Reg Force would be my next step.
How important is your job to you and why?
I think my job is just as important as everyone else’s. We all rely on each other so we can complete the mission. My job would be pointless without the operator to fire the weapon, and the officer to tell when and where to fire. We are just one big team. It’s everybody’s job to make sure the team is ready.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced during your time as a member?
I believe the biggest challenge that I’ve had to face during my time as a member was the academic training that I received on my 3s and 5s. I had been out of high school for a number of years when I started my 3s training so it was very difficult for me get back into a school routine.
How did you overcome this challenge?
To overcome this challenge I had to really hunker down. I concentrated all my time on studying and went to the learning resource centre to get help with studying and to take a test to determine what type of learner I am. I also attended all of the extra help sessions that I could and had many co-workers that I studied with.
What is the best part about being in the Royal Canadian Navy?
There are a number of really good things about the being in the RCN. The people that I have met during my time in the Navy have become some of my best friends. I’ve also really enjoyed all of the places that I have and the opportunity to go to during my time in the RCN.
What is your most memorable experience?
The most memorable experience that I have had during my time in the RCN was when I went up to the flight deck when we were coming into port in Nuuk, Greenland. The views were amazing and I cannot even explain how incredible the smell was. Everyone was so excited to see the icebergs and the local fishing villages. The crew was buzzing with excitement.
Why have you stayed in the Royal Canadian Navy?
I have stayed in the RCN because at this point I can’t really imagine myself doing any other job. The more time I spend in this job the more rewarding it is. At this point in my career I’m actually able to pass my knowledge onto the newer members. I’m also very excited for the changes that are happening in the RCN and to see where the Navy will be 10 years from now.
What is the most unique thing about yourself, outside of the Navy
I don’t feel like I’m very unique. But I guess it would have to be that I live in the same community that I grew up in. I drive into Halifax from the country outside of Truro. I live there with my wife, two cats, two dogs and 21 chickens.
How would you describe the availability of opportunities for women in the Royal Canadian Navy?
There are endless opportunities for women in the RCN. You can look at any of the trades in the RCN today and see a strong female role model. It’s very common to find women performing jobs that previously you would only have seen men doing. Women have proved themselves completely capable of doing those jobs.
What advice would you give new female recruits?
The advice I would give a new female recruit is to work hard to achieve the future you want for yourself. If you believe enough in yourself then nothing else matters. If you have the confidence in your abilities, then everything else will fall into place.