November 11th will always be a special day for me. It allows me to reflect on my time serving my country and to be grateful for all the men and women who I served with and the thousands of men and women who still continue to serve and those before us who served and gave their lives so that we may enjoy the freedoms we enjoy and likely take for granted every single day.
I was sworn in a member of the 14 MP PL June 7, 2012. The Canadian military is quite different in recruitment than what most are used to in the United States Army. My story was quite unique:
In December of 2011 I was with 3 other single mothers at a local sports bar enjoying a child free night watching the NHL hockey game. During which two uniform City Police officers came in to do a random bar check. They began to talk with the 4 of us. I didn’t think much of it but one of the officers asked me what I took in college. When I mentioned Police Sciences he asked me why I wasn’t a Police Officer. I mentioned that I was a single parent and not only that but the only parent and that my kids were too young for me to work shift work. He then began to ask me if I would be interested in becoming a Military Police Officer. I’m sure he could see the confused look on my face. He then proceeded to tell me that he in fact was the military police recruiter.
He gave me and a girlfriend his card and told us to call him and set up a time to meet to discuss this option further. I honestly didn’t think much on it and actually lost his card. Focused on Christmas with my kids and then felt so guilty about it that I called his police detachment and forwarded a message and hoped he’d call me back so that I could at least get more information about the process of recruiting.
A few days later he called and set up a time to meet with us. We both went to this meeting and got so much information about the process of recruiting. In Canada you need to have a degree in Police Sciences or Psychology in order to even apply to the Military Police. Since I had this completed already all I had to do was spend a few weeks to complete no joke an inch and a half of paperwork and hand it into the recruitment centre downtown.
I was told that once this is done that they would call me to set up a time to write the CFAT. Canadian Forces Aptitude Test. Then an interview would be set up and if I pass with a high enough grade, they will set up the physical test. But was assured that this process takes months and to not be surprised if it was over a 6 month span. I was relieved because to date at this point I hadn’t even completed a “real” pushup. (Shocking, I know)
Once I handed in my pile of paperwork and was expecting a few month wait to hear back from them. But a whole two days later I receive a call from the Canadian Military Recruitment Centre to set up a time to write my CFAT. Shock set in because for one, I now knew that to be able to qualify for the Police Trade I needed a really high score and you only get one chance to write this exam. If I get too low of a score it will knock me out of the possibility of recruiting to the MPs and push me to another trade. This is not what I wanted.
Well I hired a tutor and wrote the exam then had to wait a whole 4 hours before my interview to even see if I passed with a high enough grade to qualify to proceed to the Police division. Seemed like forever and because I was personally being recruited, I felt even more pressure to do well.
I passed my CFAT with a really high score. 12 points higher than was required! Phew! I was thrilled. Then I was asked if I could do the fitness part of the process the very next week! I was not expecting this. I still couldn’t do a proper push-up….So I post poned it a few weeks. Hired a trainer, just to help me learn how to do a proper push-up. Not even joking! I needed all the help I could get. I was a frequent gym goer but had never even attempted to do a proper push-up. Let alone a military push-up.
God bless my trainer who I hired only for push-up training. LOL She literally had to get over me and hold my hips up and show me how to do a “real” push-up. So glad cameras couldn’t see these sessions. But we all have to start from somewhere and I wanted this more than anything.
Military push-ups are much different than normal push-ups. You had to start from a flat position. So your stomach and abdomen had to be completely flat on the floor. Then your hands need to be under your shoulders, not spread out. Once you pushed off the floor you had to be moving the entire time. The second you stop to take a break, you fail!
As the weeks went by I got better and better at these. I was practicing so much that even my kids were doing push-ups. I would practice in my kitchen between my wall oven and my dishwasher because I could see myself in the reflection. To make sure my form was good.
The time came for me to go to the base and do my fitness exam. I remember being so completely nervous. My recruiter knew I was there for it so I had even more pressure to do well. I remember the examiner there and myself and another young man who was also there for the test. The other man, likely 18, I’d guess kept asking the examiner how to do a push-up and what as the proper form etc. She (Who was quite over weight herself) didn’t demonstrate but kept telling him how to do it. He was still confused so she told me to show him. I was worried because I knew I could only do my required amount and was worried if I demonstrated it, I’d fail. So, as to not argue with her I showed him three proper push-ups.
We then moved onto the exam. Step test, grip test, sit-ups, and the dreaded push-ups. The young man did his no problem and passes with flying colours. Myself, I did great and then the push-ups portion came. I did about half the required amount and tanked out. So I failed! I was so upset, disheartened and devastated to say the least. I thought to myself, I work out all the time, eat well, have a healthy lifestyle, how could this even happen? While I was being flooded with all these emotions the examiner had the gull to tell me that my abs were weak and that there was no way I could pass in any near future. Just looking at her conditioning I wasn’t sure how she could say that to me.
I knew I could take this exam one more time for free. So I asked when the next time was that I could take this test. She said that technically I could come as early as the next week. But that she suggested I take a month or two to practice before I come back and attempt it. I said that I respected her opinion but that I would see her next week. She said that I’d likely fail and that I’d end up paying for the exam again anyhow. I said that was okay, that I was going to show up next week and the week after and the week after until I passed.
Well the next week came and not only did I pass my fitness test for the military I surpassed the minimum requirements on the push-up portion and completed all I needed to recruit to 14 MP PL.
I was SO happy. I couldn’t believe I did it. Being a single mom, only parent, and successfully joining the Military Police in my 30s. A few months later, along with another female recruit, were sworn into the 14 MP PL. Her and I were the only two females to join this all male Platoon. It was so exciting.
All I ever wanted to do in my life was to be a mom, a police officer and to inspire others. I am not afraid to take on challenges and to give it my all. My biggest motivation sometimes is just as simple as someone telling me that they don’t think I can do something. But joining the Military Police, even though at first I didn’t know what that even entailed, was a huge accomplishment to me. I was so grateful that despite all my challenges involved in joining, including failing the fitness exam the first time. All prepared me to become a better person and ultimately a better soldier.
If I hadn’t been injured on duty I would still be serving today. But that’s a story for another day.