Father-son RCAF Reserve duo serving side-by-side

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News Article / June 16, 2021

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By Holly Bridges

On any given day in the plumbing and heating shop at 192 Construction Engineering Flight, an RCAF Reserve unit located at Aldergrove, B.C., you might see Aviator Mathieu Pelletier and his father, Sergeant René Pelletier, working side-by-side. Since they share the same household, the pair is permitted to work in close proximity to one another during the COVID 19 pandemic restrictions.

A family affair

“Sgt Pelletier is my father at work but I don’t have the luxury of calling him that due to the chain of command,” says Avr Pelletier. “At home, he’s just Dad.”

The father-son duo, both plumbing and heating technicians, have worked together before as civilians in the Alberta oil patch. Sgt Pelletier, considered one of the CAF’s leading experts in erecting soft-shell structures such as weather havens and aircraft hangars in austere conditions, was working part-time in the oil sands, after 21 years in the Regular Force and 23 years in the Reserve Force

A new era

“I'm very proud of my father and the work he's accomplished over the years. It's a very large legacy to be walking behind. But at the same time, I know that what I can bring to the military is different than what he brought, because it's a new era.

“I don't see it as me being stuck in his shadow. I see it as one long shadow of our entire family. And eventually we step out into the light at the front, and extend it.”

Making his own mark, yet forever grateful for his father’s mentorship, Avr Pelletier was only too happy to follow in his father’s footsteps by joining the RCAF Reserve in 2015 due to oil industry instability and irregular paycheques.

Greater stability

“It might pay a heck of a lot less than being on a hotshot crew running in the middle of nowhere on an oil rig or setting up a camp that's eight hours away from anything. But I know the paycheque will come in each week. I know that I've got work, and I know that the end of it, there's a pension.”

So, whether he’s working in the 192 CEF shop with his dad, or deployed on exercise or a CAF operation, Avr Pelletier knows one thing for sure – he’s extremely proud of what his military occupation does.

“My job is to give [our members] a place to come back to. To give them running toilets, warm showers, gas in the kitchen for food, and a place where they can for just a moment, forget where they are so they don't have to think about it, whether or not in a war zone. I can give them that moment of peace.”

If you’d like to make a difference like Avr and Sgt Pelletier, the RCAF Reserve has many part-time job opportunities available. RCAF spouses or adult dependents looking for work are also encouraged to apply. One of the RCAF Reserve occupations currently hiring part-time at all RCAF Wings is Air Operations Support Technician.Visit www.forces.ca to apply.


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