Women in Aviation: Lieutenant-Colonel Marie-Claude Osmond

News Article / April 27, 2017

To see a larger photo, click on the image to the right.

In the weeks from International Women’s Day, on March 8, 2017, 
to the Canadian Women in Aviation Conference in June,
we will feature interviews with female leaders
in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Royal Canadian Air Force

Hometown: Greenwood, Nova Scotia

Occupation: Air combat systems officer [formerly the air navigator occupation]

Current position: Commanding officer of 405 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

Given the current long range patrol commitment to Operation Impact, I ensure that we have aircrews and maintainers trained and prepared to deploy to accomplish our mandated mission of supporting the Middle East Stabilization Force – the multinational coalition against Daesh in Iraq – while continuing our commitments to domestic operations. The squadron is also responsible for the first line maintenance of all CP-140 Auroras on the east coast.

What drew you to join the Royal Canadian Air Force?

My father was a navigator in the Canadian Armed Forces on the CP-107 Argus and the CP-140 Aurora.

What have been some of the highlights of your career with the RCAF?

Becoming commanding officer of a long range patrol squadron is certainly a career highlight.

If you could offer advice to young women who are thinking about joining the RCAF, what would it be?

Don’t change who you are to try and fit in. Be yourself. And don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself if someone disrespects you in the workplace. There is no room for this type of behaviour in the RCAF or any other organization you join. I have stayed true to myself throughout my career, and have been successful.

Don’t let anyone say you can’t do something. All occupations are open to women and as long as you can meet the requirements of the occupation there is no reason why you can’t do the job. Be confident in your abilities and don’t back down.

What have been some of the challenges of your career with the RCAF?

People are your most critical asset in the RCAF, but at times you have to make tough personnel decisions.

Another challenge is that our unit has been deployed on Operation Impact since October 2014 while continuing with operations at home. It has an effect on fatigue and morale. That said, my personnel our proud of what they do and strive to do their best despite these challenges; that is the true spirit of being in the RCAF. We persevere!

What are your thoughts on recruiting, training and retaining women in the RCAF?

I think going out to rural communities and speaking to junior high school and high school students would be a good way to recruit future generations. These communities have limited job opportunities and advertising the benefits and opportunities available to women in the RCAF would go a long way.

As for retention, we must recognize that members are being asked to do more and more with less and it’s having a toll on them. It’s not just a women’s issue.

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