Expect the Unexpected
When asked if she would like to go on another deployment with CFMWS, Diane Brine responds in the affirmative.
Ms. Brine, Manager, Health Promotion, was deployed at Camp Adazi in Latvia from June 20, 2022—December 20, 2022. She worked as the Moral and Welfare Manager at the camp for Operation Reassurance—Canada’s military contribution to security in Eastern Europe.
“I’d return there in a heartbeat,” Ms. Brine said during an interview on January 18 in her office. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but definitely the most rewarding in terms of work.” She applied through the deployment programs on the CFMWS website. “They sent out emails letting people know there were positions open,” she said. “So, I sent out an application and was interviewed and successfully went through the training. It was virtual training due to COVID for just over week. We had to be screened just like a military member would have to be for medical, psycho-social, dental, all of that.”
Her job was to oversee the PSP operations for all the nations based at the camp. “We operated a store, The Commons, where we sold snack food, souvenirs, and had a Tim Horton’s kiosk,” Ms. Brine said. “We had two Canadian barbers there. We had a travel office there to help Canadian members with the Home Location Travel Assistance or with travel to other destinations.”
She also had the opportunity to visit nearby Riga, Latvia’s capital city. She said the job “stretched the capacity” of what she thought she could do. “I didn’t think that I was that flexible,” Ms. Brine admitted.
She emphasized that a lot of unexpected things happened on the deployment. “On the very first day that I took over from the person before me, half the staff went into COVID isolation,” she said. “So, I went down from having twenty people to having ten people. The entire travel office got COVID. So, we had to find ways to support those members going on HLTA (Home Leave Travel Assistance). They needed to have their plans in place.
“We had great support from the people in Ottawa, who do travel deployment, because they came in (virtually) and did some of the bookings for military members.
“We put in long hours. Typically, I worked a portion of every single day.”
She also observed that members lived in standard issue military tents. “I was quite comfortable,” said Ms. Brine, who noted that all of the other facilities were also first rate.
“If you have the opportunity to go on a deployment, then do it. You’ll grow as a person. I met some amazing military and civilian people there.”