I was married to a Private who had yet to receive her 'trained' qualification. When I went to the Administration section, I was told a variety of things. Firstly, because I was married to a military person, we would both get the posting allowance, which for argument sake, let's say was $1,500.00 each. Then, quickly, this was reduced because she wasn't trained, so wasn't entitled to an allowance, only I would get the full allowance. Then, no that's not right, I was now only entitled to the single allowance. It didn't matter how much you argued, well, if that's the case, why do we both get paid travel expenses? Well, that's different. Needless to say, this was one of my most frustrating moves. As well, I discovered almost two years later, that even though I had 'cleared out' of all the various locations in Edmonton, that I had been paying my Mess Dues for both Edmonton and Ottawa the whole time. I had checked on this many times in Ottawa, as my monthly pay guide showed some similar deductions and when I went to check, the pay clerks couldn't explain it. It was nice to get reimbursed all that money two year's later, but still...
In our first year in Ottawa, we moved 3 times. We found a place to rent south of Ottawa, a nice row house. We were renting from a lady who owned two houses in this condominium development. A month into our stay, the landlord told us we had to move because the lady had rented us the wrong place and we needed to move to the other one. Without elaborating on this state of affairs too much, we ended up putting our furniture in storage and moved in with my Uncle and Aunt, who lived on the Air Base at Uplands. In fact, they were living in the same row house that my parents had lived in, when they were stationed in Ottawa, back in 1971. (see this brief post for further info). We stayed their for a month or two until we found another rental unit on Paul Anka Drive. Yup, the whole thing was kind of stressful. After a year there, we bought out first house, once again south of Ottawa and lived there until our first child, Jennifer, was born, in 1986. My timings might be off somewhat, but it gives you a rough idea.
|Jennifer wasn't always this quiet|
So, anyway, you've got the gist of the personal aspect of the move to Ottawa. It was kind of nice, the familiarity of the place, having lived there before and it was also nice being closer to family, both were just a few hours away.
|National Defence Headquarters, 101 Col By Drive|
My new job. Up until this point in my career, I had been a Base Transportation officer and a Mobile Air Movements officer. I think you see a theme. I was transport and movements. My new job was to be a Naval procurement officer, a supply officer, basically. Other than a summer as an officer cadet down at Canadian Forces Base Halifax (this entry) where I had worked in Base Supply, I had received no training in this new career. And being a somewhat senior Captain, there was a bit of an expectation that I might know something about procurement and supply. Nope, nothing. To add a bit to the confusion, I was going to be procuring for the Navy. The section was Directorate of Procurement and Supply (Maritime) or DPSupM. The specific section was involved in buying materiel for Ship Alterations. To put it simply, some engineer would decide that some part of a ship needed to be modified (improved) and would right up a specification or alteration (ShipAlt) and my section would go out and buy the item(s). Sometimes, the materials were bought in advance and stored at the various Supply Depots across the country and stored there awaiting the requirement to actually issue the items to the repair yard that was doing the work.
It eventually became an interesting job for me, but not the first year. It turned out that I was transferred into a supernumerary position. I didn't really have a job. I had a desk, but the officer who I worked with or maybe, more accurately, for, had difficulty teaching me the job. I can understand that. She had been in the job for awhile, she had her way of doing things and she didn't really have the time to teach me, or wouldn't make the time. I spent a lot of time photocopying documents, getting frustrated and often going home with a tense stomach and head-aches. There were times I didn't even want to go to work.
|Proof that I actually passed.. :)|
Then in my third year in DPSupM, my career manager had his annual visit and he advised me that I was doing well and that to really give my career a boost I should get back into the Transport world. Now who am I to argue with a Lieutenant Colonel? I had my doubts after the way I left my last job in Transportation, but I thought maybe he might be right. So my next posting was to Director General Transportation (DGT). Initially the plan was that I was to be the Executive Assistant to Director Transport Management (DTM), who, it turned out was the older brother of my previous boss in Edmonton. I had an interview with LCol Popowych and when I showed up for my job, it turned out that I was now going to work in the Manpower Establishment and Training section. I probably should have known right at that moment how much of a boost to my career that being in Transport would be. Not one at all.
|Same PMQ, different location, much older|
|Caitlin in a happy moment|
I was now back in the transport world again. I started in the Training / Manpower Establishment cell. For the one portion, I used to visit bases and help them prepare for OSMERs. Basically they had to justify how many people they had in Base Transport and maybe try and justify extra positions. We would look at their paperwork, then I would go on a visit with another member of our team and we would look at their organisation and see if their paperwork was satisfactory. When the official visit came along, we hoped that they wouldn't lose positions and maybe might even gain some. I went to three bases with this job; CFB Valcartier in Quebec, the Supply Depot in Moncton NB and Cornwallis NS, our recruit training establishment. The other part of my job involved trying to justify and program training courses for Transportation Officers, courses that would taken out of country, with other countries. This job was OK, but the whole atmosphere at DGT wasn't very positive. Maybe it was just me.
|At a fun conference in Auckland, back row centre left|
I spent 3 years in DGT and generally found the place to be a big clique. If you didn't party with the boys on Friday, you weren't one of the gang. My ratings were reflected accordingly. Ah well. I had taken some training in another program while I was there, that being the Integrated Lines of Communication (ILOC). Basically it was an agreement with the United States to allow Canadian troops and equipment travel on American airlift and sealift if we had to deploy to Europe or other locations in time of war. As part of this ILOC, a number of Canadian transportation/ movement officers were posted at American bases in Europe and the United States. Since my time was running down in DGT, for once I decided to fight for a job. I applied for positions with the US Navy in London (Military Sealift Command) and with the US Air Force in Europe (USAFE) at Ramstein, Germany.
To my surprise, I was accepted at the position in Ramstein. I was very happy about this. Of course, the Transport world couldn't let me go without a little dig. The director called me in to his office about a week before I left. My previous boss had moved to Stuttgart at the HQ there and supposedly told my current boss that he didn't think I would be suited for the job in Ramstein. What a joy it was to hear that bit of wonderful news. Especially since this Lieutenant Colonel would be my official boss in Europe. Ah well, I thought, screw it. I'll just go and enjoy my time in Europe and not worry about what he thinks.
|Good bye to the Gatineau Balloon fest.|
Well, there you have it, our stay in Ottawa, from 1982 to 1988 was over and we were now embarking on a new adventure in Europe. Hopefully I won't take quite so long for this next part of my reminiscences. I hope you're still enjoying.