by Gayle Wilson

  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTOS</p><p>Captain Ray Doiron, Officer Commanding of the 143 Construction Engineering Flight unit of the Canadian Armed Forces.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>Aviator Corey Lucas demonstrates a physical training exercise at 143 CEF&#8217;s open house on February 24 involving hoisting sandbags while being timed.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>The Canadian Armed Forces is looking to fill 25 reservist positions at the 143 Construction Engineering Flight unit outside of Bridgewater.</p>
  • <p>A steady stream of people made their way to the Canadian Armed Forces&#8217; 143 CEF unit outside of Bridgewater on February 24 for an open house designed to recruit more reservists.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>Mitchell Outbridge (left) was one of the attendees of 143 CEF&#8217;s open house on February 24. The 17-year-old said he was checking it out to possibly sign up for the summer.</p>
  • <p>Sergeant Matt Morse of 143 CEF talks with Master Corporal Adam Dogget who came in while off duty with his wife Alyssa and their 16-month-old son William. A future reservist?</p>
  • <p>Corporal Raouf Hakam (left) and Corporal Kailym Auld stand to attention alongside a scissor lift machine at the 143 CEF open house, where a number of pieces of equipment reservists might expect to operate were on display.</p>

Visitors to the open house at the Canadian Armed Force's 143 Construction Engineering Flight (CEF) unit on February 24 got to see first hand the muscle behind the organization and what it offers for recruits.

"It's mainly to give people an opportunity to see what we do, but our goal is to give people information on the jobs we offer, because we want to bolster our recruiting efforts," the unit's officer commanding, Captain Ray Doiron, told LighthouseNOW.

According to Doiron, the unit is looking to fill 25 recruit positions.

He explained that the unit provides skill training in a number of trades such as carpentry, electrical, and plumbing which can channel recruits toward Red Seal certification.

There is no commitment on the part of the recruit at any time during the process, although before they receive training in trade skills recruits are required to complete three months of basic training, including physical fitness, and general military and soldier skills.

"The ball is totally in their court," Doiron emphasized, though he says it's rare for anyone to quit.

"Honestly we haven't had a lot of people do that because a lot of people, when they get to that point and they see the training, they go through it, because they see the benefit of it, right?

Nor do the recruits have to commit to full-time hours.

"We're a reserve organization, and, as such, people aren't obligated to work full time.

"Recruits can work a minimum of one day a week, or up to full-time on a temporary basis, or they can work part-time where they're working up to 12 days a month," Doiron said.

The captain conceded there is somewhat of a misconception that recruits may be called off to war.

"In time of war they can be recalled, but we've never done that in the history of the forces. It's purely voluntary," he emphasized.

"Our job is basically to go into areas where we're deployed and set up camps, maintain infrastructure and maintain the well being of people in that area so that their living accommodations are up to par."

The idea is to ensure military personnel have clean drinking water, electricity, plumbing, heating "and all those necessities."

When the unit is at its home base, its role is to train people to perform those duties.

"We make sure everybody is a qualified trades person, and we do recurring projects and training here at the unit and out in the community," says Doiron.

Unit personnel were on hand at the event to answer questions. There was equipment on display, a sandbag lift challenge, and representatives from the Military Family Resource Centre in Greenwood were there to discuss available support services.

This is the second year CEF has held an open house.

According to Doiron, the events will become "annual, at the very least, or twice a year."

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