A pioneer at 3 R22eR

A man and woman in military uniforms.
Para Laurence Séguin-Mandeville, a medical technician, carefully checks the parachute equipment of a Polish colleague shortly before the start of Exercise Pégase Nordique. PHOTO: Corporal Nathan Moulton, VL02-2018-0010-008

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By Édouard Dufour

Para Laurence Séguin-Mandeville was a civilian paramedic when she decided to enlist in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in 2016. Two years later, the young woman has officially left her mark on the CAF by becoming the first woman medical technician and parachutist in A Company, 3rd Battalion, Royal 22e Regiment (3 R22eR)—even though she wears a Royal Canadian Air Force uniform.

This story is a unique portrait of a determined and positive individual.

After seeing the dramatic images of Haiti ravaged by the devastating earthquake of 2010, Para Séguin-Mandeville felt that she needed “to help people and make a difference”. A few years later, in 2016, she successfully completed the basic military qualification course at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, followed by medical technician training at Borden, Ontario.

As she is a member of the air element, Para Séguin-Mandeville’s rank is officially “aviator”. However, because she is employed within a paratroop unit, she is known there by the rank of “para”. Both aviator and para are equivalent to the rank of private.

In 2017, she completed the basic parachutist course at Trenton, Ontario. Next, she went through several weeks of intensive exercises specific to this training.

“At 3rd Battalion, I am in the right place to learn. There are opportunities to take courses for those who are capable and motivated,” explains Para Séguin-Mandeville. In fact, the 3 R22eR offers a number of high-quality training courses, such as the reconnaissance and pathfinders training, dedicated to producing an elite fighting force.

Throughout her career, Para Séguin-Mandeville has never shirked from the physical hardship inherent in this training. “You can’t be fearful or ashamed of failure. You need to get over your belief that these tests are too hard!” she says enthusiastically, while emphasizing that the physical tests require “a lot of preparation”.

Para Séguin-Mandeville comments that “cool headedness, work techniques, judgement and resourcefulness” are key requirements for working as a medical technician.

Equality for all

“Women should not be subject to any discrimination—whether negative or positive,” says Para Séguin-Mandeville. She adds that “the same standards and criteria for excellence” should apply equally to both women and men.

“The guys in the infantry at 3 R22eR have been super nice and welcoming with me,” she said. “I really enjoy the atmosphere of camaraderie!”

Édouard Dufour is a journalist with ADSUM, the Canadian Forces Base Valcartier newspaper where this article was originally published.

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