Reservist joins Op IMPACT with ‘a strong sense of duty’
By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs
Surrey, British Columbia — Canadian Army Reservist Sergeant Amelia Chia recently bid farewell to the fifth-graders she teaches in her civilian career.
“It’s a bit emotional for me,” she said, recalling her final days at Riverdale Elementary in Surrey, British Columbia before departing for pre-deployment training.
From mid-December until July 2020, Sgt Chia will be part of Operation IMPACT (Op IMPACT), Canada’s training mission in the Middle East. In the role of supply technician, she will work in Kuwait to ensure soldiers receive necessary equipment and supplies before they move on to other Op IMPACT areas of operation in Iraq, Lebanon, or Jordan.
“They get their mission-essential kit in Kuwait,” she explained. “One example would be the frag vest. They come into theatre with a green cover on their ballistic fragmentation vests and they get issued tan covers.”
Sgt Chia is a member of 39 Signal Regiment, which has four squadrons in Vancouver, Kelowna, Victoria, and Nanaimo British Columbia. Pre-deployment training will be her first exposure to the supply trade in several years, she noted, and she welcomes the opportunity to be in the position of student rather than teacher.
“I feel very accomplished in my civilian career but I do like being in a place where I am a learner, where I am humbled.”
Difficult as it may have been to leave her students, Sgt Chia took the opportunity to impart an important lesson in civics and democracy.
“I shared the seriousness of being a soldier before Remembrance Day, before I had to leave for pre-deployment training” she said, “and how that relates to what we’d talked about in terms of government and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that we stand for. They understand that not all people have the same kinds of rights and privileges that we do. Some of them have come from countries where those rights are infringed upon.”
Reservists are not obliged to deploy internationally but Sgt Chia decided, having completed a Master of Education earlier this year, that it was time to give more attention to the military side of her career.
“I told my chain of command, ‘I want to go on a tour.’ I’m still a pretty young person – I’m only 31 – and I don’t have any dependents right now. I have parents who are in really good health, so I think this is a great time to deploy.”
“A life of service to Canada and her people, especially young people, is the strong sense of duty in my heart,” she added. “In both regards, I feel like I’m not done yet.”
This will be her second time in the Middle East, following a six-month deployment to Afghanistan in 2011.
“Given my age and life experience at the time, I feel I really made a good experience of Afghanistan,” Sgt Chia said. “So now that I’m a bit older I’m more resilient and with a lot of civilian experience to contribute, I am really looking forward to making my Kuwait experience a really good go. Not just for myself but also for my deployed colleagues.”
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