From Corner Brook to Coxswain of a warship 

Chief Petty Officer First Class Sue Frisby

Chief Petty Officer First Class Sue Frisby, HMCS Winnipeg Coxswain, near the coast of Hawaii. Photo: Sailor First Class Melissa Gonzalez.

Capt Christine MacNeil, 
HMCS Winnipeg PAO

Chief Petty Officer First Class Sue Frisby neé Churchill

Where did you get your CAF career started?

I was raised in Corner Brook, Nfld. I was a member of the 511 Humber Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron for seven years. The cadets offered me many opportunities, such as training camps in the summers, including General Training, Basic Survival, and Survival Instructor. After graduating from Herdman Collegiate in 1997, I thought travelling the world and being paid would be awesome, so I decided to join the Canadian Armed Forces.

What is your military background?

I was supposed to start Basic Military Qualification Training (BMQT), known as Boot Camp or Basic Training, in St. Jean, Que., in January 1998. However, due to the ice storm in Quebec that year, it was delayed until April.

After completing BMQT, I was sent to Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt, B.C., for the Naval Acoustics Operator (now Sonar Operator) course. As I advanced through the trade, more classes, as well as promotions, followed.

In May of 2021, I was promoted to Chief Petty Officer First Class, the highest rank for a non-commissioned member (NCM) in the CAF. I was posted to Maritime Forces Pacific as the Headquarters Chief. In February of 2022, I was posted to HMCS Winnipeg as the Coxswain, the pinnacle of the Royal Canadian Navy NCM’s career.

How would you describe your job?

I am responsible for morale, welfare, and our crew’s good order and discipline. People are my job and the best part of it. Through my leadership and mentorship, future generations should feel empowered to be their best and do their best to make this organization thrive.

My favourite part of the job is the people and our potential as an organization.

Which ships have you served in?

Over the years, I have sailed on both frigates and warships and deployed many times, including Operation Apollo on HMCS Ottawa in 2002.

A long way from home, I’m currently in the South China Sea as part of a six-month deployment on board HMCS Winnipeg.

What is your most memorable opportunity in the CAF?

My most memorable/coolest experience/opportunity cannot be limited to one thing. Jumping out of a helicopter in the middle of the ocean is pretty darn cool. Simulating wargames off the coast of Hawaii and firing exercise torpedoes at real submarines are also pretty cool. Visiting places such as Thailand, China, Hong Kong, UAE and many more – is super cool, but it always comes back to the people I have met and memories I have built with lifelong friendships I would never have known had I never signed up.

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