Sailor Profile: HMCS Vancouver sailor inspires her family to join the RCN


Sailor First Class Gabrielle Bissainthe. Photo: Sergeant Ghislain Cotton

Lt(N) Michelle Scott, 
HMCS Vancouver PAO

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has become a family tradition for Sailor First Class (S1) Gabrielle Bissainthe, a Naval Communicator in His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Vancouver.

“My dad has shown me it’s never too late to get into the stuff you love,” S1 Bissainthe said.

Growing up in Queens, New York, Bissainthe said she was raised on her father’s Navy stories. When her family eventually settled in Toronto, he suggested she try the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Vanguard at HMCS York.

“Gabrielle joined as a cadet at 12-years-old and I would share stories of my time in the Navy with her,” said Sailor Third Class (S3) Paul Bissainthe, her father.

After growing up listening to her father talk about his time as a Gunner’s Mate in the United States Navy, S1 Bissainthe, 22, decided to try it out for herself. What she didn’t realize at the time was who was watching.

Shortly after S1 Bissainthe completed her Basic Military Qualification (BMQ), her sister Kayla joined the RCN as a Human Resources Administrator. Their father followed suit and joined the Naval Reserves as a Boatswain at HMCS York. He works as an Auto Technician in the civilian world.

“I am more than proud to hear and see [Gabrielle and Kayla’s] journeys so far, and what more they have yet to accomplish,” S3 Bissainthe said.

During her first sail, S1 Bissainthe said she experienced déjà vu, courtesy of her dad – living out firsts in the Navy just like he did.

“I was firing the .50 cal machine gun for the first time and I asked a friend to take a photo of me because I was in the same position that my dad was in a photo I have of him. I now have side-by-side photos of us doing the same thing,” she said.

S1 Bissainthe is sailing in Vancouver – currently deployed on Operations Projection and Neon before an anticipated return to Esquimalt in December. She said she enjoys every minute of it.

“Life at sea shows it is the little things like snacks from home that are important. It really doesn’t take a lot to make you happy,” she said.


The Bissainthe family. Photo supplied

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