Sailor Profile: Meet SLt Jessica Pelletier

Sub-Lieutenant Jessica Pelletier

Sub-Lieutenant Jessica Pelletier conducts a proficiency shoot with the C9 rifle.
Photo by Capt Lisa Evong, HMCS Nanaimo PAO

Captain Lisa Evong, HMCS Nanaimo PAO ~

Sub-Lieutenant Jessica Pelletier:
Rank: NWO, Qualified Bridge Watchkeeper
Hometown: Matane, QC
Years of Service: Four
Home Unit: HMCS D’Iberville

The day Sub-Lieutenant (SLt) Jessica Pelletier arrived at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier for basic training four years ago she was given her first challenge – to learn English.

“I was the only French-speaking female; I had to share a room with seven other females that only spoke English. Basic training is all about teamwork and communication, which is harder when you can’t understand each other.”

She was born and raised in Matane, on the Gaspé Peninsula in eastern Quebec, population 15,000. Naval Reservists were almost unheard of in her small-town world, and certainly not an immediate career choice. But a chance encounter with a Canadian Forces Recruiting table at a race in neighbouring Amqui presented a path to adventure. 

She persevered and overcame the language barrier between herself and her English-speaking comrades and completed all her Naval Warfare Officer (NWO) courses.

“I succeeded because I kept pushing to understand and learn as much as I could – quitting was not an option.”

During the NWO course, officers are taught to manage and coordinate the operations, ensure the safety of the ship’s company, and direct the ship’s movements on behalf of the Commanding Officer. 

“Some days were harder than others, but I continued thanks to my team. We supported each other and I liked the challenge.”

Graduating Naval Warfare Officer Phase IV was a highlight for her because it had a high failure rate.

At age 25, she is a qualified Bridge Watchkeeper on board HMCS Nanaimo – as a lookout and a deck officer she is responsible for the safe navigation of the ship. She is also qualified to drive the ship.

Nanaimo and HMCS Whitehorse were on Operation Caribbe, facilitating the interdiction of illegal drug trafficking in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Both ships returned to Esquimalt last week.

“I think the best part of being in the Royal Canadian Navy is meeting amazing people from all across Canada and overseas.”

The military is known for having members from all demographics, from across the country, with different cultures and perspectives, just like SLt Pelletier.

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  1. Walt Dettwiler says:

    Well done

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