Training Ravens is personal for one Sonar Operator

Candidates a part of the Raven program conduct their PWT level 1 (Personal Weapon Test) at Heals range, Saanich, BC on 3 August, 2023. Photo Credit: Corporal William Gosse, MARPAC Imaging.

Nathalie Garcia
Chief of Staff, CANSUBFOR HQ

Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) Dylan Gallant, a Sonar operator onboard HMC Submarine Victoria, has a very personal reason for volunteering as directing staff for the Raven program: his adopted brother.

The Raven Program is one of five Indigenous Summer Programs offered by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) that aims to foster positive connections with First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities across the country while raising awareness amongst participants of career opportunities within the CAF.

Participants begin with a three-day Cultural Experience, learning traditional Indigenous values and teachings to help them connect to Canada’s diverse cultural history tthrough the guidance of Indigenous teachers and Elders. Having youth gain a deeper understanding of their roots is exactly why PO2 Gallant was happy to support the program.

“My brother, Jordan, is Saik’uz First Nation from Vanderhoof, B.C. I grew up seeing his efforts to reconnect with his biological family and his culture. It wasn’t always easy,” PO2 Gallant said.

Raven is based on the Army Primary Reserve basic military qualification course supplemented with Indigenous cultural teachings. Participants learn military skills such as drill, map and compass navigation, first aid, outdoor field craft and others. Once complete, they can choose to join the regular or reserve Force. If they choose not to join, they return home with newfound skills and experience they can share with others in their community.

“I think any military member who is given the opportunity to be a part of the Raven staff should jump at it! It definitely opens your eyes and provides an introduction to the indigenous cultures from across Canada.  I have learned as much from the students as they have from me,” PO2 Gallant said.

The Raven Program is in its 20th year and runs each summer from July to mid-August at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt.

HMCS Venture seeks volunteer staff and instructors annually in support of the Raven Program that takes place in July and August. Anyone interested can contact Captain Joel Unruh, the Raven Officer-In-Charge, at

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