July 10, 2020

G.I. Johanne Levesque: Joining the Canadian Armed Forces Primary Reserve

Prior to October 19, 1995, I had been a stay-at-home parent, raising my two children.  But on that date, at age 33, I joined the Canadian Armed Forces Primary Reserve as an Infantry Soldier for the Grey and Simcoe Foresters.

In those times, I have to say that I was in great shape.  I ran regularly, could do chin-ups, and could do a ton of push-ups.  This level of fitness came in handy as anytime we did something wrong individually or as a group during basic training, we were punished with push-ups.  The Master Corporal also made all of us remain in the push-up position as a punishment, and if one of us fell out of that position, we would have to start all over again.  In that regard, I am proud to say that I never let down the others by falling; from a fitness standpoint, I was not the weak link.

As a wife of a military man, I had inside information.  I knew for a fact that no one could hurt me physically in basic training.  Now, don’t get me wrong: They did try to intimidate me.  A scream saying, “Private Levesque, get over here!” was never good news.  In fact, those words got screamed at me so often that I hated hearing my last name.  My crime could simply have been that my hair was sticking out of my beret.  But, in that case, I rectified the problem by taking clippers to my head.  The next time the Master Corporal saw me, while we were standing at attention during an inspection, he said, “Private Levesque, you got your hair cut!”  “Yes, Master Corporal,” I replied.  “Turn around when you’re talking to me, Private Levesque!” he screamed back at me.  As you can see, no matter what I did, I was always in trouble.