Lieutenant (Navy) (Lt(N)) Gillian Herlinger joined the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) at just 19 years old, because she had always been drawn to non-traditional jobs and activities, and because she had made a pact with a friend.
“A friend had been a Sea Cadet and told me that he had always thought of joining the Naval Reserve,” recalls Lt(N) Herlinger.
“We agreed to join the reserves together, but in the end, he kept procrastinating. So one day I just walked into the recruiting office without him. He never did join, and I ended up enjoying it so much that I transferred to Regular Force two years later.”
Lt(N) Herlinger has had a storied career over her 25 years of service in which she has served in many different roles.
“I originally joined as a sonar operator, but halfway through my career I applied for the University Training Program for Non-Commissioned Members (NCM) and was accepted to become a Naval Warfare Officer (NWO),” said Lt(N) Herlinger.
“I found NWO training and the subsequent quest for a bridge watchkeeping ticket very challenging. As an NCM and a university student, I had never failed anything in my career. There were times when I was certain I would never make it, but in the end, I did.”
However, Lt(N) Herlinger was not alone in achieving this success, as she had the support of her navigating officer aboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Vancouver, Lt(N) Amy Clements.
“She was someone for whom mentorship came so naturally she made it…