Former cadet inspires Sea Cadets to take on new adventures

Dave Mathieson
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AMHERST - Sea cadets got a first hand look at where their training could lead them in life.

"I was in Army Cadets for seven years, and then I was in reserve for four year, and now I've been in the regular force for almost two years," said Sarah Munroe, Able Seaman with the Canadian Navy.

Munroe was giving a presentation at the Amherst Armouries to Members of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Amherst.

Munroe is from Musquodoboit Harbour and she recently returned from a six-month deployment in the Indian Ocean.

"We were there to conduct maritime patrols and we did boardings."

Munroe, who is 24-years-old, was on board the HMCS Toronto, which holds 250 people.

During her deployment her crew boarded 41 vessels and seized over $500 million in illegal narcotics, mostly heroin.

"The first time we found drugs I was sleeping, and when I woke up everybody was saying, ‘we found drugs we found drugs.'"

She said she was nervous the first couple times they boarded another ship but after a while the nerves stopped.

"After boarding five ships you get used to it, and then we ended up doing 41 so it became routine."

If they did seize drugs they were not allowed to arrest the crew but they did take the drugs and blow them up.

The crew would build a little boat, put the drugs on the boat with C-4 explosives, put the boat out to sea and then blow up the drugs.

Munroe said life on board the Toronto could be exciting, but it could be tough.

"We went on a lot of tours and met a lot of different people, so you meet different cultures and learn about different people. It's a lot of fun and really interesting."

The toughest part about the tour was never being able to get into a routine.

"It was hard to get into a routine because it would change so often," said Munroe. "Once you got into a routine you would get a new one. It was tough on the sleep schedule."

She said being a girl on the ship was a bit of an eye opener.

"The boys don't treat you like a girl, they treat you like a boy and they'll say things as if a girl isn't there," said Munroe. "Nothing is filtered but that's fine, they show respect. It was interesting to see how guys behave behind closed doors."

Since returning home many cadets have told Munroe they'd like to follow in her footsteps.

"They say they'd like to do exactly what I've done and, if they're like me and like to try new things, this is a good opportunity to go out there and do that."

She encourages cadets who want to join the Navy to join the reserves after graduating from high school, and to get an education, whether it's at a community college or a university.

While in the reserves, Munroe was stationed in Halifax.

"The reserves shows you the basic structure and the same routines as the regular forces and lets you go to school and gives you full employment in the summer," said Munroe. "And you can use that money for your next semester or for books or if you're paying rent. It's a big help."

Munroe said she enjoyed her time on the Toronto and would like to go on another deployment.

"The Toronto is still over there with a new crew but they should be back probably after Christmas, around February," said Munroe "I can't go on any operations for another year but I can go in for small sails or fish patrols.

"For now I'm working towards getting a promotion and I might do some more schooling that is more IT based for my trade.”




Organizations: Army Cadets, Canadian Navy, HMCS Toronto

Geographic location: Toronto, Musquodoboit Harbour, Indian Ocean Halifax

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