Reserves open arms and armoury to public

“You can talk about us, but you can’t talk without us,” is the unofficial motto of the 746 Communication Squadron in Calgary. On Sun., Nov. 6, they showed students from the University of Calgary, Mount Royal, SAIT and various high schools the equipment they use to keep the army talking.

Corporal Nick Lui, a fourth-year engineering student, organized the event. He as been in the reserves since February 2001.

“This is Canada’s best-kept secret,” said Lui. “The pay is incredible. The networking opportunities are amazing because a lot of our senior officers are engineers in Calgary.”

But the squad does not just attract engineers. According to Lui, students from all faculties find ways to use their skills.

“One of our soldiers is an arts student,” explained Lui. “She does a lot of our graphics.”

When asked if the reserves can interfere with schoolwork, Lui admitted there are times when it can be tough to balance both, but said that is the situation in any job, even in the fast food industry.

“And this organization offers you flexibility you can’t find anywhere else,” Lui said.

There has been controversy at some universities about attempts to recruit students. Special interest groups have protested two recruiting events on York University campus. The Grassroots Anti-Imperialist Network and the York Federation of Students faced off against recruiters in September and October.

Cpl. Allan Gudlaugson said reservists are doing positive things across the globe with units such as the Disaster Assistance Response Team, which supports humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

“Canadian reservists are definitely doing good things around the world,” Gudlaugson said. “Our unit has sent people all over the place, most recently we’ve sent people to the Golan Heights and Afghanistan.”

According to Gudlaugson, thanks to improved communications in the Canadian Forces, soldiers deployed to remote areas can still send messages home.

“Even if you’re in the desert of Afghanistan, you can still be in touch with your family,” he said.

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