Stewardship in the Royal Canadian Navy: News from the Pacific Navy
S3 Lorraine Cléroux
I joined the Royal Canadian Navy for several reasons. Taking up a career challenge that I had in my youth, which is to serve my country, and my passion for everything that happens on and in the water.
Also, to discover the culture of unknown countries and the benefit of long-term financial security.
I chose the flight attendant position because it relates to many of my previous jobs such as food and hotel services, school bus driver and first responder.
In the Canadian Armed Forces, the work of a flight attendant can be performed on board submarines or ships (all types) and on airplanes. On military bases, we work in housing and as drivers for senior officers.
On board a frigate such as HMCS Winnipeg, where I am currently assigned, the position includes tasks for various departments, such as food, finance, first aid and of course being a sailor above all.
A Steward is part of the Logistics department. We take care of the inventory and supply of the various messes with soft drinks, alcohol, candy, ship’s paraphernalia and other items. The accounting is done by the canteen supervisor, and this person works alongside the other members of the Logistics department.
On the food side, we serve meals to the Officers, due to the configuration of the dining rooms. At events or just for fun, a carved fruit may appear in the middle of the table. I can confirm that food carving is a skill that requires a lot of practice and duct tape (depending on sea conditions).
Being a mom helps me plan the preparation of “touski”, a French expression for “everything-that-remains”, or whatever is left over from the morning or the day before in order to avoid waste.
Secondary tasks include certification in advanced first aid. On board a frigate, we are the ones who answer the on-board doctor’s call when a crew member is injured. We are also called upon to attend qualification exercises, which involve practicing casualty scenarios and providing first aid such as CPR.
So what does it take to be the Commanding Officer’s Steward?
Passion for the job, attention to detail, sense of professional organization, flexibility and resourcefulness.
It takes good interpersonal skills and a love of socializing. Being in good physical shape is a plus as you are constantly going up and down the various decks with your hands loaded with hot food as the ship rocks from port to starboard. So you need a good balance.
I do not regret having enlisted a little later in life because within this military family age no longer counts, only the solidarity of living fully each day guides us like a beacon until our return.