Our people: Corporal Adrian Osmond

News Article / March 5, 2020

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By Second Lieutenant Leo Zhou

Corporal Adrian Osmond is an Aerospace Telecommunication and Information Systems Technician (ATIS Tech) at 12 Wing Operations Support Squadron (12 OSS) in Shearwater, Nova Scotia.  “We’re the general go-to techs in the air force,” he says.

The ATIS Tech trade has a wide range of responsibilities, including radar, satellite communications systems, and information technology equipment maintenance.

“We are trained to do all sorts of different things,” says Corporal Osmond. “The Army and Navy have several trades that fulfill the same roles, but ATIS Tech responsibilities encompass all of these roles.” Corporal Osmond works as an airfield technician at 12 OSS, with a focus on maintaining meteorological systems and airfield navigational aids such as radar. Air Traffic Control and the Meteorological technicians rely on the equipment Corporal Osmond maintains on a daily basis. “Meteorological and radar systems are my bread and butter,” he says.

Before enrolling in 2014, Corporal Osmond was working as a fitness manager and personal trainer. “I was working 60 hours a week and wanted a new career.” So he looked to his father—an Army Land Communication and Information Systems Technician—for inspiration.

After basic training, Corporal Osmond attended the Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics in Kingston, Ontario, for the year-long Performance Oriented Electronics Training course and the Qualification Level 3 course. He spent one year in Shearwater doing on-the-job-training with 12 OSS before going to 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, for his Qualification Level 5 course, a general overview of the different equipment ATIS techs maintain.

In his free time, Corporal Osmond enjoys going to the gym to stay fit, and playing ping pong at the wing. There is a ping pong table in the control tower where he works, and he plays every day with his colleagues to maintain his skills. He has his own paddle.

He recently returned from a six-month deployment to Canadian Forces Station Alert, Nunavut. “People don’t realize how far north it is,” he says. “Alert is actually closer to Moscow than it is to Ottawa.” He worked as the station’s only airfield technician.

“In Alert, I was one guy doing the job that usually a group of techs would be doing,” he says, noting that he had access to assistance from 12 Wing and 8 Wing Trenton but, ultimately, if something broke, he needed to find a solution and make it work. “It was extremely challenging and rewarding.”

He describes how in Alert, they really take care of the people in order to keep morale up. The food was amazing and there were many social activities. One such activity was a beach day in which Corporal Osmond’s ping pong practice here in 12 Wing paid off: He won the beach day ping pong tournament. With Corporal Osmond’s background in fitness and recent tour to the Arctic, it’s not a surprise when he says his favourite part of being in the Forces is getting “paid to exercise and educate myself.”

He was deployed from March to September during what is known as the summer tour. About 100 personnel are in Alert during the summer, including scientists and NATO personnel. Only around 50 people work at the station during the winter months. He recalled 24-hour-daylight for most of his tour and cardboard around the windows to block out light so that people could sleep.

The temperature in the summer typically ranges from anywhere between -20 and 0 degrees Celsius, but Corporal Osmond says it doesn’t feel that cold due to the lack of humidity in the High Arctic. During one particularly warm spell, he remembers when the temperature rose to 25 degrees Celsius for a whole week. “I had equipment overheating in the North Pole,” he says. “I had to steal some fans from the cleaners to cool the equipment.”

Corporal Osmond is getting married in September 2020 and expects to be in Shearwater for another year or two before being posted to a new challenge. In the future, he hopes to work in space operations, supervising a team responsible for reporting on and maintaining ground systems used by satellites, or in a support position for Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.

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