Sergeant Caroline Linteau: Meteorologist ad astra

News Article / March 23, 2016

By Mishall Rehman

If there’s one thing Sergeant Caroline Linteau has learned in her 14-year career with the Canadian Armed Forces, it’s that weather, though often overlooked, is a crucial component for effective CAF operations. As a meteorology technician, it is her job to track the weather and stay up-to-date to allow the Navy, Army and Air Force to carry out missions safely.

Sergeant Linteau started her career with the Royal Canadian Air Force after working for several years as a mail carrier for Canada Post. In search of a better life and realizing she needed a new challenge in her life, she joined the military in 2002 and never looked back. However, Sergeant Linteau’s first choice for a trade was not meteorology technician. “In my life,” she says, “I always say ‘nothing happens for nothing’, so I joined in this trade, and I just love it.”

She believes it’s an exciting time to be a woman in the Canadian military, as new doors open for servicewomen and they reach new heights. Sergeant Linteau strongly encourages other women to join. “I really think women bring a new, fresh air to the military, since women think differently than men,” she says. “This makes some changes at all levels in the military. It changes the diversity [for topics] like conflict resolution, different points of view, political view, etc.”

Her job as a meteorology technician requires her to track the weather and report any significant changes. The weather can make a significant impact for the military, and “it makes a huge impact to an operation,” she says.

For the Air Force, keeping track of the weather is important for the safety of a flight. “The ceiling, visibility, and winds are extremely important to land and take off, but during the flight, it is our job ensure that there is not icing and turbulence in the air, because that can cause crashes,” Sergeant Linteau says.

For the Army, humidity and the wind play a significant role when firing weapons. And for the Navy, winds determine the intensity of waves.

In 2008, when she was deployed to Afghanistan for seven months, she got a chance to see first-hand how important the weather can be to an operation. “I learned you have to be accurate with what you do and pay attention to all in an operation because it changes so quickly, something that surprised me,” she recalls. “You have to be aware all the time.”

She is currently teaching at the Canadian Forces School of Meteorology in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she imparts her wisdom and experiences to new recruits hoping to make their mark in this trade. The school is the CAF training establishment for meteorological technicians, offering basic and advanced courses in meteorology including basic occupation qualification, basic weather observer and briefer, marine weather observer, and specialized weather support.

Looking back, Sergeant Linteau doesn’t regret her decision, and acknowledges the military has made a significant change in her life. “The military developed me into a better person, in my point of view,” she says. “I can now be in front of a group and talk without any issues – compared to before that, when I talked, I couldn’t place two sentences together without being uncomfortable. My level of confidence has increased considerably.”

This article is reprinted with permission from Canadian Military Family Magazine.

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