PRIVATE VICKY LAPLANTE-BEAULIEU: I’m Private Vicky Laplante-Beaulieu, from Burnaby, B.C. I’m a Postal Clerk with the Canadian Armed Forces Postal Unit, posted at CFB Trenton.
Sending and receiving mail for 100,000 personnel in a timely manner is a critical job. That’s why Postal Clerks have an integral role in the Canadian Armed Forces. They go where the Forces go — and they send mail to virtually every continent, often to locations where getting the mail to the right place, on time, is a difficult task.
PRIVATE VICKY LAPLANTE-BEAULIEU: We’d receive the mail every morning around 7:30. And then from there we would X-ray it to make sure there’s no illegal contraband, no aerosols, or anything that would otherwise be dangerous goods. And from there we sort it to each mission, making sure that they go to the correct one. And then from there we just bag them up and send them off to Transport so they can get that sent out on service flights or commercial carriers.
Postal Clerks ensure families stay connected overseas and that every letter or parcel gets to its destination — be it the middle of the ocean, the desert, or the Arctic — anywhere Canadian Armed Forces personnel happen to be.
PRIVATE VICKY LAPLANTE-BEAULIEU: Right now, we have 25 active missions, but they change every day. We can get more in the next month even, so there’s a lot of missions and a lot of mail. Besides the obvious operations section where we send it overseas, we have members who work in the retail post office. So that’s the one where people are more familiar with, with the customer service, the counter, where you can buy stamps and send your parcels. So that is more what “inside Canada” does; overseas members also do the same type of roles but of course, they’re dealing with international mail and parcels. It may seem old-fashioned, because you think postal clerks, you think old-school mail, but you know what — it’s always evolving. You get to see new things every day.
PRIVATE VICKY LAPLANTE-BEAULIEU: We take care of the morale. So our job is to make sure that our members overseas get their mail, they receive all the hand-written drawings from their kids, letters from their wife, and just — it makes them happy, and so I feel like our main job is the morale of the troops. My favourite part of the job is definitely the people — both the customers and the people that I work with. They’re different, unique people every single day. So you can’t go wrong. There are just so many different stories that you get, so it just makes for an interesting day.
After completing their training requirements, Postal Clerks are posted to a military post office across Canada, the Canadian Forces Postal Unit in Trenton, or on the coast in a Fleet Mail Office.
PRIVATE VICKY LAPLANTE-BEAULIEU: You get to work for usually about a year in that type of scenario, and then you come back to Trenton and then you get to complete your financial training.
And from there, you’re able to handle the cash, and all the stamps… You’re always a soldier first. So regardless of the training you get as a Postal Clerk, when the time comes, if you need to put on your tack vest and get your weapon, you are good-to-go, you’re ready.
Later in their careers, Postal Clerks also work in Central Registries. That's where they control and distribute official correspondence, both classified and unclassified, as well as process message traffic and official files.
PRIVATE VICKY LAPLANTE-BEAULIEU: There’s lots of possibilities. You can become the Central Detachment Warrant, you can move up to the unit Sergeant Major, you can even go all the way up to the Chief.
And, Postal Clerks can be also deployed overseas to support current military operations.
PRIVATE VICKY LAPLANTE-BEAULIEU: Having a positive attitude and willing to learn new things is going to get you far, not just this trade, but in the military in general.
PRIVATE VICKY LAPLANTE-BEAULIEU: This is so different, but so, so rewarding. There are so many benefits to being part of this community that you can’t go wrong. It’s a career you can be proud about, something you can do for the rest of your life. You get a great pension, benefits… It’s everything I could have asked for — I wish I had joined earlier.