REFRIGERATION AND MECHANICAL SYSTEMS TECHNICIAN
I’m Aviator Brandon Simms, I’m from St-John’s, Newfoundland, I’m a Refrigeration and Mechanical Systems Technician posted to CFB Trenton.
And I’m Corporal Steven Blundon from Newmarket, Ontario, a Refrigeration and Mechanical Systems Technician posted to CFB Trenton.
BLUNDON: Refrigeration and Mechanical Systems Technicians, or RM Techs, install and service the refrigeration systems for our food storage lockers and the air conditioning units on base here at home and on deployments overseas.
SIMMS: Here at home, most of what we do is service calls on refrigeration and mechanical systems in headquarters buildings, shops, garages and barracks, and in the kitchens of the messes.
SIMMS: It could be something from: changing a belt in a filter, to replacing an entire HVAC system or working on a rooftop.
SIMMS: We also do a bit of steam work, air compressors, and ventilation systems. RM Techs service aircraft hangar doors and the mechanical components of our aircraft radar systems and of course, we’re soldiers first and foremost.
BLUNDON: We also maintain, operate and rebuild aircraft arresting equipment. That’s the gear which acts as an emergency braking system for a CF-18 when it lands. It can stop a fighter in under 300 metres.
BLUNDON: Here at 86 ASU in Trenton, we mainly work on the aircraft arresting systems but we also get time to go over to the refrigeration shop to help maintain the heating and air conditioning and refrigeration on base.
SIMMS: Working on arrestor gear is interesting. It’s definitely a bigger part of our trade than a lot of people let on to believe. I mean, we do air shows across Canada basically all summer, doing soil installs, concrete installs. It’s just amazing, actually, what the arrestor gear side has to offer.
BLUNDON: To me, the diversity is the best part of the job. You’re not just specializing in one thing like most civilian jobs. We do a bit of everything.
BLUNDON: A good day as an RM Tech: you could be going from one job doing an overhead door, the next job doing radar towers, and then you can jump onto a roof to do the rooftop units, and working with HVAC. And then the next day, you could be coming into our shop working on the aircraft arresting systems. It’s one trade where you’re going to have to learn multiple different skill-sets.
SIMMS: I love the fact that it’s versatile. We have nothing that’s the same each day. It’s always different. When you go on deployment, that’s when things get really exciting.
SIMMS: We have to make sure that all the tents and server rooms are kept cool and running.
BLUNDON: If serving as a Refrigeration and Mechanical Systems Technician sounds like something you want to try, you’ll need a good background in math and science and a willingness to keep learning new things all the time. There’s a physical strength component to the job, too.
BLUNDON: To be a good RM Tech, you need to be good with your hands, and you need to be good with your mind. You need to have problem-solving skills, because the trade is ever-evolving and you need to be ever-learning.
SIMMS: After your basic military training, you’ll be ready for the School of Military Engineering in Gagetown. When you leave Gagetown, you’ll be posted to an Army, Navy or Air Force base in Canada and you’ll be ready for deployment wherever there’s a need for RM Techs.
SIMMS: You start doing little things here and there, and then you eventually get tasked with bigger things, working more independently, going out to calls by yourself or with a co-worker, and troubleshooting by yourself. You work up step by step and then you eventually get more training to become a journeyman.
BLUNDON: There are refrigeration and mechanical systems technicians on every base in Canada, so we’re pretty much good-to-go anywhere, which is another great thing about this trade.
SIMMS: I’ve been all across Canada, even in the first two years of being in the trade, just by doing air installs on the arrestor gear systems. I’ve been to Quesnel, I’ve been to Inuvik, I’ve been to Yellowknife doing installs up north.
BLUNDON: My favourite part about being an RM Tech is getting a skill base that will allow me to not only do my trade better in the military, but help me for when I retire out of the military.