GREAT NORTHERN PENINSULA, N.L. — A young woman who was born in Gander and has ties to the province’s Great Northern Peninsula was recently promoted to the rank of lieutenant with the Royal Canadian Navy.
Amy Tucker’s parents, Leonard and Kathleen Tucker, were both serving military postings in Gander when she was born.
Kathleen is from Langley, B.C. Leonard is from Ship Cove where the couple now live.
Tucker moved to Ship Cove in 2005. She was 13 years old at the time.
“My Dad had just retired from the Army after 32 years of service and we had spent the previous three years in Toronto, Ontario,” the 26-year-old said via e-mail. “I remember starting Grade 7 at Pistolet Bay School in Raleigh and being shocked to find only 24 people — not in my class, but in the entire school from K-9.”
Despite her initial objections to her new home, Tucker said she couldn’t help but be drawn to the landscape and culture.
“Our house sat about 100 feet from the edge of Sacred Bay and from the front porch you could sit with a cup of tea and look out to where it opened up to the open ocean,” she said. “I still miss that.”
After completing Grade 11 at Harriot Curtis Collegiate in St. Anthony, Tucker moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia where she completed high school.
In 2011 she returned to Newfoundland to begin a bachelor's degree at Memorial University, completing her degree in December 2016.
Tucker has had many role models/mentors over the years. Her Mom and Dad are among those who inspire her.
“My parents have always demonstrated to me the importance of a kindness, honesty, diligence, and a strong character and work ethic,” she said.
Tucker recalled spending four of five of her teenage years in Sea Cadets with RCSCC Leif Erikson in St. Lunaire/Griguet.
“Debbie and Chris Humby, as well as a number of other locals, deserve mention for the tight ship they ran and for the immense amount of work and personal sacrifice they put into keeping the sea cadet program going,” she said.
Tucker said the cadet program offers youth a structured, constructive activity to engage in as well as numerous opportunities for travel, friendship, and personal development.
Tucker is also inspired by her female superiors.
“I'm surrounded by a lot of strong, intelligent female professionals,” she said.
Tucker is a Reservist. She joined the Navy as a naval officer in April 2012.
The Reserve training program caters to people who are in university and want a part-time job and summer employment, she said, and is also a great option for people with civilian jobs who would like to work with the military part-time.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for students and easily one of the better decisions I've ever made.”
Tucker’s three brothers also followed in their parents’ footsteps and joined the military.
After she completed her university degree in 2016, Tucker was offered the opportunity to deploy on Operation Poseidon Cutlass.
“I deployed on HMCS Winnipeg for five months to the Indo-Asia-Pacific. We made port visits in places such as Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, South Korea, and Japan,” she said. “It was an incredible trip and I saw parts of the world I never imagined I would go to.”
Tucker is currently employed as a watch officer at the Maritime Security Operations Centre in Victoria, B.C.
“I requested a three-year contract so I could save for a master's degree and I'll be working here until 2020.”
Tucker said a promotion within the military brings with it more responsibility and more accountability. There's more of an onus on the individual to be knowledgeable, capable, and to be a mentor for newer, more junior members, she said.
“The military always stresses personal and professional development at all levels. There's always new information and new ways to improve yourself,” she noted. “The learning curve never really gets less steep.”
While the military has made her more confident and capable, she said, it can also be a challenging environment.
“There have been many times in my career I've been confronted with a task I didn't believe I had it in me to complete... and despite some minor failures every time, with instruction and persistence I've come out on the other end with a little more self-assurance.”
Her career has shown her many times, she said, all that is standing in the way of her success is her own self-doubt.
“I think that's a lesson a lot of people could definitely benefit from,” she said.
Tucker said she would absolutely encourage other women to join the military – either the Regular or Reserve force.
“I don't know if this will be my career forever, but I'll always stay a reservist,” she said. “If I go back to school or get a civilian job this will remain my part-time job... It’s a secure, well-paying job that will accommodate your schedule and help you develop professionally.”