Being a father and a member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is not an easy path to take, particularly if you are on a career trajectory taking you all the way to the top.
Prior to Father’s Day CAF Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Kevin West took a moment out of his day to reflect on what being a father and a member of the CAF has been like for him and his family.
“For three years I was a single parent. It wasn’t easy because I was working a lot of hours, I was away, I was deployed and I had a lot of responsibilities I was trying to juggle,” said West.
West’s two boys now ages 25 and 28 have entered into careers of their own. One is a professional welder and the other is graduating from basic training at Canadian Forces Base Saint-Jean at the end of June.
The boys grew up as military brats, and West attributes that upbringing to their ability to be flexible and adaptable. They are able to move into unfamiliar situations with ease and make friends easily.
Being a military family influenced where the boys chose to settle as well as their career paths. West explained the family spent time posted to 415 MP Sqn in Greenwood, where he served as a crew member, crew lead, AES Op Training Non-Commissioned Member (NCM) and Squadron Operations NCM. In February of 2000, he was posted to 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron in Shearwater.
The family then moved to the city of Winnipeg in June of 2004 when West was promoted to Master Warrant Officer and posted to 1 Canadian Air Division HQ, as the A3 Maritime AES Op. Because of his career in the CAF his family experienced the best of a small rural community and the benefits what a fair sized city had to offer.
“I’m proud of both of them. One of the boys settled in Winnipeg and made his home and career there. I do admit I am a little surprised the one who joined the military is enjoying basic training so much. You don’t hear that a lot. I think he knows he made the right decision. But I’m not sure he is that happy I’ll be speaking at his graduation,” laughed West.
West was appointed to his current position as the CAF Chief Warrant Officer on July 5, 2013.
Before marrying his wife who is also a military member, West used the services of Shearwater Military Family Resource Centres (MFRC). He appreciates what the MFRCs have to offer military fathers. He turned to them for help when he needed support, and the staff and programs were there for him and his boys.
West was looking forward to Father’s Day and spending time with his boys. Although they had to rearrange schedules and travel plans it the family was able to get together. According to West, the family is military through and through.