The first female General in Combat Arms

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Raising the bar for women in the Canadian Army, Brigadier-General Jennie Carignan is the first female General in Combat Arms.

“My journey in the military started as a young adult looking for something more. I was attending CEGEP in Sherbrooke, Quebec in science and I was very much interested in engineering. So, I took it from there,” said BGen Carignan. She went on to attend Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont. and studied fuels and materials engineering.

BGen Carignan, who joined the CA in 1986, recently went back to school – this time at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto – prior to her promotion to brigadier-general on June 15. The six-month course focussed on national security and was attended by executives in the Canadian public service, representatives of foreign countries and the more obvious Canadian Armed Forces officers.

Between her first degree and this latest course, BGen Carignan also earned a Master’s in Business Administration (Université Laval) and a Master’s of Military Arts and Science (United States Army School of Advanced Military Studies in Kansas). “It’s very important to learn something.”

Learning has much to do with why BGen Carignan remains with the CA after 30 years of service. “There are always good opportunities and I have taken them as they came. I work for four reasons: I want to contribute a little something and I do this through my military service; I want to learn and for me this is very important; I need to make a small difference; and, I have to earn a living. I can do all this through the Army,” explained the recent Order of Military Merit recipient.

When BGen Carignan arrives in Ottawa to take on the position of Chief of Staff of Army Operations, learning fast will again be necessary. “It is basically overseeing the day-to-day activities of the Army. I will learn more once I get there.”

BGen Carignan’s mindfulness, as always, will be rock-solid in her newest role as the Canadian Army Chief of Staff, Operations. “I am looking forward to contributing to the Army’s readiness and well-being. My intention is to support the Commander of the Army in leading this great institution to the best of my knowledge and abilities.”

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