International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. IWD has occurred for well over a century, and IWD is not country, group or organization specific. It is also a good time to pause, reflect and learn more about the distinguished service of women who have served or continue to serve in The Royal Montreal Regiment (RMR). In honour of IWD, the RMR Foundation is publishing profiles of service of some of the women who have served (and continue to serve) in our ranks.
Westmount, Quebec – 08 March 2022: Sergeant Brigitte O’Driscoll joined the RMR in January 2013 and is currently serving as a Section Commander in “B” Company, the RMR’s operational rifle company. Aside from her Infantry trade and leadership training, Sergeant O’Driscoll has military qualifications in Small Arms, Tactical Aviation Door Gunner, Heavy Machine Gunner (.50 cal), All Terrain Vehicle and snowmobile operator, Army Communication and Information Systems (ATCIS) Operator, and more.
Raised in Lachine and currently residing in Hudson, Quebec, Sergeant O’Driscoll is currently a Firefighter with the Hudson Fire Department. When asked what she liked the most about being a member of the RMR, Sergeant O’Driscoll responded by saying “The challenges as well as the friendships. No other job will push you as much as the infantry. As well, the friendships that I’ve made and the people that I’ve had the opportunity to work with have only made me a better person. I’ve had some great leaders who’ve inspired me to be the best version of myself and I hope that I can continue to inspire the younger generation. There’s always so much to learn from the people around you if you’re willing to do so.”
Sergeant O’Driscoll has squeezed the most out of her time in the Army Reserves, so it is hard to pin down what the coolest thing is that she’s done. Particularly when your day job in the Army is serving as a helicopter door gunner! But when pressed for some examples she told us that “Being a door gunner is definitely on top of that list. Not something I’d ever thought I’d be able to do when I first joined! Other than that, I’ve had a great time on exercises up in Northern Canada with the Arctic Response Company Group (ARCG) platoon as well as some great times down in Virginia on Fighting Warrior exercises.”
When reflecting upon her extensive service, she told us that her favourite memory of serving with the RMR was living up near the arctic: “Probably our exercise up in Chisasibi in 2014. It was my first big exercise as a newly qualified private and it really opened my eyes to the opportunities the military can offer. Living out in tents in -60 degree weather for a week was such an amazing experience. We learned to build defensive positions out of snow and ice and at the end of the week, got to unload all our ammo into them to test how well we’d built them. We were pretty surprised to see that very few of our bullets had gone through! As well, having the opportunity to learn from the local Cree and Inuit population about their culture and way of life was an enriching experience.”
Over the years, Sergeant O’Driscoll has constantly sought and accepted additional responsibilities, such as when she represented the RMR while serving as a sentinel charged with the honour of standing guard for Canada’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa (2014), and again while representing us in France and Belgium in 2018 as part of the 100th anniversary commemorative activities honouring the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers in the First World War.
Equally active outside of the RMR in her civilian life, in 2018 she has earned the “Hampstead Trophy” for her exceptional community service in having volunteered to assist the firefighters and miners of Burkina Faso as part of a CanadAfrique mission contributing to the peace, prosperity, and security of its citizens. Her advice to young soldiers in the Regiment is “Be as involved as possible. Volunteer for all the taskings, all the exercises, all the training events, and stay in the mess afterwards. Cement your position within the unit and gain as much knowledge and experience as you can. That’s what makes you a valuable member of the team and keeps you motivated down the line. Staying in the mess after training events will reinforce your unit pride and that’s also where you’ll make the most lasting friendships.”
Recently, the RMR Command Team’s Coin was presented to Sgt O’Driscoll in May 2021 for her outstanding dedication and work ethic within the RMR, setting a high standard for others to follow. For example, during Exercise CASTOR MECANISE in 2020 she served as section commander where she led multiple section attacks in a mechanized warfare environment. Her excellent leadership skills earned her one of the best ranked section attacks in a Regular Force battalion, further burnishing the Regiment’s reputation as a serious field unit.
Keep on setting the standard, Sergeant O’Driscoll!