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Military-style summer vacation
Yellowknife teen accepted to Canadian Forces Program Raven

Sara Wilson
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, Sept 05, 2012

For some high school students, lounging and relaxing throughout the summer months is the perfect way to spend their vacation. Not for Pte. Devon Allooloo though, who voluntarily endured six weeks of military training.

NNSL photo/graphic

Commodore Scott Bishop, left, Pte. Devon Allooloo, Smokey Mohan and Cathy Allooloo at Devon's graduation ceremony from the Canadian Forces' Program Raven in Esquimalt, B.C. Devon received the Best Candidate Award - a distinction for overall best performance. - photo courtesy of Pte. Devon Allooloo

The 16-year-old Yellowknifer was accepted to take part in the Canadian Forces' Program Raven on June 6 in Esquimalt, B.C. for a six-week navy training program intended to show potential recruits what military life is all about.

The summer training and employment program is for aboriginal youth from across Canada from the ages of 16 to 29.

The national program's aim is to build bridges into the aboriginal communities in Canada and to make aboriginal youth aware of potential military or civilian careers with Canada's military.

"They taught us first aid, how to put out fires with fire extinguishers, how to clean a C7 service rifle - which is our machine gun - how to use it and how to deal with the stoppages in the weapon," Allooloo said.

"We also learned about gas mask training and biological warfare, how to tell the difference between chemical and nuclear warfare and how we have to deal with it, "

It was pretty advanced training for the second-youngest recruit, but training that will last a lifetime and will move him closer to his career path, according to Allooloo.

"I want to do some work in Canada and overseas like peacemaking and peacekeeping," he said." I'm working in the military now. I just registered as a part-time reservist as I'm doing my school. I'm doing training, parades, compass reading, and driving snowmobiles."

A highlight for the young soldier was a drill with gas masks and tear gas.

"We got to go inside a gas hut with tear gas and (we learned how to) put on a gas mask, it was really fun," Allooloo said. "We got to see people throw up, and you can't take off your mask; you have to clean it while the mask is still on."

Vomiting aside, the program also taught life lessons as well as military training tactics, Allooloo said.

"It teaches you a lot about discipline, and how far you can push yourself," he said. "If you join the military you are always physically fit and in super good shape.

"You (also) get to learn about the workplace and what employers want from you and how you can follow through with it."

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