A woman who spent her formative years growing up in Sault Ste. Marie, has been chosen as the 155 Borden Gray (GC) Air Cadet Squadron’s Reviewing Officer for the 75th anniversary celebrations taking place May 5-7th, 2017.
With 35 years of distinguished service in the Canadian Armed Forces, Col Nishika Jardine began her military career in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in 1982.
“It all started with Air Cadets.” shared Col Jardine in an interview with saultonline. “I was in the 155 Air Cadet Squadron from 1976 – 1982.”
“I started high school at Sault Collegiate and then moved to Sir James Dunn when Sault Collegiate closed, and graduated grade 13, in 1982.”
The Royal Military College of Canada opened its doors to women in 1980.
“I joined with a fellow cadet named Helga Rouche, who was (air cadet) chief warrant officer at the time. In grade 13, we both applied to RMC.”
“Helga and I made several trips to Sudbury for ongoing testing. The two of us got recruited together and we went to Royal Military College at the same time.”
Col. Jardine graduated RMC with a Bachelor of Science Degree in math and physics. The Royal Military College of Canada is located in Kingston, Ontario.
“When I went to military college in 1982, the class in the 4th year were all men. I was in the third class that had women in it.”
Jardine said that, while there was some degree of harassment directed towards women early on, “I survived and thrived in spite of them. In today’s Canadian Armed Forces, there is zero tolerance for any discrimination. There is a real awareness of pushing beyond.” she said. “The Canadian Forces have always been at the forefront of embracing society; of reflecting society. From the Chief of Defense staff, on down. As a woman of colour, discrimination has never touched me in a way that diminished my career.”
Nishika is married to Jeff Jardine and has an 11 year old son, Michael. Nishika (Sardana) was born in India. She arrived in The Sault as an infant with her mother, who came to Canada to accept a job.
“I’m deeply grateful to my mother. I don’t think I would have the opportunities I have had, without us coming to Canada.”
“I’m in an army occupation, and I have served in all three environments; On Army, Navy, and Air Force bases.”
“Going to Afghanistan was the highlight of my career. I spent almost a year there. Operation Athena was a joint task forces operation. While in Afghanistan I was part of the Commander’s headquarters as one of the senior staff officers. I was in charge of the supply lines between, Canada and Kandahar. I was there in a support role.”
Since September 2015, Col. Jardine has served at the Canadian Forces College as the Deputy Commandant.
“My job as the Deputy Commandant is to manage the resources – the budget and human resources. Everything is demanding and requires my attention full time. It’s very rewarding work.”
The Canadian Forces College is located in Toronto, Ontario near Yonge St. and the (Hwy) 401. “It’s a beautiful campus.” she said.
Col. Jardine and her family live at CFB Borden. “(CFB) Borden is a great place to raise a child.”
Reflecting on her youth as a member of 155 Borden Gray (GC) Air Cadet squadron, Col. Jardine stated, “The cadet programme offers young people a demanding and challenging opportunity to develop and learn skills; To learn self-discipline and participate in community – To be part of something that is bigger than themselves.”
“Cadets offer young people opportunities for leadership, and these skills are invaluable as they move into adulthood. Air Cadets is a fabulous programme. I can’t advocate enough for the cadet programme.”
“The Sault is a great place to come from. I’m really looking forward to the anniversary weekend.”
“Being in the Canadian Armed Forces, I have travelled all across this country. We are so fortunate to live in Canada.”
Col Jardine is a voracious reader. “I’m currently reading, ‘Do not say we have nothing’.
The 75th Anniversary Review weekend is May 5 -7th, 2017.
On Friday May 5, there will be a social at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Center. Saturday May 6, the 75th Annual Review at will begin at 10:00 hrs. There will be time in the early afternoon for cadets and alumni of the 155 to interact with each other. A formal dinner will take place Sat. May 6.
On Sunday May 7 there will be a breakfast and acknowledgement of the sacrifice that Flight Officer Borden Gray made during World War Two.
For more information on the 155 Sqn and the 75th Anniversary please visit: www.155aircadets.com.
About Col. Nishika Jardine. (cfc.forces.gc.ca)
‘After completing her training in December 1986, she gained her early experience as a Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Officer in Base Maintenance organizations in all three environments: with the Army in CFB Gagetown, the Navy in CFB Esquimalt and the Air Force for three years as the Wing EME Officer at 19 Wing Comox. Additionally, she spent several years working in the field of Management Information Services for both a major crown project (Project Management Office Anti-Armour/Light Armoured Vehicle) and for the RCEME School.
Promoted to the rank of Major upon her return to Ottawa in 1997, she served first in various staff roles in Director General Land Equipment Program Management, and later with Director General Military Careers in 2000 as the EME Officer Career Manager. In 2001, she was selected as Staff Officer to the Vice Chief of the Defense Staff, a position she held until 2003 when she returned to CFB Esquimalt as the Base Maintenance and Transport Officer.
Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 2005, she was privileged to serve as the Programme Officer for National Security Studies Programme 10 at the Canadian Forces College in 2007/2008, and to command the RCEME School for the next two years. She deployed to OP ATHENA as the J4 Rear of JTF-Afghanistan HQ 5-10 from August 2010 to July 2011, and upon her return, joined the Project Management Office for the Medium Support Vehicle System as the Deputy Project Manager (Trucks).
Promoted to her current rank in June 2014, she was honoured to be appointed Director Armament Sustainment Program Management shortly thereafter. She is currently serving at the Canadian Forces College as the Deputy Commandant since September 2015.
Colonel Jardine is a graduate of the Land Forces Command and Staff College (1998/1999) and of the Canadian Forces College (2007). She also holds a Master of Defense Studies from the Royal Military College.’