A smile goes a long way

Influential Women in Aviation at 4 Wing

Joy Smith, Reporter

The first thing most people notice about Major (Maj) Alana Cadieux is her smile, it’s always there. At work, running a marathon or spending time with friends and family her smile never seems to waver.

Born and raised in Prince Edward Island, Maj Cadieux spent her childhood playing sports and working on her parent’s berry farm. During her last year of high school Maj Cadieux attended a career expo, a poster of a female climbing a mountain caught her eye, “I visited a lot tables and the only one that truly caught my eye was this poster and low and behold it was the recruiting table for the military. I immediately signed up.”

Maj Cadieux received her call for an interview with the Military as an Aerospace Controller in 1994. She completed Basic Training in Chilliwack, British Columbia. After various on the job experiences (OJE) in Ontario and Nova Scotia, Maj Cadieux attended the University of Dalhousie and in 1998 graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geophysics. She went on to complete the Aerospace Control course and was posted to Cold Lake in 2000. Maj Cadieux has held several positions on 4 Wing since arriving in Cold Lake, she is currently posted to 4 Wing Headquarters as the
Chief of Staff.

Throughout her military career, Maj Cadieux has been an advocate of friendship through sport; demonstrating her love of competitiveness, teamwork, and leadership. “Sports is the core pillar and passion of who I am. Growing up and to this day, that is how I made friends, how I learned to lead and to be led, how to make goals, plan and work towards them and most importantly, how to be part of something bigger than myself and contribute 110%. These values that I learned from sports are applied to all areas of my life: career, family, education,” stated Maj Cadieux. “The CAF has given and supported me with amazing opportunities in sport that have led me to new friends and experiences that I will cherish; rest assured though, that each one was competed for and earned! To represent Canada and the CAF at International competitions is an amazing experience and each time I had the privilege of saluting to our National Anthem still brings goose bumps.”

Maj Cadieux has represented the CAF proudly in several events as a long-distance runner. “Running is a passion and a lifestyle for me; to be able to run for the Canadian Armed Forces and represent my country is truly a privilege and honour.” Maj Cadieux has competed in the Military World Games in Korea and in International Military Sports Council (CISM) Marathon events in Surinam, South America, Eindhoven, Netherlands and Turin, Italy. She ran in the 2014 Boston Marathon and is a competitive hockey player in the off season. Friends have commented that Maj Cadieux not only smiles while she is running, but you can see her grin through her helmet when playing hockey too. “Sports and the foundations it has taught me have helped me with my career in the CAF.”

In honour of Women’s History Month we asked Maj Cadieux what advice she would give girls considering a career in the CAF. “I would tell them that they would find a group of people with similar likes and that a career like this definitely gives you a sense of belonging, and a camaraderie that you may not find in any other field. And, why not? It does not have to be forever, but give it a try – you never know where it may take you!

Alana Cadieux
Here is Maj Cadieux running the marathon at the 2014 Military World Games in Korea. Photo: Submitted