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Veteran Tammy Monteyne, who hails from Estevan, enjoys retirement after almost 34 years of service

Tammy Monteyne reflects on her career in the Canadian Armed Forces and the difference she was able to make.

ESTEVAN - Originally from Estevan, Warrant Officer Tammy Monteyne, who retired from the Canadian Armed Forces after almost 34 years of service, said she is happy to be retired, and looks back at her military career with content.

For this year’s Remembrance Day special, the Mercury reached out to Monteyne to talk about her years of service.

Monteyne joined the military when she was 19 years old. She says that at the time, a career with the Canadian Armed Forces sounded like a good option.

“There was a recruiter that came to town and talked about life in the military. It just sounded interesting to me, and I wanted to see if I could make a career out of it," Monteyne recalled.

She joined from the recruiting centre in Regina, and her entire career was like a quilt sewed out of different pieces, locations, missions and experiences. From Regina, Monteyne flew to Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Cornwallis, N.S., for basic training.

Once all of the required training was completed, she was posted to CFB Comox in B.C., in April 1989 as a medical assistant. At that time, she was deployed to Saudi Arabia for the Gulf War with one Canadian field hospital. 

In 1994, she was posted to CFB Petawawa, Ont., where she had her family of twins – a boy and a girl – who are now adults and are looking into joining the military as well.

In 2000, Monteyne decided to specialize as an operating room technician, so she was posted to CFB Edmonton to go back to school. Edmonton remained her base through 2008, and during that time, she was also deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, as an operating room tech.

"That was a good tour. When we weren’t busy with surgeries, we were doing other training and duties," Monteyne said.

Most international deployments she was a part of lasted for six months. 

From 2008-2014, she was posted to CFB Halifax, from where she was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2009.

"That was a very busy tour. We would do up to 221 surgeries a month. We were a part of a multinational hospital, and we treated coalition forces, Afghan soldiers and many civilians, including children," Monteyne shared.

"While we were in Kandahar, we were in an active war zone, so we had a lot of rocket attacks during that tour.”

She returned to Afghanistan again in 2010 for 30 days.

"NATO had built a new hospital in Kandahar. I was a part of the team sent over to pack up the old hospital to send all the equipment back to Canada," Monteyne explained.

In 2014, Monteyne was posted to CFB Ottawa, from where she went to Erbil, Iraq, in 2016 for her final deployment.

"Iraq was a good tour; it wasn’t as busy as Afghanistan was. When we weren’t busy in the operating room, we were constantly training to prepare ourselves for casualties, including mass casualties,” Monteyne recalled.

In 2017, she was posted back to CFB Edmonton until 2021, when she received a notice that she was being medically released. Then she had her final posting to CFB Halifax, where she retired in November of that year.

"Throughout my career, I always looked forward to new postings, because even though I was sad to leave friends and whatnot, I was happy for the new experience and just being able to live throughout Canada. I always liked knowing that I was never going to work in the same place, day in and day out, for 30-some years," Monteyne shared.

“As operating room technicians, we work in civilian hospitals. So, I worked at several different hospitals throughout Canada and I appreciate all of the experience and knowledge that I gained from that."

Monteyne said, "I've seen many changes throughout my 30-some years. When I reflect back, I have no regrets. I'm very happy that I joined the military; it was a good choice for me. I enjoyed the trade, I enjoyed being a medic for 12 years, and I absolutely loved being an operating room technician. I'm proud of the work that I did when we went overseas. We were an excellent team … And I've always enjoyed being part of the military, being a part of team.

"And now I absolutely love being retired. I've always considered myself to be very old school and it just doesn't fit in with this type of military anymore … But I'm very happy about my career. If I had to do it over again, I would have done the same thing, honestly."

She added that through her military career, she experienced physical and mental injuries, and when she was released and retired, it was time to start healing.

Monteyne now resides in Porters Lake, N.S., in her forever home with her family.

"I absolutely love living here. It’s beautiful, I have a lakefront home, so it is very peaceful. And it makes me happy knowing that I’ll never miss any more of my granddaughter’s milestones and I’m here for my family. I also enjoy being a veteran," Monteyne shared.

A daughter of the late Andrew and Roseann Monteyne of Estevan, Tammy Monteyne still has relatives she stays in touch with in the Energy City. But she said her home is now in Porters Lake.

In mid-August, the flag that flew at the last base Monteyne was stationed at was raised in Estevan to honour her years of service.

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