A military career can be a rewarding experience, says Sgt. Jewell

Sergeant Lewis Jewell retired from the service as an airframe technician about five years ago. He said he would recommend a career in the armed forces for any young person looking for a rewarding and interesting career.

DRYDEN’S CORNERS—Sergeant Lewis Jewell has been mustered out of the Canadian Armed Forces for five years now, but he still looks back fondly on his 32 years of service as an avionics (airframe) technician.

“I joined up because it looked like a good career,” he said, eschewing any suggestion of seeking glory or adventure. “I was just looking for a job at that time.” He wasn’t going in blind, Mr. Jewell had a number of relatives who were serving in the forces. “They would be talking about it all the time,” he said.

His family has deep Island roots, “there have been Lewis and Jewells around the Island for quite a while,” he noted. But Mr. Jewell was largely raised in Elliot Lake, having returned to the Island at age 17. He didn’t stick around all that long after returning to his roots. “I joined up when I was 20,” he recalled. Mr. Jewell travelled to Sudbury to enlist and found himself joining the air force part of the service.

Although he was just seeking gainful employment, Mr. Jewell did get an opportunity to travel during his enlistment. “I was stationed at Cold Lake (Alberta) for a lot of the time, and then I spent 18 or 19 years in Petawawa (Ontario),” he said. But in 1987 he shipped out for Germany, where he spent three years working on Canada’s F18 fleet of combat jets.

“We started out working on 104s (Lockheed 104 Starfighter jets) at Cold Lake, then the F18s,” he recalled. “In New Brunswick I worked on Challengers and T-Birds (Canadair CT-133 Silver Star training jets).” A couple of the Challengers were used as transports, but a number were electronic warfare models that specialized in dropping radar-baffling chaff. “They dropped chaff and flares to disrupt radar pickup,” he said.

When Mr. Jewell joined the forces it had adopted the one service model, with its ubiquitous green uniforms for all branches of the service, but during his time in uniform that changed back to the air force blue, army green and distinct naval uniforms. “I think it changed some again since I got out,” he chuckled.

His work also changed a great deal over the years. “They combined a lot of the trades together, electricians and air conditioning, air frame technicians,” he said. Mr. Jewell worked on a wide range of systems in servicing Canada’s air fleet, including hydraulics and landing gear

While he was in Toronto, Mr. Jewell worked with a number of cadet corps.

Mr. Jewell retired from the service as a sergeant and he said that he would recommend the Canadian Armed Forces as a career option for any young person. “I really think more should join up,” he said. “It is a great job and you get to meet a lot of interesting people.”

Although he has retired from the service, Mr. Jewell wasn’t quite ready to retire altogether. Today he works as a clerk at Island Foodland in Mindemoya.