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An Unfortunate Career Altering Injury

Heroes Remember

An Unfortunate Career Altering Injury

I was continuing with my studies and I was a bit of a recluse at the time. I really enjoyed going to the library and studying hard. So I went off to RMC and started my officer career there. Again, RMC at that time had some challenges so I did experience some more military sexual assault while I was at college which again every time something like that happens to you there’s a little bit more of our motivation and your ability to serve is diminished. But I kept going and I did end up in Gagetown for my artillery phase training which was interesting because when I showed up in my sundress that I drove there in with all my gear I remember pulling up and pulling all my gear up the stairs to the barracks and I don’t know if he was a sergeant or warrant. He’s like, “Oh it’s so nice of you to bring your boyfriend’s gear to course. And I’m like, “No that’s me!” And just the look on his face I will never forget it. I used to have hair down to my waist and the first thing he said was, “Well I don’t think the hair is going to last very long!” And I replied, “Well I am pretty sure I can put it in a bun faster than you can shave your face.” And so anyway we made a little bit of a bet on that one which I did win in the end. They used to call it the strawberry danish because it was a giant bun on the back. So artillery phase started off really well because I was a really good runner and I had a larger frame so I could carry a rucksack without any issue. So I thought I was going to do really well in this course and then unfortunately we were doing a night mat march and we had a couple of; we were led by a very enthusiastic cadet who kind of got us lost and it was abot probably two o’clock in the morning and we’re all tired and we just got red light, can’t really see anything. A couple of people have already gone down so we distribute a kit amongst everybody so we were carrying way more weight than we should have been and Gagetown is an interesting terrain to say the least. So just walking along, marching along and it turned into muskeg but we didn’t see it and my right leg went right down to my hip in the mud and this side stayed over and then the rucksack, the weight of the rucksack just pulled me over and just tore everything. I don’t really remember much after that but I do know that my screams were so loud they found us. We were actually considered lost. They had to come and find our platoon. So that was pretty much a career ending injury. Unfortunately it was very difficult to accept that it wasn’t going to heal or be able to be repaired and being the, I believe, third artillery female artillery officer the expectation to do really well was there and I felt like I had failed by being injured this way. Going back to RMC I did have some surgery and whatnot. I did manage to finish my degree but I was unfortunately sort of given the choice to well you need to either stay in the artillery or we are going to medical release you. I found myself going from a military career at a very young age to all of a sudden being on civvy street and very quickly with like pretty much no transition to be honest. Then I had to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. And with an injury that hurt every day and t was hard because it’s no treally an injury that you can see. I do have a limp and what not and it has over the past twenty years of course affected so many other parts of my body. I do tend to fall quite a bit. My knee gives out and I fall so I have injured this hip and this shoulder and lots of consequential injuries but it’s hard for people to see that. And then just over the years just realizing that there wasn’t quite something right with your mental health.

In hopes of carrying on with officer cadet training, Ms. Batek attends RMC yet while on training an unfortunate accident soon has her succumb to a permanent discharge from the military.

Monica Batek

Ms. Monica Batek was born March 27, 1975 in Calgary, Alberta. After high school Monica was very adamant in making the military her career choice and at age 17 joined the Reserves with 746 Communication squadron as a private. Shortly into her training, some unfortunate circumstance of assault occurred where she was driven to choose a different career path. Ms. Batek decided to continue on and was accepted to Royal Military College under the Officer Cadet program where she did graduate. While on exercise, Ms. Batek became injured during training exercise, this being a crucial part of her reason for discharge from the military. Struggling with PTSD and leg injury, Ms. Batek continues on and most recently was named as part of Team Canada for Invictus Games 2018 and compete as an athlete as a swimmer and member of wheelchair basketball. Ms. Batek is proud of this accomplishment and feels very honoured to be able to wear the Canadian maple leaf on her uniform once again!

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
July 25, 2018
Person Interviewed:
Monica Batek
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Reserves Infantry
Officer Cadet
Infantry Officer

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