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Lieutenant(N) Yuna Hur

Yuna Hur was headed for a career in fashion. She had never thought of serving until one day, she tagged along with friends to a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Recruiting centre. This visit completely altered her career course. Eleven years later, she has no regrets.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

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Joined

2009

Key operational experiences

  • HMCS Winnipeg, 2017-2018

Deployments

  • CFB Esquimalt, 2015-2018;
  • Ottawa 2018-2020;
  • CFB Halifax 2020-Current

It was 2009. Yuna Hur thought that after high school, she would pursue her education in fashion management to become a fashion entrepreneur. She had even applied to study fashion management in the United States. Her life took an unexpected turn after joining her friends on a visit to the CAF Recruitment centre. “I’m not going to lie, I followed my friends and I saw the military as a résumé booster,” she says.

As a first generation immigrant from South Korea with no family history of military service, Hur knew very little about what she wanted to do in the CAF. A short discussion with a recruiter about her career goals set her on a new path. She would join the Air Force with a newfound interest in becoming a logistics officer, an air traffic controller or a pilot.

Hur found herself in basic training and learning French at St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC the next year. A week hadn’t gone by that, much to her surprise, she was told there had been a mistake, that she should have been assigned to the Navy instead. “Still to this day, I’m not really sure what happened. So I went ‘okay’. I didn’t know anything about the military at that point. I was just saying yes to all the people that were wearing the uniform.”

“I actually ended up failing a school year during my undergrad because I didn’t know how to deal with failure. I had just left my parent’s nest straight to RMC. Having that little “dip” and repeating that second year, that’s where I did a lot of growing up. That’s where I learned to be humble.”

The next four years were spent acquiring her bachelor’s degree at the Royal Military College (RMC). In the summer time, she would train with the Navy. Used to being a top student, Hur hit a wall on her second year: “I actually ended up failing a school year during my undergrad because I didn’t know how to deal with failure. I had just left my parent’s nest straight to RMC. Having that little “dip” and repeating that second year, that’s where I did a lot of growing up. That’s where I learned to be humble.”

Making poppies on board the ship

Making poppies on board the ship

Hur persevered in large part because of her fellow RMC comrades and her first summer, where she could experience the life on board a ship. “That summer is when I really went ‘oh, the Navy is really fun, I want to do this!’ What made me stay honestly is the people.” 

In 2015, six years after enlisting, she officially left behind her Naval Cadet rank and climbed her way to Lieutenant while working in CFB Esquimalt in Victoria, BC. Two years later, she was sent to join HMCS Winnipeg while the ship was already sailing in southeast Asia. She recalls, “I got a call and was told ‘it’s your time to go to the ship. How fast can you pack your bags and go to her first port of call?’ I said ‘fast enough’. ‘You’ve got three days’.”

Once Hur caught up with HMCS Winnipeg in Port Klang, Malaysia, they travelled to countries like India, Sri Lanka, Singapore and South Korea. This was Hur’s first experience being deployed on a ship.

“Yes, I’m fluent in Korean and English, but I’m not a doctor. I can barely medically speak in English. I was left there to think on my feet. This is really a foreign country to me and there’s no instruction guide on how to do this.”

During that deployment, one of the major challenges she was faced with was to coordinate the medical repatriation of two sailors to Canada from South Korea. She had to make sure they got home safely. “Yes, I’m fluent in Korean and English, but I’m not a doctor. I can barely medically speak in English. I was left there to think on my feet. This is really a foreign country to me and there’s no instruction guide on how to do this.”

After completing her first deployment on HMCS Winnipeg, she was posted to Ottawa to get first-hand experience at headquarters. She will be sailing again in Fall 2021 on board HMCS Montreal. This time, she will be the head of the Logistics Department on the ship. Eventually, she would like to be posted in Ottawa to work in joint military operations.

With courage, integrity and loyalty, Yuna Hur is leaving her mark. Discover more stories.

 


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