Interview with Commander Amber Comisso (February 28, 2022)


Interviewer: Kate Benkendorf Interviewee: Commander Amber Comisso An interview/narrative of Amber N. Comisso's experiences serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. Interview took place on February 28, 2022 in Victoria, B.C. over a video call. ABSTRACT: 0:00 – 6:16 Growing up in Thornhill, Ontario, education (Royal Military College (RMC)), start of military career at RMC; discussion of experiences 6:17 – 17:14 Deciding on the Royal Canadian Navy, early career; HMCS Winnipeg, first deployment on OP Apollo from Victoria, anecdote about travelling to Fujairah. 17:15 – 21:18 Time during Naval Warfare Officer Professional Qualification; Bridge Watchkeeping, Alpha Air Control Level on HMCS Algonquin 21:19 – 29:10 From HMCS Athabaskan to 2 years as Assistant to Fleet Commander (Aide de Camp), travelling internationally, inter-Navy communication 29:11 – 38:52 Return to RMC as Squadron Commander, leading with suicide within Squadron, Operations Room Officer (ORO) course; sea tour on HMCS Winnipeg; allision, sent as Fleet Staff on HMCS Ottawa 38:53 – 46:50 Discussing family relocation to Halifax from Victoria, finishing ORO sea time on HMCS Athabaskan to Europe as Force Protection Officer; Joint Warrior Trident Juncture (NATO training exercise), promotion to Lieutenant Commander 46:51 – 56:46 Third time on HMCS Winnipeg as Executive Officer, female leadership, deployment during Covid-19 pandemic, promoted to Commander 56:47 – 1:04:50 Loss of Master Sailor on return, missing person protocol, leading through grief, emotional reaction as military leader 1:04:51 – 1:09:01 Response to Deschamps review, discussion of experience as a woman in the CAF after report, effect on culture shift in military 1:09:02 – 1:15:51 Discussion of 2026 goal for 25% women in the CAF; issues with male dominated environment, experience as a female senior officer 1:15:52 – 1:21:23 Social media use on HMCS Winnipeg deployment, military reaction, focus on positivity, communications award for work on social media campaign, positive final career reflections

In Collection:
Contributor Subject Language Identifier
  • Interview #SC141_CAN_888
Keyword Date created Relation
Resource type Rights statement Extent
  • 01:21:55
Alternative title
  • Being the Change Within: Female Officers in the Canadian Armed Forces
Geographic coverage Coordinates
  • 25.11641, 56.34141
  • 48.4359, -123.35155
  • 44.6464, -63.57291
Physical repository Collection
  • Canadian Military Oral History Collection
Provider Genre Archival item identifier
  • Accession Number: 2022-020; Series: I; Item: 888
Fonds title Fonds identifier Is referenced by Date digitized
  • February 28, 2022
Technical note
  • Interview done through a Zoom video call, MP4, 6.91 GB. Metadata by KD.
  • This interview has been posted with the understanding that it may be used for research purposes only. Should the interviewee or their heirs have any objections to this interview being accessible on the Internet, it will be removed promptly. Contact UVic Special Collections for permission if using for other than research purposes:

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