My name is Lieutenant – Colonel (Retired) Shelley Carey, and my 30-plus-year military career was focused on policing and diversifying the ranks.
I started my military career by first enrolling in the Canadian Forces first as a member of the Air Reserve Augmentation Flight at 8 Wing Trenton in 1980, and later became a Direct Entry Officer. In the intervening period, I was enrolled in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, becoming the first black female member of the RCMP, with postings to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador and Ferryland, Newfoundland.
In 1986, I decided to return to the Canadian Forces and enrolled as a Direct Entry Officer. Upon completing Basic Officer Training and the Basic Military Police Officer Training Course, I was posted to 5 Military Police Platoon in Valcartier, Quebec, as the Deputy Commanding Officer, the first woman and Black person to hold that position.
Besides the posting to Valcartier, my initial employment opportunities included assignments as the Security Advisor at the Canadian Forces Data Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, and as the Wing Security and Military Police Officer at 14 Wing Greenwood, Nova Scotia. Promoted to Major in 1996, I was transferred to National Defence Headquarters, where I was assigned to several progressively senior appointments including: Project Director for the Security and Military Police Information System, Deputy Provost Marshal for Resource Management, Deputy Provost Marshal for Policing and Deputy Provost Marshal for Professional Standards – the Internal Affairs Branch of the Military Police.
From April to October 2002, I served as the Provost Marshal and Chief Force Protection Officer for the multinational NATO mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In 2003, I was featured and highlighted as one of the outstanding women in leadership roles by Rotman School of Business.
In 2006, I was named as the Director of Human Rights and Diversity, a position I held until my retirement from the Canadian Forces, in December 2008.
From June 2006-December 2008, I also served as the Deputy Chair for the Committee of Women in the NATO Forces.
In January 2009, I was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Military Merit.
When I retired from the Forces as a Lieutenant-Colonel in 2012, I was the highest-ranking Black woman in the Canadian Air Force