Lt Justin Sow­ley

(Trinidad Guardian) Justin Sow­ley was de­ter­mined to make the most of the op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able to him as he cared for his broth­er who was un­der­go­ing phys­io­ther­a­py in Cana­da fol­low­ing a car ac­ci­dent in Trinidad in 2005. The re­sult has been pro­fes­sion­al suc­cess for him since join­ing the Roy­al Cana­di­an Navy (RCN).

His achieve­ments were high­light­ed in May when Lt Lin­da Cole­man post­ed a short bio of Sow­ley’s pro­fes­sion­al achieve­ments to the RCN’s web­site in which she de­scribed his com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion to the job.

Sow­ley and his broth­er were grant­ed Cana­di­an cit­i­zen­ship through their fa­ther but grew up in T&T. He ad­mit­ted that he nev­er had any in­ten­tions of per­ma­nent­ly re­lo­cat­ing there. How­ev­er, his broth­er’s cir­cum­stances led to that de­ci­sion which changed the course of his life.

While help­ing to care for his broth­er in Cana­da, Sow­ley de­cid­ed to start look­ing for a job af­ter set­tling in Burling­ton, On­tario, dur­ing his broth­er’s phys­io­ther­a­py treat­ments.

“Liv­ing in Cana­da full time was a bit of an ad­just­ment. My first im­pres­sion was that it was ex­treme­ly cold. But, my thoughts were that this was a de­vel­oped coun­try with ex­cel­lent in­fra­struc­ture and a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ty for peo­ple will­ing to work,” he said.

He de­cid­ed on his ca­reer path af­ter see­ing a tele­vi­sion com­mer­cial, Fight with Forces. That in­spired him to take the first step of en­rolling as a naval war­fare of­fi­cer. By 2010, Sow­ley was off to ba­sic train­ing.

Since then, he’s been sail­ing with the RCN’s west coast fleet which has in­clud­ed de­ploy­ments on Op Caribbe in 2014, fol­lowed most re­cent­ly by Op Artemis where he was a bat­tle watch cap­tain for Com­bined Task Force (CTF) 150.

Sow­ley said what he loves most about the job is “see­ing dif­fer­ent places and do­ing some of the re­al­ly ex­cit­ing things we get to do.”

His most chal­leng­ing and re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence so far was as the nav­i­gat­ing of­fi­cer of the HM­CS Regi­na.

His pro­fes­sion­al jour­ney has not been with­out chal­lenges. Sow­ley was un­suc­cess­ful in his first at­tempt at the fleet nav­i­gat­ing of­fi­cer course but was en­cour­aged to try again.

“I did so, know­ing full well the amount of work and ef­fort that would be re­quired,” he said.

He jokes that the suc­cess of his mar­riage to wife Sha­nia is that they have not spent more than six months to­geth­er. She is a lo­gis­tics of­fi­cer in the RCN, “so she un­der­stands the na­ture of the job,” he said.

Up­on con­clu­sion of the CTF 150 on April 11, 2019—a de­ploy­ment which was in the Mid­dle East—Sow­ley is now back at Naval Fleet School Pa­cif­ic Ven­ture Di­vi­sion where he serves as a course train­ing of­fi­cer, men­tor­ing and de­vel­op­ing ju­nior naval war­fare of­fi­cers in their ini­tial trade train­ing be­fore they are post­ed to sea-go­ing units.

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