Jasmine Francoeur’s career has come full circle, and she is truly only at the beginning.
Francoeur recalls babysitting in Comox in the spring years ago, when she and the boy she was watching were sitting outside when the Snowbirds, during their annual spring training, flew overhead.
The boy jumped across the table in her lap – scaring her – but she thinks back and laughs at the memory.
That’s because Francoeur is an aviation technician for the air demonstration team, and recently returned to the Comox Valley with the team in May for spring training.
“To fly out here, to fly into my hometown, it’s very special and I feel very lucky,” she said. “I also haven’t seen the water for a long time, so I was really excited for that.”
Francoeur attended Highland Secondary School in Comox and joined the military when she was 24 years old. Growing up in the Valley, she admitted she didn’t actually know what she wanted to do as a career. She tried hairdressing for about four years, but a connection to the Canadian Forces made her curious about joining.
“Nobody within my family was in the military but a lot of friends were. I spent a lot of time on the base, and that got me interested in the air force. Because I grew up on the Island, aviation was a part of my life.”
When she made the commitment to join, Francoeur looked through a list of jobs to see what might catch her eye, and aviation jumped out immediately. She wasn’t quite sure why but thought it was an interesting job and not the type of work that most people do.
“I had the opportunity to give it a shot and it almost felt like fate – joining the Snowbirds is where I was supposed to end up.”
It didn’t take long for her to be selected to the team; she joined the forces in 2017, and her first posting a year later was with the Snowbirds. When she did her schooling in Borden, ON, the military was specifically seeking females. At the time, there were only three women in her squadron.
“I really enjoy it. A lot of people say ’ do you ever feel alone?’ To me, I always grew up wanting a brother … so now I feel like I have a whole bunch of brothers. They kind of bug you … but at the end of the day, they all have your back. I feel really empowered having this position.
“We went to a school to talk about what we did. Every time we sat at a table, we would talk about what we did and I was the only female, we had little girls come up to me and sit beside me and tug on my shirt and whisper questions in my ear. It’s so great they felt comfortable coming to me and it made me feel pretty good. “
Following spring training in the Valley where Francoeur hopes her family and friends can come out to watch some of the practices, she is slated to be with the team for the last half of the airshow season, primarily the east coast of Canada and the United States.