By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs
Just say “it is time for your mandatory annual FORCE evaluation” and even some seasoned Canadian Armed Forces members get nervous – but not Corporal Marie-Herene Maillet, who scored an unheard-of 100 per cent.
Cpl Maillet is an Air Defence Technician with 4th Artillery Regiment (General Support), Royal Canadian Artillery, based in Oromocto, New Brunswick.
In order to demonstrate that they have the high level of physical fitness required for service, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members are subject to annual FORCE Evaluations. They must complete a series of four tasks: the sandbag lift, the sandbag drag, 20-metre rushes, and the intermittent loaded shuttle (five 40-metre shuttles with a weight and five without).
Only 0.2 per cent of CAF personnel manage to get a “platinum” score of between 394 and 400 points on their annual fitness test. Not only did a Canadian Army member join that small but distinguished group on February 19, 2019, but she is the first female CAF member to have reached platinum – and with a perfect score of 400!
Describing herself as a “super-hyperactive human,” Cpl Maillet explained that her personal fitness regime – a daily morning run of up to five kilometres, daily weight training and three afternoon swims each week – proved to be more than adequate preparation. Career ambitions were also a major motivator.
In the following interview, Cpl Maillet discusses those ambitions, and why the “upbeat” Army lifestyle suits her so well.
Q1: When you got your platinum results, how did you feel?
I was excited because I didn't really think I was going to get it.
I’d heard that the standards had come up, so I didn’t think I was going to get it but knew I had to do my best because I’m hoping to become a Search and Rescue Technician. If I didn't get gold or platinum then my application wouldn't even have been considered.
And I even messed up in the 20 metre rushes – I went way further than I had to, and it added a few extra seconds so I didn't think I was going to get platinum. It was a bit of a surprise.
Q2: What is the appeal of search and rescue for you?
It's my dream job. It's just everything I like in one trade.
Everyone doing that job now, I call them the best of the best. You might jump out of a plane, you might dive underwater, you might find yourself on a mountain.
The medical side was always fascinating to me and I think that's exactly where I fit. Right now I'm doing everything that I'm supposed to do to prepare.
Q3: Your personal fitness routine was already pretty intense. In preparing for the test did you push yourself even harder than that?
No. For me, doing the FORCE Test is not really hard. It's not even close to what I do in my workouts. Doing it as fast as you can is going to be hard for anybody but all my training is based on high endurance and being fast so it kind of helped.
Q4: Was fitness important to you even before you joined the Army?
I was super-athletic when I was younger. I played rugby, volleyball, soccer. I'm a super-hyperactive human and I need to move. I wasn't always so into fitness in particular, though - that only started when I joined the Army.
Q5: What was your motivation for joining the Army in the first place?
I just knew from when I was pretty young that it was for me.
I was looking into becoming a paramedic when I was in high school and I realized that it wasn't enough. I didn't really want to work only in hospitals or ambulances.
I started looking into the Army and saw it was super-physical and there were always things happening and you could go abroad. So I just knew that was the lifestyle I needed because it was so upbeat and I'm a very upbeat person.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.