First Canadian woman to serve in combat to be honoured in Whitby

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Published July 2, 2021 at 7:22 pm

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The first woman to serve in an Infantry combat unit in Canada is being honoured next week at Wounded Warriors Park of Reflection in Whitby.

The Vétérans R22eR will be holding a ceremony to recognize Whitby resident Valerie Binet on July 8 at 2pm. Mayor Don Mitchell and other local dignitaries will be on hand for the celebration.

Binet was a former police officer with Durham Regional Police before signing up with the armed forces and in 1994 became the first woman to join and serve in an Infantry combat unit as a rank member in Canada.

Today there are more 250 women in combat roles in the country.

“You have to have the right personality,” said Binet in 1998. “It’s not every woman that wants to go in the field and crawl in the mud. ″

A gunner and radio operator when she served, Binet was the only woman in her infantry battalion of 600 soldiers but insists her colleagues “don’t treat me different because I’m a woman.”

“I’d have no problems going into battle and coming back in a body bag,” she said. “My life is not worth more than the guy next to me.”

The Royal 22nd Regiment (R22eR) is an infantry regiment of the Canadian Army. The mostly francophone regiment comprises three Regular Force battalions, two Primary Reserve battalions and a band, making it the largest regiment in the Canadian Army.

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