Where are they Now: From a Cadet to A SYSTEMS INTEGRATOR - Robert Mellalieu

February 24th 2023
From a Cadet to a Systems Integrator - Robert Mellalieu 

When and where did you first join the Navy League? Which corps we’re you apart of? 

1983, #100 Ad. Mainguy 

What did you like most about your experience as a Navy League/Sea cadet? 

At first it was that my best friend was dressed up in silly sailor outfit. Then the dirty songs we sang on the bus trip to Maple Bay every Tuesday evening. Then it was the ranking system. I was bullied unmercifully in school and came from unhappy home. The ranks were a savior. I started as an “Ordinary” Cadet and as such was picked on and ridiculed and made to perform crazy punishments – but so were all the other “ordinary” cadets. We were treated as a group, as a team. I could see if I could only achieve the rank of “Able” Cadet I would be rid of my overlords. I worked hard, I polished my brass, my boots, I ironed my shirt and pants, I learned the Naval Prayer etc. Soon I was an “Able” Cadet, with a new set of goals but the same team. I learned skills, I was pushed by superiors and my team to do things I would have never tried before (mostly good things) I made bonds with my “Division” and learned to work with and for a team. It wasn’t called Love in those days, we had euphemisms – Camaraderie, Leadership, Loyalty. I had a home.   

Could you share with us a pleasant memory or an anecdote about your time at the Navy League? 

Over the course of time, they are all pleasant. Getting attacked by a school of Squid in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Receiving the Award for the Best Cadet on the Engineering Course 1981 at HMCS Quadra? Leading the Flotilla of 7 YAGs from Quadra to Nanaimo after the Easter Cruise. Getting the call from the Reserves to help them for a week – I was 17, 2nd in command of a YAG with 20 Reserves!? There are a few romances too. 


How did the cadet program influence you throughout your life? 

The confidence that I gained cannot be measured. There is no way I would be where I am, would have done what I have done, been who I have been without the Cadet system 


What skills did you gained as a cadet that you’re still using today? 

Ropework – a Rolling Hitch and Bowline should be required leaning in school 

Leadership - I have been on the boards of several NGOs, Chambers, and other community groups. I ran for political office in both Federal and Provincial politics 

Navigation – still mess around in boats and can navigate without a GPS/iPhone  

Mechanical – While I use the services of a mechanic – I am confident that I could fix anything. 

Could you paint us a small picture of your life since leaving the Navy League cadet program? 

algary – no boat - learning to be Electronics Technician 

Winnipeg –Lazy-E sailboat - Working for ADP, got married. 

Kelowna, - 1970 Sea Spray Catamaran, 1950 Port Carling Seabird (antique mahogany) – Started my own business 

Kelowna – 1960 Chris Craft Continental – Politics, Volunteerism 

Kelowna – new Kayak, Pelican – Semi retirement 


What personal achievements are you most proud of? 

Raising my son. 

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