Thursday, May 31, 2007

Master Corporal Darrell Jason Priede - May 30th

Master Corporal Darrell Jason Priede

I have received confirmation about our fallen Canadian Soldier.
Master Corporal Darrell Jason Priede, a military Imagery Technician serving with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Regional Command (South) Headquarters at Kandahar Airfield, was killed when the helicopter in which he was a passenger went down at approximately 9 p.m. Kandahar time on May 30th, near the town of Kajaki, Helmand Province, about 95 kms northwest of Kandahar City. Master Corporal Priede was a member of the Army News Team from 3 Area Support Group, based at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, New Brunswick. His next of kin have been notified.
The other six military personnel (5 from the US and one from England) aboard the helicopter were also killed in the incident.

The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today "On behalf of the entire Defence community I extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Master Corporal Darrell Jason Priede who died when a helicopter, in which he was a passenger, went down in Helmand Province in Afghanistan. I also extend my condolences to the families and friends of the six other coalition troops who died in this incident.Master Corporal Priede was a valued member of the Army News Team from 3 Area Support Group, based at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown. He gave his life not only to protect Canadians and our national interests, but also to provide hope to Afghans for a better future.Master Corporal Priede was part of an international coalition working to bring peace and security to this troubled country. Canadians are forever proud and grateful for his service and for the contributions of all our men and women in uniform."

My thoughts and prayers are with their friends and families both here and in Afghanistan.
John and Roxanne, of Grand Forks, received a 'nightmare' visit early Thursday from army officials. One many of us brace ourselves for and dread.
Their 30-year-old son Darrell had died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan
John Priede sits looking at photos of his oldest son holding the Stanley Cup, snapped just weeks ago at his military base in Afghanistan.
Early Thursday, Priede and his wife, Roxanne, of Grand Forks were visited by army personnel, including a chaplin -- and plunged into what he describes as a "bad nightmare."
Their son, Darrell Jason Priede, a military photographer, was dead. The helicopter he was in crashed Wednesday outside Kandahar, near the town of Kajaki, they learned.
"It was totally devastating," he said in a telephone interview with The Vancouver Sun late Thursday morning. "I mean, it's just too bad. I was looking forward to seeing him on the news one day as a journalist or a newscaster. [That's] gone now."
Priede says his 30-year-old son, who volunteered to go to Afghanistan as a photographer, wanted to become a journalist.
"He was just the type of boy that when he put his mind to it, he just succeeded in what he did," he says. "He had that knack -- that thing about it. And he's going to be greatly missed now."
As Priede speaks on the phone, he says he's flipping through photographs he printed out of his son in Afghanistan, as well as images captured through his son's camera lens.
"He's holding the Stanley Cup as I'm looking at him right now ... I've got an eight-inch by 10-inch of him holding the cup and a few other photographs of him with his equipment -- and Kandahar coffee from Tim Hortons. Go Canada Go," Priede says, his voice breaking a little.
He pauses and adds: "I mean, like I say, in the time he's been there, he's done fabulous things."
A few days ago, Priede chatted with his parents via the Internet from Kandahar, using a video webcast: "We talked to him on video for about five to six minutes. Time was up so we had to go," Priede says.
"He was sitting at the booth looking at us and laughing and smiling as normal -- just talking about regular things."
He says his son, who joined the army 11 years ago, loved taking photographs and was doing what he wanted to do.
"He thoroughly wanted to show the people of the world what good Canadians and people are doing over there," says Priede. "It totally backfired but he loved what he was doing and he was good at it."
Darrell Priede, along with six American and British soldiers, died when their helicopter crashed about 95 kilometres west of Kandahar, just after 9 p.m. local time.
Some reports have suggested the helicopter may have been shot down by the Taliban, but Karen Johnstone, a military spokeswoman in Ottawa, said this hadn't been confirmed.
"The cause of the crash is currently under investigation," she said.
A release on the International Security Assistance Force website said units responding to the crash were later "ambushed by enemy fighters."
Capt. Mark Gough, an army spokesman in Halifax -- who works with Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick where Priede was stationed -- said military photographers, or "imagery technicians," play an essential role documenting the experience.
"His pictures spoke volumes [about] the work we're doing over there and are the window into our operations there," Gough said.
"Without guys like Darrell, without photos that they bring back and show back in Canada, people won't understand what we're doing over there."
Some of Priede's photos are posted on the military's combat camera website (www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca).
Although Priede served twice overseas in the Balkans as part of the infantry, this was his first time documenting the experience for the military, says Gough, who knew Priede personally.
"He volunteered to go. He didn't have to go," he says.
"In this case, it was something he'd always wanted to do. This was his first tour overseas as a photographer."
He says Priede had a talent for photography and was one of the best military photographers around.
"He was a quiet, unassuming guy. His work spoke for his abilities."
John Priede said he and his wife will fly to Ontario so they can meet their son's body when it arrives at CFB Trenton on Sunday. After that, they'll go to New Brunswick to be with Priede's wife, Angela. The couple lived near the base in Oromocto.
"It's tough. His wife is even going through worse I imagine," he says.
"They had lots of plans and ambitions."
They didn't have children yet, he says.
Priede says he learned a lot from his son.
"You can never fail if you put your mind to doing something," he says, of his son's outlook. "Have ambition and go and get what you want in life."
And that's what his son did, he says.
"He told us he wanted to do it. He wanted to show what good we're doing over there," Priede says.
"He's beautiful, too. Did you see his picture? He was."
A photograph of Darrell Priede, posted on the Defence Department website, shows a well-built man with broad shoulders, clad in army fatigues. Fingers on the shutter of his Nikon, he smiles at the camera.
In a statement Thursday, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor, said Priede "gave his life not only to protect Canadians and our national interests, but also to provide hope to Afghans for a better future."

Seven NATO Soldiers Died in Helicopter Crash

As I awoke this morning to this news - I was truly saddened. (Please note there are currently unconfirmed reports of nationalities of the soldiers.)
I know what many family members are going through.. "the wait" ... while the heart races and .. yes the tears come easily.
Let's pray for and take those soldiers' families and friends and take them into our hearts today no matter which country they are from.... as they are all our family.. our military family.

Chinook Helicopter
Seven NATO soldiers died when their Chinook helicopter crashed on Wednesday in southern Afghanistan, the site of some of the heaviest recent fighting between Western forces and the Taliban.
Troops responding to the scene of the crash were ambushed and called for an air strike to eliminate the threat, NATO officials said.
NATO would not say immediately if the big, twin-rotor military helicopter was directly involved in a battle with Taliban guerrillas or whether it was shot down. The cause of the crash was under investigation.

"Clearly there were enemy fighters in the area," said Major John Thomas, a spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Kabul. "It's not impossible for small arms fire to bring down a helicopter."
The helicopter went down in the southern province of Helmand, Afghanistan's main opium poppy-growing region, where Western forces have clashed repeatedly with Taliban militants in recent months following a winter lull in fighting.
"The entire crew of five died in the incident. There were also two military passengers who died," ISAF said in a statement. "One Afghan civilian was injured by small arms fire after the crash."

ISAF did not release the nationalities of soldiers killed or wounded in Afghanistan.

Homefront Connections

I just received and am happy to publish this flyer from a fellow Military mom for family members in the Truro, Nova Scotia area.
(Thank you so much Wanda - I wish I was in the area. I'd love to join you:)
Truro families and friends.. don't forget JUNE 10th - a great means for military families to get together - through comradery, supporting one another.



Military Families in Truro and Area
Potluck/Social Evening


Homefront Connections

Homefront Connections is an opportunity to meet and connect with other families who are experiencing a deployment related separation.
Region Military Family Resource Centre
What: Potluck/social/info session
Where: Truro Legion, 42 Brunswick St.
When: Sunday, June 10th
Time: 4:00pm- 6:30pm

Are you the spouse, partner, parent, grandparent, family member or friend of someone deployed or preparing to deploy on an overseas mission ie. Afghanistan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Congo, Sierra Leone, etc? If so, please join us for a fun, informative evening.

Please register and indicate what you will be contributing by calling:

Halifax & Region Military Family Resource Centre
Toll free number: 1-888-753-8827
by Thursday, June 7, 2007.
Military Families: The strength behind the uniform

Halifax & Region Military Family Resource Centre
24/7 tel 427-7788 1-888-753-8827 http://www.halifaxmfrc.ca/
Halifax Site: Halifax Military Community Centre Bldg
106 Windsor Park, Halifax, NS

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Minister of National Defence - Funeral Reimbersments



May 29, 2007

Statement by the Minister of National Defence

OTTAWA, ONTARIO-- The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement:"Canada's New Government has been unwavering in our commitment to supporting all members of the Canadian Forces and their families. It is therefore with considerable distress that I note recent media reports regarding families of deceased Canadian Forces members who may not have received full reimbursement for normal funeral and burial expenses. If confirmed, this would indicate that my direction was not followed and I can assure that this will be dealt with accordingly and corrected as soon as possible.I cannot imagine the pain a family feels after losing a loved one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.I want to reiterate that any family eligible for support for funeral expenses shall receive the appropriate reimbursement.I have directed Defence officials to contact military families who lost a loved one, to ensure that these families received all of the support to which they are entitled. It is unfortunate this is required.Our Government stands behind our service members and their families. We will give them what they need and deserve. The guidelines regarding funeral and burial benefits for CF members put in place in 1999 are being corrected and updated to reflect current realities."

401 Bridges Lined to Honour Canadian Soldier

Photo credit: Pete Fisher
Emergency services personnel and citizens line a
401 overpass bridge at Cobourg in honour of the
passing procession bearing the body of Canada's
55th casualty in Afghanistan, Corporal Matthew McCully.

Northumberland County honours Afghan combat fatalities
With transport horns honking in the background, Peg Smith could hardly get the words out to explain why she came to the Ontario Street bridge in Cobourg to watch the procession carrying the remains of Corporal Matthew McCully pass by Monday evening. Corporal McCully was killed May 25 at approximately 8 a.m. Kandahar time by an improvised explosive device while conducting a joint Afghan-Canadian foot patrol close to the village of Nalgham, approximately 35 km west of Kandahar City. It’s the first time Ms. Smith has come to the overpass to watch the funereal procession for a fallen Canadian Armed Forces member as it passes from CFB Trenton to Toronto.
"I feel bad," an emotional Ms. Smith said, her 12-year-old daughter Becky standing beside her. Across Northumberland County, between Trenton and Toronto, it has become a tradition for emergency personnel and citizens to gather on bridges spanning Highway 401 to salute fallen forces personnel and their families. Monday night, bridges from Brighton west to Port Hope had people standing vigil. Every Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan is repatriated at CFB Trenton. The body is then directly transported o Toronto for an autopsy. Cobourg resident Peter O’Donnell said he has witnessed approximately 40 of the 55 Canadian forces personnel killed in Afghanistan passing through Northumberland County. Wearing a red shirt with the word "Canada" and a "Support the Troops " hat, he says has a number of reasons why he chooses to come to a bridge spanning Highway 401. "I’m a very strong military supporter and I also have a son who is currently in Afghanistan. I have a daughter in the navy. I feel it’s my duty to be here to honour our fallen. "It’s to let the families know that we are behind their son, their daughter and that we mourn with them." Although he comes each time to the overpass, because their son is serving in Afghanistan, his wife can’t bring herself to come to the bridge, Mr. O'Donnell says. "It’s devastating because I know what my wife and I go through on a daily basis. My wife will not come here tonight, not because she lacks respect, but because she’s a wreck - it’s that simple." Ms. Smith and her daughter were the first ones on the Cobourg bridge Monday. They were joined later by many others wearing red and carrying Canadian flags. Although it’s the first time she has gone to the bridge, if another Canadian soldier falls in the line of duty, she said she and her daughter will be at the bridge to show their support.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Fallen Soldier is Returning Home


May 28, 2007
Our fallen soldier, Corporal Matthew McCully, a member of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters and Signal Squadron (2 CMBG HQ & Sig Sqn), based in Petawawa, Ontario, is scheduled to return home to Canada today.
Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
When: Monday, May 28, 7:30 p.m.
Present to pay their respects will be The Minister of National Defence, Gordon O'Connor, and other dignitaries.

Bless him on his journey home.


A further note: In Northumberland County, there will be people standing on bridges over Highway 401 at Colborne, Grafton, Cobourg and Port Hope to mark the passing of the hearse and escort vehicles.

9:01 pm



Canadian Soldier, Cpl. Matthew McCully was returned to Canadian soil to his family today at CFB Trenton during a repatriation ceremony.
A CC-130 Hercules aircraft carrying his remains touched down at the base just before 7:30 p.m.
The final note of the piper's skirl hung heavily in the still night air as eight Canadian soldiers carried the flag-draped casket of Cpl. Matthew McCully across the tarmac at this eastern Ontario military base.
Governor General Michaelle Jean, Cief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier and Defence minister Gordon O’Connor joined military officials and grieving relatives on the tarmac as McCully’s casket was carried from the aircraft by fellow soldiers. Just metres away, McCully’s mother, Valerie McGrady, locked arms with her daughter, Shannon, and her partner, Neil Weise. McCully’s younger brother, Daniel, stood beside them—solemnly staring into the open hearse. McCully’s father, Ron, wearing a white cowboy hat and dark sunglasses, clutched red and white roses. His wife, Michelle, hugged his left arm as his son’s casket was lowered into the hearse for the last leg of its journey home. McGrady knelt on the ground after placing a single red rose on her son’s coffin before military officials guided the family into three waiting black limousines. The limousines drove slowly from the tarmac—passing one large and half-a-dozen small Canadian flags placed on the base’s barbed-wire fence by Bob and Demetra Belear of Belleville, Ont.
Bob Belear said he and his wife have been to almost every repatriation ceremony at CFB Trenton, and he said they always hang the flags on the fence out of respect for the soldiers. “The flag is our country’s flag, and these men and women are serving our country,” he said. “When you see civilians on this side of the fence, it shows respect for the sacrifice they made.”

"Thank you Mr. & Mrs Belear" on behalf of military familes and friends.
"As well, thank you Mr. Don Cherry for your reflection during the hockey intermission in regards to Canada's fallen soldier- Cpl Matthew McCully."

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ramp Ceremony for Cpl Matthew McCully

He's coming home...
Photos by: Sgt Craig Fiander, DND

May 26, 2007 Kandahar, Afghanistan
Comrades of Corporal Matthew J. McCully slowly march his casket to the waiting C130 Hercules transport plane. Approximately 500 members of the Joint Task Force and Soldiers from other International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) countries gathered to pay their respects for Corporal McCully during a Repatriation Ramp Ceremony.Soldiers stood in a rigid military salute as the procession passed by, and as a piper's mournful tune echoed across the base.
McCully, 25, grew up in Orangeville, Ont., but his father and step-mother live in Prince George, B.C.
He was described as a likeable and professional soldier by Maj. Peter Sullivan, acting commander of Canada's Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team, or OMLT, of which McCully was a member.
"Matt McCully was a tremendously professional soldier," Sullivan said Saturday at Kandahar Airfield.
"I found him certainly to be a mature young man, and somebody whose company was enjoyed by all, so he will be greatly missed."
The OMLT team trains Afghans to fight as organized units.
McCully, who was based out of CFB Petawawa, was killed during Operation Hoover, an operation intended to push Taliban militants out of the volatile Zhari district.
He is the 55th Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan since 2002.
The incident occurred roughly 35 kilometres west of Kandahar City in the volatile Zhari district. Operation Hoover is the largest offensive in nearly two months that Canadian troops have participated in.
McCully, a signals operator from 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters and Signals Squadron, died alongside the Afghan soldiers he helped mentor.
"During this operation the Afghan forces were moving forward, leading this operation to clear some of the areas, making sure that the Afghan people there were secure and that there were no Taliban in the area," Col. Mike Cessford, deputy commander of Canadian forces in Afghanistan, confirmed Friday.
"Our mentoring team are comrades-in-arms with the Afghans -- they share the risk, they work closely with them -- and unfortunately as the soldier was moving forward with other Canadians and other Afghan soldiers an IED was triggered and he was killed."
One other Canadian soldier, also a member of the mentoring team, and an Afghan interpreter were wounded in the incident. The Canadian was airlifted to Kandahar Airfield with non-life threatening injuries, while the Afghan stayed with the unit.
Gen. Rick Hillier, Chief of Defence Staff, said in Toronto Friday McCully served an extremely important role in giving Afghans the necessary tools to help bring security to their country.
"One of our key lines of operation is to help build the capacity of the Afghan people to do their own security," Hillier told CTV's Mike Duffy Live.
"We do that by working the Afghan National Army, which started about four-and-a-half years ago, and helping make their soldiers into trained, effective, professional soldiers. And turn those soldiers as collectives into effective units."
Operation Hoover also includes Portuguese soldiers and British air support but troops from the Afghan National Army are taking the lead in the charge.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Statement by the Minister of National Defence on the Death of Corporal Matthew McCully

The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today on the death of Corporal Matthew McCully:"It is with great sadness that I learned today of the death of Corporal Matthew McCully.On behalf of all our brave men and women in uniform I extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Corporal McCully. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in their time of grief. Our thoughts are also with those who were injured in the accident. We wish them a prompt recovery.Corporal McCully was killed while conducting a joint Afghan-Canadian foot patrol - part of an initiative that enables the Afghanistan National Army to help secure peace and stability in Afghanistan and extend the legitimate authority of the Government of Afghanistan.Through the dedication and bravery of soldiers like Corporal McCully, Canada is helping Afghans, and working with Afghans, to build a better and brighter future for Afghanistan while ensuring that Afghanistan never again becomes a base for terrorism.The sacrifice Corporal McCully made in honour of Canada and the Canadian people will not be forgotten."


Corporal Matthew J. McCully ~ May 25th, 2007

As Military Moms and Dads, families and friends, our hearts are brought together, holding out our hands and being strong for each other as we hear news of a fallen soldier. Today, our hearts and thoughts and prayers are with the family (home and military) and friends of Corporal Matthew McCully today.

Photo: DND

Corporal Matthew J. McCully


Cpl McCully was killed earlier today in Afghanistan. He was a Signals Operator based at 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Headquarters and Signals Squadron, CFB Petawawa, Ontario. His next of kin have been notified.
Corporal McCully tragically lost his life after an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated in the proximity of where he was patrolling by foot, along with Afghan national security forces, close to the village of Nalgham, approximately 35 km west of Kandahar City. The incident occurred at approximately 8:00 a.m. Kandahar time.
The courage and dedication demonstrated by Corporal McCully in his efforts to assist the Afghan national security forces represent Canada in the proudest way. He will be missed by many.

Families Bid Farewell to Capt. Shawn McCaughey

They would have celebrated his wedding next month, but instead members of Capt. Shawn McCaughey's immediate family and his extended military family gathered at 15 Wing Moose Jaw on Friday afternoon to bid an emotional farewell to the fallen Snowbird.
McCaughey, 31, of Candiac, Que., died May 18 when the CT-114 Tutor jet he was piloting crashed during an airshow rehearsal at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Mont.
Before the military funeral began, No. 4 Hangar was eerily quiet despite more than 800 people sitting on chairs and bleachers and standing.

Photo credit: Don Healy
Claudia Gaudreault, the fiancee of Snowbird Capt. Shawn McCaughey,

lights a candle at his military funeral in Moose Jaw on Friday.

Then, as the flag-draped casket entered the cavernous building shortly after 1 p.m., men and women in uniform made no attempt to muffle their sobs or stem their tears as they heard many touching tributes and poems dedicated to McCaughey.
The casket was placed between the noses of two planes -- one a CT-114 Tutor jet that's flown by the Snowbirds, and the other a CT-156 Harvard II, the plane McCaughey flew as an instructor.
15 Wing commander Col. Richard Foster told those gathered, "There's no greater sacrifice than giving one's own life in the service of one's country."
The military funeral, which lasted almost two hours, included five eulogies, a rifle volley and a flyover by four CF-18 jets from Cold Lake who performed the Missing Man formation.
The McCaughey family requested the CF-18 jets to honour their son's aspirations to be a CF-18 pilot.
"Here we are, a military family who have come together to stand witness to this young man's life," Foster said. "... Shawn will forever be a part of us as he so firmly believed in the ideals that he represented as a Snowbird."
Foster said that Snowbirds feel honoured and privileged to represent all serving soldiers, sailors and airmen who are risking their lives throughout the world. "Shawn believed in this," Foster said. "He lived this. A great Canadian ... A mentor to us all."
In a poem that Jennifer McCaughey wrote in honour of her brother, she spoke of his love for flying and for belonging to the Snowbird team.
"On behalf of the McCaughey family, Long Live the Snowbirds," she said.
As much as McCaughey adored flying, the love of his life was his fiancee Claudia Gaudreault, whom he was to marry in Montreal next month.
Before leaving for the Montana air show, McCaughey wrote Gaudreault a birthday card and hid it in her bed. She found it the night he died. It was read to the mourners by Julie Selby, the widow of Miles Selby, a Snowbird pilot who died while flying in 2004.
"You are my heart's true love, the one I was meant to meet across time, across space, whatever obstacles life puts in our way," the card read.
"You are the only one with whom I could find such a wonderful deep and exciting love and I'm so glad to be sharing life's beautiful adventures with you."
continued ...


Our prayers are with Capt. McCaughey's family and friends.

May 2007 Meeting of Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan

The next meeting of:

“FAMILIES OF CANADIAN SOLDIERS IN AFGHANISTAN"
will be held on

SATURDAY, MAY 26th, 2007
at 7:30 P.M.
AT THE
404 WING R.C.A.F., MEMBERS’ LOUNGE
510 DUTTON DR., WATERLOO

Come out and meet and greet in the members’ lounge
New members are always welcome!

Featuring guest speaker -

Lt. Col. Rick Peters

Lt. Col. Peters recently returned from a six-month tour in Afghanistan this past March.
He has a long history with the Canadian Forces and has served in a number of peacekeeping tours as well as with security operations here at home. After retirement from the regular forces in 2000, he joined the reserves and in 2004 was appointed to the position of commanding officer of the Royal Highland Fusiliers.
Both his wife and son are active members of the Canadian Forces.


Directions: From Kitchener or out-of-town: Take 86 North (Conestoga Parkway) and take the Northfield exit (one exit past King St.). Exit at Northfield, keep right and proceed over expressway. Turn left onto Parkside Drive (at lights), and then left onto Weber. Go over the hill and turn immediately left onto Dutton Dr. The facility is located at the end of the road. From Waterloo or downtown: Follow Weber St. N. and go past Albert St. (traffic lights) and turn right onto Dutton Dr. before going over the hill.
To R.S.V.P. or for further information, email: focsia@hotmail

Support Our Troops Music Festival



June 3, 2007


11 a.m. till 11:00 p.m.



Support Our Troops
Music Festival
at
Ptawawa Civic Center Grounds
16 Civic Centre Road (off Petawawa Blvd)


Admission is free

Featuring 10 musical acts from Ottawa & The Valley
including The Mick Armitage Band,

Doug and Pam Champagne ("We Wear Red")
with special guests Louis Schryer and The Schryer Dancers

It is being put on by The Petawawa Legion & The Town of Petawawa.

Don Cherry is scheduled to speak.


FREE ADMISSION

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Canadian Forces Snowbirds Return Home


Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Captain Shawn McCaughey.


"He flies with our angels"



15 WING, MOOSE JAW, SASKATCHEWAN-- The Canadian Forces Snowbirds returned home to 15 Wing, Moose Jaw, by CC-130 Hercules aircraft, during the evening of Monday, May 21, following the tragic aircraft accident that claimed the life of their teammate and friend, Captain Shawn McCaughey."It is important for our team to return home to our family, friends and fellow teammates to mourn together during this difficult time," said Major Robert Mitchell, Commanding Officer, Canadian Forces Snowbirds. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Shawn's family - they are our priority at this time."A memorial service for Captain Shawn McCaughey will take place Friday, May 25 at 15 Wing Moose Jaw will full military honours."The memorial service will pay tribute and honour Shawn's life," said Major Mitchell. "Shawn was a passionate and talented pilot, a dedicated and devoted member of the Canadian Forces and a dear friend."The Canadian Forces Flight Safety Investigative Team will continue their work in Montana to determine the cause of the accident. The highly-qualified team of experts will investigate all aspects of the flight to prevent reoccurrence.
Captain Shawn McCaughey will return home to 15 Wing Moose Jaw by CC-130 Hercules aircraft during the evening of Tuesday, May 22, following the tragic aircraft accident that claimed his life.

Family and members of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds will be on hand to render full military honours to their fallen comrade.

Captain McCaughey, 31, of Candiac, Quebec died Friday, May 18, when the CT-114 Tutor jet he was piloting crashed during an air show rehearsal at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana. He served as the Inner Right Wing position pilot and flew the No. 2 jet for the team. He was in his second year with the Squadron.A military memorial service for Captain McCaughey will take place Friday, May 25 at 15 Wing Moose Jaw. A private interment service for Captain McCaughey will be held in Candiac, Quebec at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the McCaughey family would prefer that donations be made to Montreal's Fondation de l'Hopital Sainte-Justine / St. Justine Hospital Foundation (Neo-Natal Unit) in honour of "Snowbird No.2, Captain Shawn McCaughey." (click on icon)


For more information about this charity, please visit www.fondation-sainte-justine.org.

The Canadian Forces Flight Safety Investigative Team will continue their work in Montana to determine the cause of the accident and will make recommendations aimed at preventing such accidents in the future.


Flags fly at half staff inside the main gate at
Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana,
May 19, 2007. (Photo Credit: Robin Loznak)

Homebody/Kabul

Play Presented by: Mercury Stage Productions
Mercury Stage Productions in association with Culturate Inc. present the Canadian Premiere of Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul Featuring Fiona Reid.

In 1993/94, acclaimed playwright Tony Kushner brought us "Angels in America". In 2001/03, he offered up an equally gripping and historically prescient epic drama. Set in London and Kabul in August of 1998, Homebody/Kabul explores life in Afghanistan, its history, its long troubled relationship with the West and its ongoing political and humanitarian crisis.Mercury's forthcoming production of Homebody/Kabul will mark the Canadian premiere ofthis exceptional play. Director Jon Michaelson, whose work for Mercury has often featured creatively vibrant performances, has assembled a first-rate cast including recent Order of Canada inductee Fiona Reid, who will play the challenging role of The Homebody. The cast also features Sanjay Talwar and Deena Aziz (both from Bombay Black), rising Canadian film star Kris Holden-Ried (Touch of Pink), Lesley Faulkner (Léo) and Michael Spencer-Davis. (Via Dolorosa/MTC)Homebody/Kabul offers a mature playwright¹s compassionate, illuminating and provocative take on the East/West tensions which animate the lives of various inhabitants of Kabul. It¹s a suspenseful and intriguing drama which bears witness to their struggles to make sense of lives caught in the cross-fire of an historical ordeal.The story centers around the disappearance of an eccentric British woman (the Homebody) and the search for her by her husband and daughter in a Taliban-ruled Kabul. In their quest for the truth and closure, the lines between real and unreal, and the political and the personal become blurred and painfully ambiguous.Homebody/Kabul is a dynamic portrait of lives in chaos which evokes a dangerous collision between cultures. Despite being set in 1998 , the play's relevance and resonance has not dated.

Starts: May 18, 2007
Ends: Jun 9, 2007
At: Berkley Street Theatre Downstairs, 26 Berkeley St., Toronto
Neighborhood: Downtown
Playing:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Language: Primarily English, with some Dari, Pashtun, Aribic, Esperanto and French
Times: 7:30 pm, matinees Wed (May 30th) & Sat (May 19th, May 26th) at 1:30 pm
Cost: $15 -$20
Tickets: http://www.homebodykabul.ca/
For more information contact: Amber Ebert
Phone: 416.703.2773 x202
Email: pressoffice@theatreadmin.com
Web site: www.homebodykabul.ca

If you can't get to the theatre, check out the book.




Book Details:
Homebody/Kabul
Author: Tony Kushner
Paperback: 149 pages
Publisher: Hushion House; Rev Sub edition (February 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1559362391
ISBN-13: 978-1559362399

Set in Kabul, this book examines current day Afghanistan, its history, its long tortured relationship with the West, and its current political and humantarian crisis. The play centers around the disappearance of an eccentric British woman (the Homebody) and the search for her by her husband and daughter. In their quest for the truth and closure, the lines between real and unreal, the political and the personal are intentionally blurred and are fully ambiguous.

PM makes surprise visit to Afghanistan

Photo Credit: Tom Hanson Prime Minister Stephen Harper presents Afghan President Hamid Karzai with a baby jumper featuring the logo of the Ottawa Senators hockey team.
Karzai told Harper he'd like his infant son to 'play hockey as soon as he can
walk.'

Kabul, Afghanistan
Prime Minister Stephen Harper touched down unannounced in Afghanistan Tuesday to see first-hand the development of Canadian aid projects in the war-ravaged country and to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The surprise two-day visit began Tuesday morning in the capital Kabul, where Karzai met with Harper — who was joined by Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor — to discuss the progress of Canada's mission in Afghanistan.
During a news conference at the presidential palace courtyard, Harper reaffirmed Canada's commitment to the reconstruction and defence efforts in the region, calling the mission "Canada's most important foreign policy endeavour."
He also reiterated his belief that Canadian redevelopment aid and security efforts were improving life for people in Afghanistan.
"Yes, there remain challenges," the prime minister said as Karzai looked on. "But our determination is strong. We are not daunted by shadows because we carry the light that defines them — the light of freedom of human rights and the rule of law."
The prime minister dismissed suggestions his trip was in response to waning support of the Afghan mission at home, telling reporters: "I'm not here because of the polls. I'm here because it's the right thing to do."

Karzai Guarantees No Prisoners Abused
The visit comes after Harper's government has faced weeks of criticism in the House of Commons for its handling of the war.

'I will assure the Canadian people that if there is any such incident [of torture], Afghans will be the first to take me to task on it.' —Afghan President Hamid Karzai

A key theme of opposition attacks has been the treatment of people detained by Canadian soldiers and whether they face torture after being handed over to Afghan authorities.
Karzai rejected the suggestion that any prisoners had ever been abused while in Afghan custody.
"Take my guarantee to the Canadian people on that," he said. "I will assure the Canadian people that if there is any such incident Afghans will be the first to take me to task on it."


Praise for Canadian Aid
Karzai praised Canada for its efforts in Afghanistan, outlining the benefits his country has seen as a result of Canadian efforts:
10,000 jobs have been created in Kandahar.
30,000 people, mostly women, have had access to microcredit loans.
40,000 more infants have survived childbirth.
"Have we accomplished all we are seeking? No," Karzai said. "If we leave half the way [Islamic militants] will re-emerge … Let us complete it and not abandon it half the way."
Harper saw Canadian aid work first-hand Tuesday, when he handed out pencil cases in a Kabul school funded by Canadian dollars. The Aschiana School, which receives $39,500 a year from Canada, teaches young children painting, music and how to use woodworking tools until they reach vocational age.

'If we leave half the way, [Islamic militants] will re-emerge... Let us complete [the mission] and not abandon it half the way.' --Afghan President Hamid Karzai appeals to Canada to see the Afghan mission through.

Harper also visited diplomats at the Canadian Embassy for a briefing on various aid projects since the ouster of the Taliban in 2001.
Paul Hunter, reporting on Harper's visit for CBC News, said Harper may have chosen to focus heavily on Canada's humanitarian work in Afghanistan on Tuesday because of polls that suggest some Canadians are wary of Canada's military involvement in the country.
"I would say it's very interesting they decided to really promote the fact that we're doing more than just military in Afghanistan," Hunter said from Kandahar.
He said Harper will have more of a military focus Wednesday, when he has breakfast with some of the 2,500 Canadian soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and addresses them in a brief speech.
The Harper government has committed to the military mission only until February 2009.
Trip Shrouded in Secrecy
The last time Harper was in Afghanistan in March 2006, he spent three days touring military installations and camping out with soldiers.
Harper's office spared no effort to keep his surprise two-day trip shrouded in secrecy.
A call went out Friday telling journalists to pack for a warm climate and show up at a military hangar on Sunday if they wanted to join Harper on a foreign trip.
Reporters were warned they could be arrested for breathing a word about the prime minister's travel plans.




Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Prime Minister Stephen Harper
in Kabul on Tuesday.
Afghanistan Grateful for Canadian Sacrifice: --Karzai
Before wrapping up his visit to Afghanistan, which began late Sunday, Harper visited Karzai at his presidential palace.
Karzai was the first head of state the prime minister has met since his Conservative government won the January federal election.
As U.S. military helicopters buzzed overhead, Karzai asked Harper to deliver a message of thanks to Canadians for their financial and military aid since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan following the Sept. 11 attacks.
"Please convey to your people, to the people of Canada, the immense gratitude of the Afghan people for what your country, your people have done for us," said Karzai.
"For giving the lives of your sons, for contributing in money, for contributing in soldiers and for being one of the biggest helpers in Afghanistan."
Harper responded by inviting Karzai to visit Canada.
"I've said to the president I hope to see him in Canada," said Harper.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Annual Yellow Ribbon Ride

Sunday June 10th 2007,

The Base Borden Motorcycle Club (BBMC) will be hosting the
3rd Annual Yellow Ribbon Ride

BBQ before the ride

Registration is at 11:00 departure at 12:00

Directions: Once you arrive at Canadian Forces Base Borden, simply follow the signs to the registration point (this year it will be the Rod & Gun Club)

After a led ride lasting approx 2 – 3 hours, the ride will finish at the Base Military Museum, which will be open for the occasion.

The Ride is in support of the Yellow Ribbon Fund, with all monies raised going directly towards supporting Our Deployed Troops and Their Families Back Home.

Cost is $15.00 per Rider and $5.00 per Passenger.

The Next Rotation of Canadian Troops is Ready to Undertake their Mission in Afghanistan

Photo by: Cpl Simon Duchesne DND Taken May 15, 2007

May 18, 2007
Wainwright, Alberta — Some 2,500 soldiers, who will be the next group of Canadian troops to deploy to Afghanistan, have just completed a very important phase in their training this week at Base Wainwright, Alberta.
The soldiers, who come primarily from Base Valcartier, Quebec, participated in complex military manoeuvres during Exercise Maple Guardian, an activity focused on individual and collective training for the Joint Task Force scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan this Summer.
The soldiers will be tasked to aid Afghan authorities in restoring the security and stability within Afghanistan, a nation on the verge of recovering from decades of warfare and strife. According to Joint Task Force Commander, Brigadier-General Guy Laroche, “Our soldiers have received an excellent training. The exercise, which we just completed, represents the last step in a long road, whose aim was to provide the soldiers with the technical, cultural and intellectual skills necessary to successfully accomplish, with the least possible risk, this very important mission,” he said. “The exercise provided us with the confirmation that we are ready, and I am convinced that we will brilliantly fulfil this mandate, confided in us by the Canadian public, to help better the lives of the Afghan people,” he added.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Kyrenia Club Annual Lobsterfest



It's that time of year already.. time for:

The Kyrenia Club Annual Lobsterfest
CFB Petawawa
Bldg L-105 or 146 Nicklin Parade Square

Saturday June 2nd
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. dinner at 8:00 p.m.

Lobster, mussels, steak, potato, salads, coffee, desert

Live entertainmentShanneyganock
$15.00/per person. Member and one guest only.
Only 200 tickets! Advance sales only!
Must be of legal drinking age.
Unsold tickets released to other guests of members
On Tuesday 22 May 07 at $25.00 per ticket

A Sea of Red and Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warrior Fund



Mr. Thibideau and I are here to assist in uniting our country in Support of our Troops.

On April 21, 2007, the Town of Uxbridge Ontario held a parade and mass rally in support of our troops stationed in Kandahar, around the world, and at home. The turn out exceeded everyone's expectations!

Organizer Dave Thibodeau began by taping messages of support from local service groups and the idea caught fire, and it grew. As word spread about the event, other towns throughout Durham Region got involved. York Region also had some representation in the Parade.

Thousands donned red t-shirts and participated in a parade, drum-head service, songs and more. The military sent a helicopter, a C-130, and Canada's Top Gun Captain Steven Neirlich in a CF-18 Hornet, from CFB Bagotville.

This emotionally moving demonstration of support sent a clear message. As always, we support those who have put themselves in harms way, for the good of others.

They have created a short video as a contribution to the outpouring of support, and it went with Dave's video messages to Kandahar to show the troops that we support them. In view of recent events they felt this will be a much needed moral booster.

See their website at: www.clulowassociates.com/seaofred.htm

They are now creating a one-hour memento DVD of the entire event and it's available for sale. For a copy of a DVD of "A Sea of Red", send $20 and a copy of the order form click here to view (if you are having difficulty viewing the form, simply email me and I'll forward one onto you) and send to:

Sea of Red c/o Dave Thibodeau
Uxbridge Legion #170
109 Franklin Street,
PO Box 137,
Uxbridge Ontario,
L9P 1M6

You will receive a copy of "A Sea of Red" DVD AND the money you send (100%) will be sent and donated to the Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warrior Fund!

Note: Clulow & Associates, and the Uxbridge Legion have produced this video on a voluntary basis to ensure that every possible penny donated goes to the fund.

Help Support Sapper Mike McTeague's Wounded Warrior Fund.. order a DVD (or a few) today!

Now.. that's "Support for Support for our Troops!"
A big HUA for Dave and Diane Thibodeau, the City of Uxbridge, and Clulow & Associates

And a BIG HUA for Sapper Mike McTeague and Captain Wayne Johnston!

The Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warriors Fund supports wounded soldiers who are rushed from the battlefield for emergency medical treatment. During this very traumatic period they are separated from the support of their fellow soldiers, their families and all their personal belongings. The fund provides some support during this period of extraordinary stress. When an injured soldier leaves an operational theatre, they do so quickly and without warning. Often they have with them just the clothes on their back and it is here where they are at their most vulnerable. This special fund sets out to alleviate this inconvenient deficiency by contributing quality of life items to the soldier.The “Wounded Warrior Packs” drive will contain a variety of items, which includes individual entertainment devices (like DVD player, MP3 players) to personal blankets among other items. In addition, hospitals that care for Canadian Forces personnel are to be installed with an entertainment library of video games, music and DVD movies. As well an Internet-equipped laptop or computers, items such as pool tables and other games and telephone services and Personal hospital TVs will be established.Many of you may be wondering if this should be the responsibility of the Department of Defense or the tax payer. Although this is a reasonable question the answer needs explanation. This fund raises monies to purchase gifts and needs to support the wounded and their morale. It is very much the same as you sending a gift to a soldier in theatre over seas. Should the taxpayer or DND pay for your gifts? Simply no. We would rather send the gifts from Canadians who wish to show they care as you would too. As every Canadian who lives in this gracious country, must acknowledge the peace on our land we have for over a hundred years. Our military involvement world wide has resulted in peace in our nation by standing in harms way abroad so we don't have too here in Canada.This benevolent fund for the quality of morale and state of mind for injured soldiers during the healing or rehabilitation process is an honorable way for anyone to demonstrate their appreciation.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tac Hel Memories-1 WING’S ONLINE MEMOIRS SITE

"Calling all past and present 10 Tactical Air Group (10 TAG) 1 Wing , and army aviation personnel!"


If you’re one that likes to trap co-workers at the water cooler with your latest wild, behind-the stick adventures; or if you’ve ever started a sentence with “Back in my day...”; or if you just want to ensure your place in history, do Colonel Dabros has a forum for you!


Colonel Mike Dabros, 1 Wing Commander has commissioned a new project designed to capture
the “human” side of the tactical military helicopter community called Tac Hel Memories
Project. Its purpose is not only to share one’s tales, but ensure the various voices of 10 TAG/1 Wing are heard and duly noted for future generations to enjoy.


The Tac Hel Memories Project is looking for stories about personal experiences on past
missions, exercises or on various characters you have worked with in the 10 TAG/1 Wing family.


The story can evoke emotion whether, humorous or poignant – this is the assembly of what you wish to have recorded and remembered.


Submissions aren’t restricted to just stories – photographs, documentation and articles from
other sources are welcomed.

Submissions can be made via mail:

Tac Hel Memories Project
1 Wing Headquarters
CFB Kingston
PO Box 17000, STN Forces
Kingston, O K7K 7B4

or online at www.tachelmemories.ca

Friday, May 18, 2007

Our Hearts are Heavy for Canada's Snowbird

Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of
Captain Shawn McCaughey

On May 18th, Cpt McCaughey's Canadian Forces Snowbirds aircraft crashed during an air show practice at Malmstrom Air Force Base near Great Falls, Montana, May 18 at about 3:45 p.m. Captain Shawn McCaughey, 31, Snowbird 2, of Candiac, Quebec, died when his CT-114 Tutor jet impacted the ground during the practice flight.

“Shawn was a professional officer, talented pilot and dear friend – our team is devastated and we will miss him.” said Major Robert Mitchell, Commanding Officer, Canadian Forces Snowbirds.


Cpt McCaughey was in his second year with the Snowbirds and flew the No. 2 jet in the Inner Right Wing position. Captain McCaughey joined the Canadian Forces in 2000 as a Direct Entry Officer (DEO). Prior to joining the Canadian Forces, he earned a Bachelor's degree in Physical Geography from Concordia University in Montreal. He also held a civilian commercial pilot's license. After receiving his wings on the CT-155 Hawk in 2003, he was posted to 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School (2CFFTS) in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, as a flying instructor on the CT-156 Harvard II, the NATO Flying Training in Canada Program's (NFTC) new training aircraft. During his tour, Captain McCaughey obtained over 500 instructional hours and earned an A2 instructional category.Being a graduate of the NFTC Program, Captain McCaughey was the first Snowbird pilot to have no previous experience on the CT-114 Tutor. Captain McCaughey brought over 1,400 hours of military flying time to the 2007 team. McCaughey flew the No. 2 jet in the Inner Right Wing position. (as shown below)

He was determined and meticulous, mother, Rose McCaughey said. "From the age of six, he would always make his bed each morning." He liked order. If she happened to sit on his bed during the day, Shawn would notice upon his return from school.

He knew the risks involved, but he was passionate about being a pilot and for him, becoming a Snowbird meant making it to the top, his parents said.

He was selected for the Snowbirds in the fall of 2005 at age 29, becoming the youngest pilot to be named to the elite Canadian Forces show team, his parents said.
McCaughey was engaged to Claudia Gaudreault of Chicoutimi, Que., who lives in Moose Jaw where the Snow Birds are stationed. The couple had planned to be married June 9th.

Shawn McCaughey's fiancee, Claudia Gaudreault of Chicoutimi, Que. said, "It's unreal to me, it's like a dream," she said. "But I have this thing inside me that I cannot describe. It's like a spiritual thing that fills me ... Shawn and I - it was love that was the basis of our relationship."


The Snowbirds were scheduled to perform at the Malmstrom Air Force Base Open House May 19 and 20. Canadian Forces Flight Safety will conduct a thorough investigation. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds’ mission is to represent the skill, professionalism and teamwork of the men and women in Canada’s military and to support recruiting initiatives.

The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today on the death of Captain Shawn McCaughey:“On behalf of the Defence family and our dedicated men and women in uniform, I extend my heartfelt sympathies to the family, friends, team members, and comrades of Captain Shawn McCaughey.This dedicated pilot and professional officer served as an ambassador of Canada by showcasing his skills and representing the best that the Canadian Forces has to offer. Captain McCaughey accumulated over 1,400 hours of military flying time before joining the 2007 Snowbirds team. Indeed he exemplified the professionalism, excellence and dedication embodied not only by our renowned Snowbirds team but also by all serving members.Canadians stand united in pride behind our Canadian Forces, and are forever grateful for their contributions and sacrifices.”

God Bless

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Veteran Affairs Briefings CFB Petawawa


NOTICE
Military Personnel who deployed on Roto 2 and their families
are encouraged to attend a series of briefings and presentations
from Veteran Affairs Canada. The base will provide daycare
services for the night time briefings. (Call 613-687-1641 ext
2225). Take the time for yourself.
Schedule of Information Sessions
at 2 RCHA Theatre on base:

TUESDAY MAY 15, 29
6:30 p.m. Veterans Benefits & Services
7:30 p.m. Understanding Operational Stress (PTSD)
WEDNESDAY MAY 16, 30
6:30 p.m. Veterans Benefits & Services
7:30 p.m. Managing Stress - Reduce the impact on your lives
THURSDAY MAY 17, 31
6:30 p.m. Veterans Benefits & Services
7:15 p.m. Phoenix Centre - services for children & families
8:00 p.m. Base Petawawa Mental Health Services
for soldiers & Families
8:30 p.m. OSISS Programs - Operational Stress Injuries info

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Remember Me

Today, a fellow Military Mom had sent a link for a slideshow to me. After watching it, (with kleenex in hand) I thought I'd share it with you. Thank you Debbie.

Here's a fabulous and touching piece. Lizzie Palmer who put this YouTube slide show together is 15 years old. (this alone speaks for itself!)
There have been over 3,000,000 hits as of the morning of May 13th.
Here's Lizzie's bio:
Name: Elizabeth
Age: 15

I'm a sophomore in high school in Ohio, and I play the flute/piccolo. I plan on joining the U.S. Army after I graduate. I only hope I can make America as proud as our troops today have, and I hope I can honor them in the way they deserve with my videos.
I love talking to American military personnel, but it's not very often that I get the chance.
Hope you all have a great day and God bless!
SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!
Miss you, Prisca!=)


"Thank you Lizzie!!.. you are amazing! Thank you for reminding us to reflect on our actions and most importantly, to support our troops, whether they are in the United States, Canada, England, etc.. we are family, united and are working for the same cause."

Here's her video entitled "Remember Me" :


Teams Work to Rebuild Afghanistan

Experts meet in Waterloo to talk defence, diplomacy, development

From The Record:

Lt.-Col. Simon Hetherington, former
commanding officer of the Canadian Forces
reconstruction team in Afghanistan,
attends a conference at
Wilfrid Laurier University this week.

In a country gripped for decades by war and strife, peace and stability cannot come overnight.
And more than five years after Canada's mission to Afghanistan began, the situation in many areas remains "unstable," acknowledges one of the highest-ranking soldiers to have served in the country.
But that doesn't mean progress isn't being made, Lt.-Col. Simon Hetherington says.
Hetherington -- who returned to Canada in February after serving for more than seven months as the commanding officer of the Canadian-led Provincial Reconstruction Team based in Kandahar City -- is a participant in a conference being held at Wilfrid Laurier University this week to examine the role of the teams.
With a mandate of defence, diplomacy and development, the Canadian team is one of 24 operating in Afghanistan.
Composed of military personnel, civilian police officers, diplomats and development workers, the group guides projects that range from rebuilding damaged infrastructure to assisting with local elections.
Hetherington's command coincided with a marked increase in violence last fall in Kandahar province, an area known historically as a Taliban stronghold.
Reconstruction efforts took a back seat to combat operations for a time as Canadian troops tried to establish a level of security that would allow Afghans to take an active role in rebuilding their country.
Canadians suffered significant casualties in the process, leading some people back home to question the mission.
But in towns deserted by their residents, Hetherington's team reopened schools. Markets sprung back to life in places once overrun by enemy insurgents.
"People were able to move back to their lives," Hetherington said. "That was a success."
It's important for the teams to work closely with Afghan counterparts. The ultimate goal is to have communities take ownership for their reconstruction projects.
In a place that's seen more than its share of foreign military intervention in recent years, Hetherington said there's a sense of what he termed "uniform fatigue."
Canadian soldiers must be seen to be supporting the work of local Afghan governors -- not imposing their own rule.
The conference, which concludes today, is the fourth in a series of workshops on Afghanistan organized by the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the Academic Council on the United Nations System.
Participants included representatives from the Canadian Forces, NATO, the United Nations and the U.S. State Department.
Aside from a public lecture last night and Hetherington's brief remarks to the media yesterday, the conference is closed to the public. The format encourages frank and open discussion, organizer Katherine Sage Hayes said.
"Lots of times, in a government or military setting, people are speaking on behalf of their departments," she said. "Here, they can have a free discussion on what's really happening in Afghanistan."

Monday, May 14, 2007

"Military Moms"

This is a portion of a poem sent into me by Del "Abe" Jones and I thought I'd share it with you..

Del 'Abe' Jones served in the United States Air Force, 1958-1961, 92nd Combat Defense Squadron, K-9 Corps, Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington.
Today, Jones is a father of four and grandfather to eight who reside in Spokane, Washington. He continues to write poetry and hopes to be successful as a song lyricist in Tennessee. He is also now collaborating with a photographer, Dominic Alessandra on a book of Alessandra's photographic artwork and Jones' accompanying poetry. It's about indigenous peoples around the world.

Further writings by Mr Jones can be viewed at : http://iwvpa.net/jonesd/index.php
I love it. Thank you.


Military Moms
We must Honor all those Mothers
Of all those who have Served
And Sacrifices that they made
With our, “Thanks!”, so well deserved.

It takes a very Special Lady
To let Her Child go off to War
Or just to join the Military
With the pride and fear and more.

There’s too many Gold Star Mothers
And if you might know of one
Please send Her a special wish
To praise Her Daughter or Son.

Military Moms are the Greatest
With a strength beyond compare
Who hope and pray their loved one
Comes Home safe, from over there.

So, let’s keep them in our thoughts
And hope their prayers come true
All those Moms and all those Troops
Who stand Strong and Proud, and True.

Written by: Del “Abe” Jones

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sunday, May 13th, 2007- Mother's Day

To all Military Mothers, Section Moms (you know who you are), Military Sisters, Wives, Aunts, Cousins, and Friends:

I'd like to wish you a warm Happy Mother's Day!

Picture by: Military Mom

A Mother's Love

There are times when only a Mother's love
Can understand our tears,
Can soothe our disappointments
And calm all of our fears.

There are times when only a Mother's love
Can share the joy we feel
When something we've dreamed about
Quite suddenly is real.

There are times when only a Mother's faith
Can help us on life's way
And inspire in us the confidence
We need from day to day.

For a Mother's heart and a Mother's faith
And a Mother's steadfast love
We're fashioned by the Angels
Sent from God above.


I know for some moms, this will be a difficult day .. please know many of us reach out to you in thoughts and hugs and prayers.

Happy Mother's Day! -
Y Love, m.m. Y

Afghanistan and After: Future Foreign Policies at WLU!

_

Experts are coming to WLU in Waterloo this Monday to discuss the progress in Afghanistan!

This looks interesting... A public lecture on the effectiveness of military-driven reconstruction efforts will be held Monday and guests attending the conference include representatives from the United Nations, NATO, the Canadian Forces and non-governmental organizations. Yes - they will be at the WLU on Monday, May 14th in Waterloo, ON! This will enable us to better understand to our committment in Afghanistan... and a chance to ask questions and meet with other military families! Here's the info:

Afghanistan and After: Future Foreign Policies
A public lecture will be held
as part of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan conference
on
Monday, May 14th
from 7 p.m.
at
Wilfrid Laurier University
Maureen Forester Recital Hall
75 University Ave. W., Waterloo.

Leading international experts will gather next week at Wilfrid Laurier University to discuss the effectiveness of military-driven reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.
About 30 top representatives -- including one of the world's top scholars on Afghanistan -- will attend the two-day conference focused on appraising the role of Provincial Reconstruction Teams.
There are 24 such teams in Afghanistan, including a Canadian one based in the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar City.
The teams provide humanitarian aid and security, with soldiers performing front-line duties including training Afghan police and guiding community infrastructure projects.
"One of the reasons for this conference is to produce some solid information on what's been accomplished in the Canadian sector and what's being accomplished in other sectors as well," said Terry Copp, director of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies.
The assessment is an important one, he said, because the 2009 exit date for Canadian troops is approaching.
"Surely what we have to do between now and 2009 is learn as much as we can about what is actually happening on the ground and how much success is actually being achieved."
The conference coincides with ongoing discussions in the House of Commons about the mistreatment of Afghan prisoners.
Last week, the federal government amended its prisoner-transfer agreement after evidence surfaced that some prisoners were being abused by Afghan police.
Copp said the conference will touch on questions of policy related to the recent controversy, including how other nations handle prisoners and whether NATO should be building its own facilities to detain prisoners.
"None of us are politicians and we're not interested in either a partisan position either for the government or against the government," Copp said. "What we would be interested in is what the best practices are."

William Maley, author of Rescuing Afghanistan, will speak about the current political situation in the country. The Australian scholar is one of the foremost experts on the country.
"One issue will be underpinning everything we're discussing is just how important Canada's deployment in Afghanistan actually is," he said. "It's important to distinguish the debate over Afghanistan from the debate over Iraq."
Experts attending the conference include representatives from the United Nations, NATO, the Canadian Forces and non-governmental organizations.
Members of the public are invited to a lecture, Afghanistan and After: Future Foreign Policies, on Monday evening.



Ramesh Thakur

As a panellist, Ramesh Thakur, a distinguished fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), will draw attention to the relationship is between security and development.
"The military itself is not a good instrument for nation-building," he said. "And without nation-building and state-building, the initial security achievements can be reversed. And that's the difficulty we now face in Afghanistan."
The conference is the fourth in a series on Afghanistan, but the first to examine issues of human security, economy and development.
Experts will attend a closed-door workshop Tuesday.
Their findings will be published in a report a few weeks after the conference.